high school

Useful Tools When Searching for the Perfect College

March 20, 2015 in Admissions, Alive Campus, Colleges

college-searchI remember when I was a junior in high school and I had to start considering where I wanted to go to college. It was very nerve racking and I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to study. When I was a freshman I thought I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go, but apparently that had completely changed.

Luckily, my high school was very helpful when it came to searching and picking that perfect college. The guidance counselor’s office made sure that there were information sessions when colleges came to visit. Additionally, there would be college fairs. This is where I found a majority of the colleges I was interested in and ended up visiting. I found the college fair to be extremely helpful because they had colleges from all over the U.S. at the fair and representatives from the colleges as well in order to ask questions and get information about the college. I would definitely recommend going to a college fair in high school if there is one available to you, especially if you do not have an idea of where you would like to go.

In addition, asking your teachers is another good resource. The college I ended up going to was recommended by my high school band director. He knew I was applying to the military academies and wanted a military college experience so he told me about VMI, which I had never heard of, and ironically now attend. Also, after you ask your teachers you can then research the schools online and get an information packet sent to you. That’s exactly what I did and I found it very helpful. I found all of these resources very helpful.

Additionally, when searching for the perfect college that fits you, you have to make sure you go and visit the college. This is one of the most important pieces of advice I received when looking for the college I wanted to go to. You have to actually place yourself there and imagine yourself a student there. If you can’t see yourself attending that college or don’t feel like it fits you, then you won’t be happy going there.

Overall, finding the right college can be tough. However, once you know where you want to go it gives you the motivation to do well and finish out your senior year of high school. For me, that is exactly what it did. And even though I might not have gotten the chance to go to the college of my dreams that I worked extremely hard to get into, I know that it made me a better person and that I could not see myself anywhere else than the college I now attend. Everything seemed to work out in the end, but you definitely have to do a lot of research and make sure you have back- ups. There are plenty of resources and people that want to help you find the college that is the right fit for you you just have to be willing and ready.

Library Vs Library

August 29, 2014 in Alive Campus, Colleges

Being a commuter the library has become my second home. I spend most of my time in the library while I wait for my classes to start, especially if I have a two or more hours break between classes which has happen often throughout my three years at Wheelock. A college library is not much of a difference than the public library we had in high school; we can borrow books, use the computer, and even print a document. The only difference is who has access to the resources in the library. In high school, a student has access to the resources for only a limited amount of time, but in college there is more time to borrow a book, unlimited time to use the computer, and printed document.

Books:A service that public schools do not have that college library do is to borrow, in library use only, textbooks from the classes they are taking. This way if a person does not have their textbook or it hasn’t arrived yet, they will still be able to do their homework without the problem of not having their class textbook with them. Some professors make the

Is you library a great environment to get work done?

Is you library a great environment to get work done?

ir course textbooks available in the library by the first or second week of classes to be ready to get reserved in the library, but some professors do not have their textbook available so it is important to verified with your professor if the book or books are reserved in the library.

Time the Library is Open: During high school in ordered to use the library it had to be before class, if the library was open by the time you arrived to school which was around 7am, because sometimes it wasn’t open until, 8 am the time class started or after school. Now in college, my schools library is open from 7 am to 11 pm and on midterms and finals time it is open until 1am. Giving students time to print papers/homework before class and even during the night. I especially like the extra time the library gives to students to study for their midterms and finals. Showing a major difference with the time the library was available in high school library compared to college libraries.

Usage of a College Library: The library is always the best place to study, do homework, and do group work because it has an environment of seriousness, in some areas of the library, and it makes you focus in completing what ever you are trying to finish. I take advantage of the quietness of the library to focus and finish my homework or readings for my classes. Being in the library helps me focus more on my school work than if I was somewhere else.

Computers: Wheelock has a lot of computers that are available to student, so it is not necessary to bring your laptop to school, if you are a commuter, to have access to a computer. 

Leaving High School: Ten Ways College Will Surprise You

August 30, 2013 in Alive Campus, Top 10 Lists



1. Time. College classes demand more out-of-class work that high school classes do. You’ll have group projects due within two days, lab reports with partners unwilling to do their part, and long chapters to read. In high school, teachers believed that their class was the only class which gave out homework. In college, your professors believe their class is the only class you’re taking. You’ll need the mornings to sleep and the nights to bang out that paper you had forgotten about.

2. Food. The freshman 15, while being a bit of an exaggeration, is also a possibility. When you have a buffet open all day, it’s easy to lose track of what you’re eating. And, while it’s normal to put on some weight during college, it’s good for your mind and body to avoid these problems. Don’t worry about losing weight; that’s not why you’re in college. Staying active is good for your brain and will help you do your best in your classes. Get you butt moving, and you’ll find that the intense temptation to stay lazy when you’re drowning in work is as counterproductive as not doing the work at all.

3. Professors. Professors can do pretty much whatever they want. I can’t stress this enough. In one of my classes, if a student missed two homework asssignments (which were assigned every class day), that student would  fail the class– but the professors wouldn’t tell that student until after the final. Basically, they would allow you to continue in the class without telling you that you had missed two different assignments (which is easy to miss), grade your things and pass them back, all the while you’ve already failed. Harsh. But professors are also allow more liberties to students than high school teachers. Some professors don’t take attendance. Others assign 4 papers but only demand that you do 3.

4. Class size. I expected my college classes to be huge stadium rooms with hundreds of students. It was a shock to spend most of my classes sitting down on high school desks in little rooms with about 20 other students. I go to a small Catholic school; other schools do have big stadium seating.

5. Mornings. You may think that early-morning college classes will be a great idea, because you’re used to being in school by 7:30 or whatever– and besides, you’ll be taking fewer classes than ever, so you’ll have plenty of time to sleep! Well, you’re wrong. Because of what I talked about in the first bullet point (Time), mornings become your worst enemy. Naps become your best friend.

6. Roommates. As a freshman, don’t expect to be buddies with your roommate, even if you’ve taken personality tests schools gives out. I know very few people who are friends with freshman year roommate(s). You might have some of the same habits, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily get along. Don’t take it personally if that is the way it works out for you; it’s tough to live with someone in such a small space, and it’s ok to not get it right.

7. People. College is a glorified high school. It’s still pretty cliquey and pretty segregated. If you think all of a sudden the nerds become suddenly hot and the jocks are suddenly really nice, you’ve been completely misled. College is not the great equalizer of the label-hierarchy. You’ve gotta change yourself if you want to fit into a certain group, just like in high school.



8. Majors. Going into college with a major in mind is definitely advantageous, but it’s not always going to be the path you end up staying on. Through high school, I thought I would be a psychology major. When I finally declared my English lit major, I was focused on an entirely different idea of my future. I had given up ideas of med school and traded it in for ideas of a Ph.D., which were then abandoned again for ideas of becoming a librarian (maybe). You only have one future. If you’re planning on some very specific career, that will likely change as you learn more about yourself. That’s scary, but it’s also exciting. Take the changes as they come and work with them.

9. Dorms. When I was younger I used to believe most dorms came with enough room for a couch, or at least all my clothes. Silly me. If you  don’t store things under the bed, you won’t be able to bring everything you want. You’ll need things like cleaning agents and a first aid kit, among other things. These will need to be stored under the bed or atop the dresser, and if your bed is lofted over your desk and drawers, as mine was last year, then you can forget storing all of your things in a visually appealing way. I had to keep clothes folded on the floor.

10. Transportation. Most colleges don’t allow freshmen to have cars on campus. This makes it difficult to do… anything, really. And, when you do get a car on campus, you must pay for it, only to hope that you’ll be able to find a spot to park. There are a lot of places, but there are also a lot of students. Be early and be quick, or else you may find yourself going from lot to lot– but remember, your car may have a sticker with a specific color (that’s how it works at Assumption), granting you access to only very certain lots!

Deciding on a Future College

August 23, 2013 in Admissions, Colleges

When I was a senior in high school, I foresaw my future college experience to be much different than it turned out to be.  I thought I would end up in a school in my home state of New York, probably at a college in the middle of New York City.  Instead, I went to the University of North Florida in Florida, as the name would suggest.  And although what I thought would happen is very different than what did, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I fell in love with the university I went to and the path I took.

Now going years back to when I was 17.  As I said, I wanted to go to a school in New York, mostly because I missed the state and knew I wanted to end up there in the future. After deciding to major in journalism or communications, I also thought being in the City would help me in my future career.  I had applied to a few schools in Florida as well, but I wanted to go to a university that would give me a different experience than I had in high school, in a different area where I could meet new people.  One of the schools I applied to, and the only one in Florida I felt would give me the experience I wanted, was the University of North Florida.  I submitted my application online for all four schools that I applied, sent in my SAT scores and hoped for the best.

I did not get accepted to all of the schools I applied for, but the only one I was upset with was the school in New York.  In hindsight, a large part of me is glad I didn’t.  As much as I wanted to be up there, the tuition would have been a lot of money, especially being an out-of-state student, and I ended up having an amazing college experience.  This, however, was also when I was getting really nervous.

This is also when the path I am currently on began.  I went to a campus tour of the University of North Florida.  One of the things I love about the campus is that it is on a nature preserve.  When we drove on the campus, I saw a deer.  This was the first deer I had seen in Florida, and as deer were very prevalent where I lived in New York, I took it as a good sign.  I went through the tour of the campus and liked that we were able to walk the entire campus easily, and walking across the campus only took about 15 minutes.  UNF was my last chance for getting the college experience I had hoped for.

I can’t remember the month, but I do remember that Friday the 13th became my lucky day.  I got home from school, checked the mail and instantly became excited when I found the acceptance packet from UNF.  After this, I went to the mandatory two-day orientation for the school, submitted my final transcripts and that August started at UNF.  As I said earlier, I did plan to transfer to a school in New York after a year or two.  However, after getting involved on campus, I fell in love with the school and finally felt like I found a school that I felt a part of and would never want to transfer out.

For students that are thinking about going to UNF or any other university, I have some tips.  First, do everything early.  Take the SAT/ACT early, apply to colleges early, anything that has to do with college, do early.  If it is a test, you’ll have time to retake it if needed.  If it is an application, you may have a better chance getting in if you get it in early, or will at least have time to apply to other schools.

Tour/research the school you are thinking of going to.  You want to make sure you will like it once you are there.  Also look at websites like collegeboard.org for basic information of the college(s), including the percent of people that begin each year, are accepted and the typical GPAs of new students.  I know that since I have been admitted to UNF the average GPA of new students is different, so a website like College Board is a good resource, especially with schools that are increasing their requirements.

Lastly, and I believe the most important, don’t have only one option or assume any other option will not work out.  I learned that my last option was the school I needed and wanted to be in to help me pursue my future goals.



Keeping in Touch with High School Friends

June 14, 2013 in Alive Campus, Campus Life

College life can be a social balancing act. It’s difficult enough to find time for classes, work, clubs, sports, and family, let alone manage two entirely different social lives. One of the hardest parts of transitioning in and out of the college lifestyle during breaks is interacting with different friend groups. Often times, friends we make in college are very different than our friends at home. It can be difficult to keep in touch with high school friends during the semester, and hard to remember college friends when we’re home. Here are some tips on how to manage both of them.

College Friends

College Friends

Make a Facebook group for your H.S. friends

One of the things me and my friends did was create a group on Facebook to keep up-to-date with each other. We called it “College Catch-up” and vowed to post in it at least once a week about what was happening in our lives. This way, we could all remain on the same page, unlike with texting.

Sometimes, when things were hectic, the group could fall dead. This can and will happen. When you see this, try to stir conversation by asking a question, such as “What was the best and worst part of your week,” or “what was the best thing your dining hall served recently?” This way people can leave quick responses while still keeping in touch.

Check which school breaks line up

Even if you can’t get in direct contact with your friends to ask, check their school websites to see if any of your breaks line up. Every school has a different beginning and end to breaks, especially Spring Break, so it’s important to check who will be home when in order to ensure a meet-up. Suggest concrete dates to your friends to make sure their busy schedules don’t fill up before you have time to mark your spot.

Add them on Skype or Omegle

Skype is an excellent way to keep in touch with friends, since most people have it. Omegle is less popular, but it allows more calls for free, whereas Skype only allows one-on-one video chats. Messaging chats are free on both, though, no matter the number of people.

Face-to-face video calls are an excellent way to keep in touch. Schedule one with close friends at least every month to catch up. If neither of you  have time for face-to-face, try instant messaging. It’s easy to multi-task, so you can be researching for your upcoming research paper and chatting at the same time without seeming distracted.

Keeping in Touch

Keeping in Touch

But what about college friends?

Do the same for your college friends over the summer! Add them on Skype before the school year ends, and make a group or group message for all of you to keep in touch. Maintaining both kinds of friendships is important, and if you really care about keeping them it is easy.

College Social Life

College Social Life