Plan for College

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How To Eat For The SAT Or ACT

By Aja Frost for The Prospect

So you’ve memorized the special properties of an isosceles triangle and you can use “deleterious” in your sleep. But getting yourself ready for the SAT or ACT involves more than reading the three or four prep books you check out from the library.
 
 
What you nosh on while studying, on the morning of, and during the SAT can have a huge impact on your score. Here are a few food tips to get your test-ready!
 
1. Studying
Usually, focusing on “excitement-challenged” topics like subject-verb agreement and table analysis can make you want to reach for the Ben and Jerry’s. Anything to spice your study session up, right? Well put down that spoon, sista. This is the time for balanced snacks, which, unlike sugary noms, will keep you energized and on-task.  Eggs with avocado on whole-grain toast is an excellent choice, as it will provide you with the three macronutrients: protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Another macronutrient trifecta is oatmeal with fruit and a nut butter drizzled on top. My favorite combo is berries and dark chocolate hazelnut butter, because it tastes like pb&j in a bowl.
 
2. After Studying
Now it’s time to reward yourself! That bowl of half-baked ice cream is officially back on the table. If you still want to be a little healthy, eat Greek yogurt-dipped almonds or Goji Berries covered in dark chocolate. These nutrient-rich foods will satisfy your sweet cravings while dosing you with fiber, protein, antioxidants, and vitamins — just to name a few benefits. No matter how you indulge, thinking of the delicious dessert you’ll dive into once you’ve finished working can be a powerful motivator.
 
3. The Morning of the Test
It’s no secret caffeine can make you feel more awake and pumped up, which is why you may be tempted to guzzle a Venti from Starbucks before you take the SAT’s. However, this will backfire, making you jittery and less focused than you’d otherwise be. Stick to your normal routine. If you usually drink coffee, have your regular amount; if you usually don’t, keep abstaining. Now’s not the occasion to weird your body or brain out.
 
For breakfast, it’s again important to skip sugary options, like muffins or waffles, in favor of full meals. An omelette, cooked with olive oil and veggies, is tasty and filling. If you’re not feeling like a savory meal, try a sweet potato topped with granola and peanut butter.
 

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3 Tips To Get Your Head In The Test Game

By Sophie Stadler for The Prospect

Testing is a huge part of life. To become a doctor or lawyer, to get into college, to graduate high school—all require the successful passing of one or more exams. Find out how to get your head in the test game!
 
 
These are the tests that add up over time and, ultimately, become the bread and butter of a high school transcript. Though these exams are more of a war of attrition than a single battle, each and every one counts.
 
Sometimes though, it can be difficult to perform at the level you are capable of when exam day comes. In other words, you can bomb the test even if you have a firm grasp on the material. Taking test after test during an already lengthy school day is most certainly tiring, wearing you out before the exam even lands on your desk. Other students are stunted by anxiety, and nerves prevent them from performing their best. Tests are a fact of life though, so it’s important to take steps that put you on the path to success. Here are some tips for those who find themselves with pre-test jitters.
 
Ask Teachers For Help 
Teachers are there to help, so take advantage of this and use them as a resource. Before the test, it’s okay to ask plenty of questions. What will the format of the exam be? How many questions? Will there be a curve? All of these tidbits will allow you to tailor your studying to the specifics of the exam. Plus, when test day arrives, you’ll know exactly what to expect. No surprises = a clear mind. You may also want to consider going in for extra help. Depending on the teacher, you could get some inside information, like what material will be emphasized and what isn’t really important to know. At the very least, you’ll demonstrate that you are a dedicated student.
 
Avoid Cramming the Night Before 
We’ve all heard this one a million times: don’t leave your studying until the night before a test. I’ll admit, I’m guilty as charged. Sometimes there isn’t enough time to get started earlier in the week, and sometimes laziness prevails. For those days when you can’t start studying in advance, it helps to plan your procrastination, in a sense. Perhaps you’ll get some homework out of the way in advance or take care of your chores the night before. In any case, leaving yourself plenty of time to study the material will ease your stress the night before and allow you to get plenty of sleep.
 
Sometimes, it’s simply necessary to stay up late studying. Most of the time, this is a bad idea. At some point, your body needs rest, and staying up pouring over a textbook is not going to help you absorb any information. We’ve all been there; it’s 12:30 AM and it seems like everything you try to learn is futile. Your body is trying to tell you to stop, and you should listen.
 

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Breaking The College Code

What's the deal with AP, IB, SAT and ACT?

AP, IB, SAT, ACT, oh my! So many acronyms, so little time. Understanding all the different means can leave you feeling dizzy. Our friends at Girls Life wanted to make you feel at ease. They have provided a break down of each term.

 

Er. What’s an “AP” class?

An AP class is an upper level Advanced Placement class. The AP program is administered by the College Board, which also oversees the PSAT and SAT (more about those two later). APs are supposed to be college-level courses you take for a year in high school, rather than the typical college quarter, trimester or semester, though if your school is on a block schedule, this may be different. There are tons of AP classes—from biology to art history to Chinese—but not all schools offer all the classes.

Got it. So, what’s an IB, then?

The International Baccalaureate or IB program offers upper-level coursework, but it requires students to take a full diploma, or array of classes, rather than only picking the subject that interest them. Students across the globe enroll in the IB program, whereas the AP system is more of an American thing.

OK. Let’s talk SAT.

The SAT used to stand for “standardized achievement test.” Now, however, it doesn’t stand for anything. Yep, weird, we know. The SAT an admissions test administered by the College Board (the same folks who maintain the AP program we talked about earlier). It’s the most widely recognized test in the U.S., and is used in part or whole in admissions decisions for many colleges and universities. Some schools are becoming “test optional”, which means you don’t have to submit SAT (or ACT—see below) scores to apply or be accepted.

One more thing. What’s the deal with the ACT?

Good question! The ACT is a “college readiness assessment” meant to more completely test a student’s preparedness for college. Subjects tested include English, math, reading and science, with an optional writing test. The highest score you can get on the ACT is a perfect 36. You can take the ACT as many times as you want, though like the SAT, twice is probably the average.

For more details for each abbrivation, head over to Girls Life for the full article.

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Get The Most Out Of Accepted Students Days

By Winnie Ma

The long wait is finally over! College decision letters are trickling in, runs to the mailbox are ridiculously frequent and high school seniors are increasingly jittery.

 

If you've already gotten your acceptance letters, congrats! After you celebrate and do a couple of victory dances, what's a pre-collegiette to do now?

One thing to keep an eye out for is when admitted students days are. Most colleges and universities hold an open house day or weekend event in March or April for accepted students and their families to visit the campus before making their final college decisions. This is a great opportunity to celebrate with fellow accepted freshmen, get to know the school better and gain some much-needed clarity. Check out these 11 tips for navigating this important event and getting the most out of your accepted students day!

1. Pack wisely and prepare lots of questions

This is the first time you're going to meet your potential future classmates and a lot of other important people, so of course you're going to want to look cute and make a good impression! However, it's probably better to ditch your heels and restrictive clothes for a pair of good walking shoes. "Be comfortable and dress for the weather," says Marla Platt, consultant at college consulting service Achieve Coach College Consulting. "Plan on a lot of walking and standing and talking."

Also, make sure to bring a notebook and pen so you're prepared to take notes. With so much happening in such a short amount of time, your brain will thank you later for writing down your reactions to all the scheduled activities you attended, as well as things that you and your family decided to do and explore on your own.

Notes, of course, can't replace photos. Make sure to pack a camera or check that you have enough space on your phone for lots of photos. "Snap some pictures... to capture photos of the school, the surrounding area, etc.," Platt says. "Images can do a lot to evoke remembered feelings that go beyond scribbled notes."

Lastly, but most importantly, come with a ready mind. Think about what you want to get out of this experience and what you want to learn about the school. Platt says it’s important to go prepared with specific questions related to what’s important to you, such as academic advising or the classroom vibe. For example, how does the academic advising system work? Are there any extracurricular activities available in the areas that you're interested in? How accessible are the professors? Preparing lots of questions will make it easier for you to see if this is really the right college for you!

Want more? Head over to HerCampus for the other ten tips to get the most out of your accepted students days!

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Freshman Dorm Life: Choosing a Roommate

Making lasting friendships or mortal enemies

You're about to embark on a life beyond high school. You're ready to leave your parent's house and into the dorms. Do you want the comfort of a familar face or take a chance on meeting new people? Cliff's Notes can help you pick the right roomate.

 

Going to college can be scary enough on its own, so having a familiar face around can be comforting. On the other hand, college is when you start becoming an independent adult. It's time to move on from high school; opening yourself up to new people and relationships is part of that change.
 
Some friends from high school do make good roommates. Other times, sharing a dorm room ends a friendship that's been close since first grade. Whether you live with a friend or a stranger, remember that successful roommate relationships depend more on personalities than shared history.
 
Considering a high school friend as a roommate
If you decide to dorm with a friend from high school, give your roomie some space to be her own person.  Having a familiar face to come home to can be comforting, but you don't have to tag along every time she goes to the cafeteria or hangs out in a room down the hall.
 
Taking a chance on a stranger
There's little doubt that the first few days of living with a person you've never seen before will be awkward, but it can also be a wonderful surprise — even if you have little outwardly in common.
 
Living with a roommate
If you respect your roommate and her property (as well as her study, social, and sleep habits), if you coordinate your study and cleaning schedules, keep communication lines open so you can talk through your disagreements, and make the effort to be friendly (even if you're not really friends), you can live with just about anybody. 
 
Head over to Cliff's Notes for the full article.

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How To Ace The ACT Like A Boss

You got this!

With the ACT only days away, are you feeling nervous? We understand the how pressure and time can mess up your mojo. Thanks to our friends at Sparknotes, we have 7 basic rules for you to ace your ACT like a boss!

 

1. Know the Instructions for Each Subject Test

Since you’ll need all the time you can get, don’t waste time reading the Subject Test instructions during the actual test. Learn the instructions beforehand by taking practice tests and reading our chapters on the Subject Tests.

2. Use Your Test Booklet as Scratch Paper

Some students seem to think their test booklet has to look “pretty” at the end of the test. Don’t be one of those students. A pristine test booklet is a sad test booklet. 3. Answer Easy Questions before Hard Questions

3. Answer Easy Questions before Hard Questions

This is a crucial strategy for the ACT. Since all questions within a Subject Test are worth the same number of points, there’s no point slaving away over a difficult question if doing so requires several minutes. In the same amount of time, you probably could have racked up points by answering a bunch of easy, less time-consuming questions.

4. Don’t Get Bogged Down by a Hard Question

This rule may seem obvious, but many people have a hard time letting go of a question. If you’ve spent a significant amount of time on a problem (in ACT world, a minute and a half is a lot of time) and haven’t gotten close to answering it, just let it go.

For the rest of the tips, make sure you head over Sparknotes. Once you get all the tips down, you’ll walk out of that test like a boss! Good luck!

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Taking the SAT?

Get pumped with this playlist!

Taking the SAT? If you're heading to college next soon, it's definitely on your to-do list. Trust us when we tell you that you want to read this ENTIRE article before you go take the SAT. Just trust us! 

 

The SAT is coming up and rather than give you another list of things to bring or ways to study, we thought we'd give you something you could really use. We present to you our list of songs to play to get you pumped up for the SAT! So put on your earphones and get ready to get hyped to take the SAT like a boss!

The Black Eyed Peas - Pump It

Katy Perry - Roar

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Can't Hold Us

Jennifer Hudson - I Got This

Flo Rida - Good Feeling

Pharrell Williams - Happy

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YOLO: Drake Gets Grad Speech Makeover

MTV News

Ever since Drake brought "YOLO" into the lexicon in 2011 via his song "The Motto," teens and adults alike have adopted the acronym — "You Only Live Once" — as an excuse to do dumb things with zero consequences.
 
Director Jason Pollock, however, recently redefined — or, rather, clarified — its meaning during a Drake-themed high school graduation speech that pumped the kids up almost as much as Drizzy himself could.
 
Pollock, creator of a social media project called Undroppable (and Get Schooled partner)  that seeks to curb high school dropout rates, went to Schenectady High School at the end of June to unleash his Drake-inspired wisdom. Pollock is currently compiling videos featuring kids from high schools around the country for inclusion in a documentary produced by Justin Bieber's manager Scooter Braun and "Anchorman 2" writer/director Adam McKay.
 

The director put three "Drakeisms" — "YOLO," "No New Friends" and "Started from the Bottom" — in terms applicable to the grads' lives. No, Pollock wasn't promoting rampant bad decision-making with an easy "YOLO" out — he was bringing out the wisdom in Drake's words, he said.
 
Here are Pollock's definitions of the Drakeisms:
 
"YOLO: "[It's] about doing as much as we can every day to try to help our community because we only live once," he said in the speech.
 
"No New Friends": "[These are the] few people in your life who you grew up with and truly know you, and they are your real friends."
 
"Started from the Bottom": This served as the speech's tear-jerking show-closer, hitting the closest to home and telling the assembled students that "each of you had to start from the bottom, and now you're here."
 
"When that song came out — that was just a huge day for me," Pollock told MTV News about "Started from the Bottom." "As someone who's been working in schools with underprivileged kids who don't get a lot of respect and are trying to make it and need a little bit of inspiration, that song became a rallying cry."
 
So why did Pollock go with Drake over all other hip-hop and pop stars? Well, he was simply giving the people what they want.
 
"I always ask the kids what they're listening to, what they love, who they like," he said. "And every kid told me Drake. I knew about Drake, but I hadn't really become obsessed with Drake. One hundred kids in a row tell you that Drake is their favorite rapper — a lot of bells went off."
 
Soon, Pollock became Drake's biggest fan, inspired by his students' love for the rapper as well as his respect for Drizzy's lyrics. "In the hip-hop game he's actually saying really smart things," Pollock said. "I always talk about being positive, but I think he's talking about it in a very different, very engaging way— he's saying the same kinds of things."
 
Pollock thinks his knowledge of the rapper prevented the kids from reacting to his speech with what could easily have been a room-wide eyeroll. "A lot of why I think the speech is good is because I've listened to kids so much, so I was able to create something that they wanted to hear," he said. "To be honest, I did not realize how well it was going to go over. They just went crazy."
 
Drake has yet to respond to the speech, but Pollock hopes that the rapper will get involved in Undroppable. "It would be a dream come to true to get this on his radar," he said. "'I am Undroppable' is a great Drake phrase.... I think we're going to start seeing it in rap songs. It can be part of the lexicon, like YOLO."
 

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College Visit Checklist

You're going to college! Are you excited? Great, but before you send in those applicaitons, it's a good idea to drop in for a campus visit. A college visit is a great way to gather information about the school and see if it's a good fit for your personal and acdemic needs. This quick list from our friends at The College Board's Big Future
 
 
When planning your campus visits, make sure to allow time to explore each college. While you’re there, talk to as many people as possible. These can include college admission staff, professors and students. Below are some other things you can do while visiting. Note that some activities, such as meeting with an admission officer or staying overnight in a dorm, might need to be set up in advance.
 
Gather Information
  • Take part in a group information session at the admission office.
  • Interview with an admission officer.
  • Pick up financial aid forms.
  • Sit in on a class that interests you. If classes aren’t in session, just see what the classrooms are like.
  • Meet a professor who teaches a subject that interests you.
  • Talk to students about what they think of their classes and professors.
  • Get the names of the people you meet and their business cards so you can contact them later if you have questions.
 
Explore the Campus
Get a feel for student life and see if this college is a place where you will do well:
 
  • Take a campus tour.
  • Talk to current students about life on campus and the college.
  • Check out the freshmen dorms and stay overnight with a student, if possible.
  • Visit the dining hall, fitness center, library, career center, bookstore and other campus facilities.
  • Talk to the coaches of sports that you may want to play.
  • Walk or drive around the community surrounding the campus.
 
Check Out Campus Media
Tune in to learn what’s happening on campus and what’s on students’ minds:
 
  • Listen to the college radio station.
  • Read the student newspaper.
  • Read other student publications, such as department newsletters, alternative newspapers and literary reviews.
  • Scan bulletin boards to see what daily student life is like.
  • Go to the career center and learn what services it offers.
  • Browse the school’s website and any campus blogs.
 
Questions to Ask During Your Visit
Here are some questions you may want to ask your tour guide or students you meet on campus:
 
  • What are the best reasons to go to this college?
  • What’s it like to go from high school to college?
  • What do you do in your free time? On the weekends?
  • What do you love about this college?
  • What do you wish you could change about this college?
  • Why did you choose this college?
  • What is it like to live here?
 
 

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For Sophomores and Freshmen

Can 10 questions really help you discover your future? We guess you'll just have to answer them to find out! Get started on your road to discovery now!

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For Middle Schoolers

Is college on your mind yet?

You're probably thinking, "College is way too far away for me to be thinking about it now!" Oh, but you're wrong! Middle school is the perfect time to start exploring your interests and what you might be interested in studying in college.

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10 Signs You Found the Right College

Our friends at Sparknotes know a lot about choosing a college. We thought we'd share this great story with you about the 10 Signs You Found the Right College!

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How to apply to college for free

And save yourself some moolah!

 

If you're applying to college right now, you know those application costs can really add up! Luckily, we've found some great ways to help you save money by applying to college for free!
 

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Take a trip to the guidance counselor

The school guidance counselor can help you schedule your courses, balance your workload, and plan for college. If you’ve never visited the guidance counselor, make an appointment this week! But before you go, here are a few questions to ask!

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8 Things College Admissions Counselors Want You To Know

Whether you are applying to a small, private college or a large, public university, there are some universal missteps that can affect your chances of getting admitted. Read these helpful tips from college admissions counselors.

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Big Test Coming Up?

Try these tips to get the best score!

Sometimes, making a few changes to your study strategy can make a huge difference in your test scores. Check out these 4 easy tips for doing better on your next test!