April 12, 2020
Hello CTP Fam,
Hoping you are doing well in these extraordinary times, we at CTP would like to encourage and support you. Believe it or not, like it or not, this is a once in a lifetime event, where you have all the time in the world to do whatever you have always wanted to do. The world literally stopped. Take a moment to take that in. What’s happening to our world is with no doubt absolutely horrific, but we have little control over it besides social distancing and personal hygiene. But we still have control of how to spend our time during the quarantine. Instead of lying in bed all day and worrying about COVID-19, we have compiled a few suggestions that will not only help you overcome your boredom but also benefit you in the long run.
1. Take the time to think
Reflect on what you have come to so far and anticipate what you would like for your future to be like. Whether you are the kind of person who likes to meditate or the kind who would rather discuss that with beloved ones, go for it. Focus on the inner self and set clear goals, prepare SMART(Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals and plan out your day on a timely basis. As you look back, take note of the times that are most meaningful to you and why. One of these events could ultimately be included in your essay and/or extracurriculars. It is also a very good time to prepare for tests. You have ample time to prepare, read and practice for standardized tests and there is no better time to prepare for these.
2. Develop a Hobby
Most of us grew up just focused on school and maybe tried to do a couple of things over the summer, but never had a full-grown hobby we love and are passionate about. Well, now is a perfect time to learn something new and either figure out your passion or if you already know it, start dedicating time and developing it completely. Some suggestions are reading books (maybe even start a virtual book club), coding, art, puzzles, chess, knitting, cooking (this will make you the favorite child by the way)
3. Start Thinking About College Applications
Whichever point you are at, think of how you can use this time to contribute to your college application. Researching for a school, or about a school you are interested in and looking at the SAT test and practicing doing questions are examples. The hobbies you developed are potential things you can put on your application as extracurriculars or skills.
4. Prepare your professional self
The present being a time of great competition, it is never too early to prepare your professional self. By that, we mean that you should make yourself ready to be recruited(or become a recruiter). Setup your Linkedin account, prepare a resume( or CV, if you’re a science person), develop professional skills like Microsoft Office, LaTex, or a certain type of programming language
5. Enjoy Your Time
Catch up on movies, play games with your family members, take afternoon naps and relax. Again, you will never find the time to do all these things during a school year and not feel guilty at the same time. So, spend some good quality time with your family and revitalize your energy.
I am sure by now you are all motivated to do all these amazing things and make your dreams come true, but it is also expected if your motivation doesn’t last too long. Coming up with a schedule and keeping yourself accountable to it is helpful. Take it one step at a time, and well, remember there’s always tomorrow to do it. So don’t let it get you down. As for our final word, we will share a quote, “you don’t want to look back at this time and regret not doing anything with it.”
Amerti is a rising junior at Columbia University studying Economics and Aaron is a rising sophomore at Lehigh University.
March 6, 2020
We are into March and we are fast approaching the climax of the application season. As most of you are waiting for your application decisions, we talked about the alternatives that are available for you last week in our segment on Rolling Decisions. This week we are going to take a turn and talk to our members that are aspiring to apply to colleges within the next one or two years. As March is pivotal for those that have already applied to college, it is to also pivotal for those of you that are about to get started.
Let's start from your school life. You should strive to boost your grades. Your GPA can come in handy, especially if you have to make up for the other components of your college application. But, if you feel your GPA isn't on the right course, don't worry as there are various components to the application.
This is also the perfect time to assess where you lie when it comes to extracurriculars. You should start thinking about ways you can participate and take roles in different clubs. This is also a perfect time to think about if you wanna participate in voluntary activities right now or over the summer, as it can come handy in the application process. There are various voluntary organizations which are eager to work with you like SOS Children's Village, Red Cross and many others. It is a good way to give back to your community, while gathering activities you can add to your application at the same time.
The other important things are standardized tests. By now, most of you are accustomed to the SAT, ACT, SAT Subject tests, and TOEFL. U.S. colleges accept either the SAT or ACT. So it doesn't matter which you take, but you can Google the specific requirements of each college to be sure. Most colleges outside of the U.S. like in Canada require the TOEFL, but most U.S. colleges don't require it. You can get your TOEFL requirement waived by most U.S. colleges since you have taken a foreign language(English) in high school. But you should still check the requirements of the particular college on their web-page. If you are a junior in high school, you should aim to take your first SAT or ACT or TOEFL by June so that it can give you enough time for improving your scores over the summer with the aim of taking it a second time in October. But if you don't believe that schedule works for you, it's okay. Just make sure, to leave enough amount of time so that you can take the exam a second time in case you want to improve it. For most people, the SAT is one of those exams where you need to go through it first so that you can make a cogent plan the next time around so plan on taking it two times. As a plus thinking that you can take it twice can ease your stress and help you perform better too.
If you are a sophomore in high school reading this, you can also plan ahead and take your first SAT in December of your junior year, so that it can give you more time for improvement the second time around, which you could do in June of that same year, giving you the whole summer for other components of the college application. But again, this is just an example of a timetable to get you to start thinking about it; you can change it to whatever fits with your schedule. But please going into the application process, plan to take TWO of the SAME standardized test.
You should also strive to develop good relationships with your teachers. Start thinking about good recommenders you can make use of when the college application season rolls around, especially if you are a junior in high school since teacher recommenders are usually taken from 11th and 12th grade. Don't forget about your counselor as they are also going to write a recommendation on your behalf. Your involvement in school clubs can come in handy when you approach your counselor.
Another crucial thing is to start thinking about your college application essays. Most people claim this is the most important part of your application. Start looking at the prompts for the college application essay. Sometimes the common app changes the prompts from year to year, but it doesn't make major changes so you can rest assured the prompts are going to look similar when you are finally going to apply. Strive to think about ideas that can't be associated with other people but you and you only. The essence of a good application essay is it's ability to be your story, which can't be applied to any other one. After you come up with an idea or write a draft of your essay, give it to one of your friends or person you know, and ask them who this belongs to or who it describes, if there is no one it could be about but you, then that's a good unique essay.
The above tips are just ways to get started in thinking about the college applications process. So, as a sophomore or junior, there is no need to feel helpless or sit idly by as the seniors around you scramble to finish what you’ll be working on in but a year or two. By the time your own senior year rolls around, you’ll be ready to tackle whatever comes your way–and with sleep to spare.
On a final note, we wish all of you that are awaiting college application decisions good luck.
The Author is a rising sophomore at Columbia University.
February 26, 2020
Today we will be talking about Rolling Admissions. Rolling Admission is a part of the application cycle for some colleges in which the schools evaluate applications as they are received, with out any set deadlines. one advantage of rolling admissions is getting quicker responses from the colleges. Since the schools release decisions on an on-going basis, you might only have to wait for weeks instead of months to hear back from them. Since rolling decision grants a long application window, colleges with rolling admission can be your last minute options, as they tend to have late deadlines.
One caveat about rolling decision is that spots at schools with rolling admission might fill up very quickly, and the longer one waits the harder it will be to get accepted. Hence, applying as early as possible is encouraged.
While no Ivy League colleges use a rolling admissions system, there are many reputable colleges that do. Some of these include Purdue University, Arizona State, Michigan State, University of Pittsburgh, Indiana, Pace University, Roger Williams, Rutgers, Loyola Mary mount, among many others.
Schools with rolling admission generally have higher acceptance rates, but it might be hard to get accepted as spaces become limited. So applying early is very advantageous.
For More: https://blog.prepscholar.com/colleges-with-rolling-admissions
The Author is a rising junior at Columbia University studying Computer Science and Psychology.
October 3, 2019
For this week’s CTP tip, we will be providing you with ways to stay organized over the weeks to come. Balancing standardized testing, essay writing, financial aid applications along with classes, assignments, friends and family can be challenging (we as college students still struggle with this on the daily, so know that you’re not alone). Therefore, to get the most out of this experience, it is important that you have a means of strategically achieving your goals and holding yourself accountable.
The first step to staying organized is to have a clear idea of your goals, your action plan and your deadlines. Invest in a notebook/planner and first write down all the things you have to achieve every week. Rate those items in terms of urgency and difficulty. Ideally, you should be spending the most time on the most urgent and difficult activities. Finally, block in times in your planner to work on these items. When you do cross off a certain item on your list, reward yourself (an episode of your favorite TV-show, candy – whatever works for you, as long as it doesn’t break the bank. Do it to keep yourself motivated!)
The second step is to pace yourself. A lot of the work you must complete to produce a successful college application can’t be done overnight. The best essays come out from weeks of editing and rewriting, and the highest SAT scores are contingent upon routine practice leading up to the exam date. Set a dedicated time each day (for instance, 45 minutes a day for SATs and 45 minutes twice a week for essays) to work on these items. Stick to your routine and you will see a lot of progress!
The third step is to structure your workspaces (notes and on your computer). For SAT’s keep a folder of your notes divided by section. On your laptop/computer, set up folders for financial aid, transcripts, essays, practice tests and guides to colleges. And of course, back up EVERYTHING on another computer or a flash drive!
The last step is to work with others. Find people who will motivate you and you in turn will motivate when the going gets tough. Work with them, share resources and support one another. The process will be less stressful for you if you’re around people with the same goals as you.
Managing college apps with classes can get tough but know that you are supported and more than capable. Stick to your plan, organize your workspaces and keep your self motivated. You got this!!
The Author is a rising senior at Columbia University studying Chemical Engineering.
September 29, 2019
As the October SATs are coming up this week, the CTP team would like to extend well wishes for the test and give you a few tips on finalizing your prep. Hopefully, you have been preparing for weeks, maybe months now and you are ready to take the test.
#Advice number 1. BRIEFLY REVIEW WHAT YOU HAVE DONE SO FAR: if there are notes or summaries you took while studying go over them once or twice just as a reminder. Looking over a list of techniques for the reading and writing section and a list of mistakes for the Math section is also helpful.
#Advice number 2. FINAL PRACTICE: As a warm-up to the test, do some practice questions and take a practice SAT or two. This will help you know of the progress you have made as well us give you a sense of what to expect on the day. But make sure you don’t overwork yourself on these last days. You don’t want to take the test tired and worn out, which leads me to my last advice.
#Advice number 3: GET ENOUGH REST: Although most of us are used to working rigorously the week of and specially the night before an exam, this is not a good strategy for the SAT. Instead you should spend take time for yourself to rest and eat well. Doing the opposite will lead to exhaustion and stress. Not only are these unfavorable conditions to be in before a test, they might result in your sickness. And we don’t want that. Finally, relax and chill cause you got this!!! WE BELIEVE IN YOU!
September 16, 2019
Hope your week is off to a great start!! The 2019/20 Application cycle has been open for a while now and we will be posting weekly tips about the college application process. Today we are going to kick off with some basic overview of the application process.
***The Common Application***
You will most likely complete your college apps online, either through the Common Application or on the school's website. The Common App makes it easy to apply to multiple schools with just one form, but each college will have different requirements for essays and test scores. Read the application instructions for the colleges of your choice carefully.
You will be asked to list basic information about yourself, your school, and your family, as well as your GPA, standardized test scores, extracurriculars, and any awards you earned in high school. If you start to fill out an application and realize you need more information from your school or parents, you will be able to save an in-progress application and return to it before submitting.
***High School Transcript***
You will need to request official transcripts from your high school for each college where you're applying. The transcripts are submitted via the commonApp. Remember that the administrators and counselors at your high school are helping all the other seniors in your class at the same time, so be polite--and patient. Senior year grades still count!
***SAT and ACT Score Reports***
You need to take a standardized exam to apply to most colleges in the U.S.. When you take the SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests, you can request that a score report be sent directly to your prospective colleges. You can also decide later whether colleges see one, some, or all of your scores. Schedule your test with enough time first to receive your scores (2–8 weeks for the ACT, about 3 weeks for the SAT) and then to request reports for the colleges on your list. Both ACT and the College Board offer rush or priority report options, for a fee. A school may consider all test scores from all dates, your highest overall score from a single test date, your superscore, in which case you'll submit all your scores and the admissions committee will consider only the highest score on each section or test scores may be completely optional.
*** Letters of Recommendation and Personal Statement***
Most colleges require two or three letters of recommendation from high school teachers or school counselors. Pick someone who knows you well and can speak to your strengths. Your college essay will probably be the most time-consuming part of your application—start early. Use your essay as an opportunity to tell admissions counselors what makes you unique and what you can bring to a given campus community.
Be aware that applying for admission and applying for financial aid are two separate processes. Check every school's financial aid policies—They will require forms like the CSS/ISFAA.
We will be back with much more detail on each of these topics in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
The Author is a rising junior at Columbia University studying Computer Science and Psychology.