Best College Admissions Videos on YouTube March 26th, 2015

Best College Admissions Videos on YouTube

Tired of seeing the same-old brochures, emails, videos, postcards and other marketing materials from colleges? Well, there are some universities out there who think outside the box and generate creative, and eye-catching, materials to attract your attention.

Here are a few of the most interesting and creative recruitment and admissions videos we’ve seen from colleges and universities on YouTube.

American International College (MA): Who’s Gonna Push You?

This college’s mascot gives students the “push” they need to succeed (and apply) to the college.

American International College

Cleveland Institute of Art (OH): Brokaw: C.I.A. Admissions Video

Although this video is a little slow-paced (and even though it was posted way back in 2007), it’s still relevant. The video uses illustrations and art to show you what the school is all about and what you might experience as a student.

Cleveland Institute of Art

Georgia Tech: Fight Admission-Induced Stress with Georgia Tech’s Accurate Admissions Resource Guide

This video claims “young people across America are battling a silent, but very real threat: Admission Induced Stress.” It directs you to visit the university’s online guide about the admissions process.

Georgia Tech

University of Rochester (NY): Remember oUR Name

This isn’t your typical admissions office video: it’s a music video featuring students sharing information about the college with a “hip-hop twist.”

University of Rochester

Wartburg College (IA): Call Me

Remember Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit song from a couple years ago, “Call Me, Maybe”? The Wartburg Admissions Office staff and students lip-sync to the song and show you a bit of campus in this video.

Wartburg College

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7 Ways to Save Money for College as a High School Sophomore March 19th, 2015
Saving Money for College

Saving Money for College

It’s never too to early to start saving money for college. The average annual tuition, fees, room and board rates at four-year colleges and universities across the United States totals from about $19,000 to more than $42,000, according to the CollegeBoard.org. Your sophomore year (or anytime really!) is a great time to start saving cash for college.

Here are seven ways you can get started saving money for college.

Apply for scholarships. You don’t have to be a high school junior or senior to start looking for college scholarships. Some scholarships are available to students at any high school grade level, so start looking for scholarships now!

Enter contests. Various organizations host essay, art, video and other contests for high school students, even as early as your sophomore or freshman year of high school. Search online for contests that fit your interests, and then participate! See our article on 10 Essay Contests for High School Sophomores and Juniors to get started.

Put money in the bank. If you don’t already have a savings account at a bank, open up one. As you earn money, deposit it at the bank. You’ll accrue a little bit of interest (free money!) each month, depending on your bank and the type of account you open. If you already have a bit of cash saved up, consider putting it in a CD—an account where you agree to leave the money in it for a specified period of time in exchange for a higher interest rate.

Get a part-time job. Whether it’s a summer job, or a job you keep throughout the school year, getting work experience will help you earn cash and get a work experience to put on your resume. If your schedule with extracurriculars is just too busy, look for other ways you can earn money. For example, perhaps you could mow your neighbors lawn in the summer for a few bucks, or in the winter you could shovel your neighbor’s snow.

Sell your stuff. This goes for only things you don’t need. For example, if you have an old model iPhone you no longer use, send it in to Gazelle or other similar sites that give people cash in exchange for old cell phones.

Also, if you have something you no longer want (such as a childhood toy or book), look on Amazon.com or eBay.com to see if you can get any money for it. If others are selling similar items for a decent price, try putting your items on there. (Note: You’ll need your parents to help you sell your items online or exchange your cell phone for cash, since many services require you to be at least 18 years old to sell items or be members.)

You could go low-tech with your sale, too, and organize a garage sale.

Use the library. Thinking about renting a movie from Redbox? Want to buy a new book you heard about? If so, don’t forget to check your library first. You can rent DVDs from most public libraries, and the new book you want to read might be available through the library, too—all for free.

Do free stuff. When you hang out with your friends, you don’t always have to do something that costs money. Look for free events and activities to do in your community.

Who We Are: Information you can trust. For 20 years My College Guide has produced an annual magazine chock full of free college info for high-achieving high school sophomores and another edition just for high-achieving juniors! Check out our participating colleges.

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Overview of 5 Different College Rankings Systems March 17th, 2015
College Rankings

Overview of College Ranking Systems

College rankings abound. These rankings are often subjective, or only look at select data sets, so colleges may have different rankings depending on the service ranking it.

Rankings may help you determine how good of a reputation a college has, but it shouldn’t be the only factor in your decision. You’ll also want to consider the cost, how it matches your interests (like if it has your major!), the location and more.

As you get started putting your college list together, here’s a quick overview of a few different college rankings you may come across.

U.S.News & World Report: These rankings are among the most popular rankings colleges cite in their marketing brochures. The Best Colleges rankings are based on formulas that take into account data on 16 “indicators of academic excellence” such as student retention rates, student selectivity, financial resources and graduation rates. Administrators at universities also fill out surveys to rate peer institutions, and those results are incorporated into the data used to create these rankings.

Washington Monthly: These rankings evaluate colleges “based on their contribution to the public good.” Three broad categories are considered: social mobility, research and service. Social mobility includes data on a college’s net price and number of students receiving Pell grants. Research covers information on how much money the college spends on research and the number of Ph.D. degrees awarded in certain areas, among other data points. Service relates to community service hours students participate in and support services offered to students.

Forbes America’s Top Colleges: Forbes is a business magazine that generates these annual rankings with a focus on the return you’ll get on your investment in that college. The rankings are based on categories such as student satisfaction, graduate success, student debt, graduation rate and academic success.

Princeton Review: The rankings in this annual publication are based on surveys from more than 130,000 students attending those colleges. This publication provides lists in dozens of different categories from Best Campus Food to Happiest Students to Best College Dorms to Most Beautiful Campus. It even has a guide to “green colleges,” that is, colleges that have a strong commitment to sustainability.

AIER College Destinations Index: The American Institute for Economic Research creates these rankings to rate the “college experience,” which takes into account the towns and cities schools are located in. The rankings divide cities by size, and compares data on student life, culture, economic health of the area and economic opportunities in the area.

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Colleges That Offer a Four-Year Graduation Guarantee March 12th, 2015
College Graduation

Graduating College in Four Years

About 59 percent of students in four-year bachelor’s degree programs graduate college in six years. Despite that statistic, it is possible to get a bachelor’s degree in four years today, but it takes good planning, hard work and dedication.

Some colleges even offer special four-year guarantees where if certain conditions are met, and the classes you need to take are not available, the college will cover any additional costs past four years.

The student requirements of the guarantees vary by college, but may require you to stick to one college major, maintain good academic standing, create a plan for courses you’ll take each year and meet regularly with an academic advisor.

Which colleges offer a four-year guarantee? Here’s 29 colleges that offer a four-year guarantee program. (Note: This is subject to change, so check with the college before applying or enrolling.)

  • Bacone College (OK)
  • Baldwin-Wallace College (OH)
  • Bethel College (KS)
  • California State University, San Bernardino
  • California State University – Fullerton
  • Dakota Wesleyan University (SD)
  • DePauw College (IN)
  • Doane College (NE)
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Florida Southern College
  • Fort Lewis College (CO)
  • Green Mountain College (VT)
  • Indiana State University
  • Jacksonville University (FL)
  • Juniata College (PA)
  • Kentucky Wesleyan College
  • Pace University (NY)
  • Portland State University
  • Randolph-Macon College
  • Sierra Nevada College (NV)
  • Unity College (ME)
  • University of Buffalo (NY)
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Maine at Farmington
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Nebraska
  • University of the Pacific (CA)
  • Virginia Wesleyan College (VA)
  • Wisconsin Lutheran College

No matter which college you’re interested in (even if it’s not on this list) be sure to ask an admission counselor if a four-year guarantee is offered for college majors you’re interested in. At many colleges, you need to sign up for the four-year guarantee during your freshman year or even before you start your first college class. So, ask early.

And, if a college doesn’t offer a guarantee, ask them what percentage of students graduate in four years. If it seems like a low number ask them why the number is what it is. Their answer should give you insight to how motivated other students are, the types of resources available to support student academic success, if students get tons of internships which pushes graduation dates back, if classes are difficult to get into and more.

Image credit: Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Who We Are: Information you can trust. For 20 years My College Guide has produced an annual magazine chock full of free college info for high-achieving high school sophomores and another edition just for high-achieving juniors! Check out our participating colleges.

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5 Ways to Explore College Campuses Before Your Official Visit March 5th, 2015
Campus Tour

Ways to Explore Colleges Before Your Official Visit

Official campus tours aren’t the only way for you to see college campuses. Throughout the year, colleges offer many programs for high school students. Plus, online virtual tours and social media provide an additional means to experience the campus. Here are five ways you can explore college campuses before you schedule an official visit or tour.

Pre-college programs: Most colleges offer some type of pre-college program for high school students in the summer. Programs can be daylong workshops or multi-week college class experiences. Check out colleges near you (or colleges you’re interested in attending) to see what pre-college programs they offer. During a pre-college experience, you’ll get to see the campus and even meet faculty who could become your professors.

Academic competitions: Colleges across the country host various competitions for high school students. For example, Model Congress provides an opportunity for high school students to participate in simulations to discover how the government works. It’s a sort of competitive debate team experience. Competitions for Model Congress are held at universities such as American International College (MA), Columbia University (NY), Princeton University (NJ), the University of Pennsylvania, Yale (CT), Harvard (MA), and the College of William and Mary (VA).

Similarly, some regional competitions for students participating in FIRST LEGO League (a national program for students interested in robotics and technology) are held on college campuses. This year, some of the FIRST LEGO regional competitions are being held at the University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, Bradley University (IL), Xavier University (OH), Central Washington University and Lehigh University (PA).

Before or after your competition, take time to walk around the campus. Volunteers helping to host the event could be current students or professors, so feel free to ask them questions about the school.

Virtual tours: Most college websites now have videos, photos, 3-D maps or interactive maps with pop-up virtual tour guides to give you a virtual tour of the campus. A virtual tour can give you a sense of how big a campus is (if there are lots of buildings, or just a few), what the dorms are like, and what classrooms or other inside spaces on campus are like.

Social media: Most colleges have social media accounts. And the students do, too. Search social media sites like Twitter or Instagram for keywords that include the college’s name you’re interested in. You can then see what students and others are saying. Colleges may also post various videos on YouTube, so you might be able to get a glimpse into some classrooms, dorms, labs or other campus facilities by watching videos.

Concerts or theater productions: Many large colleges have big arenas for their sports teams, but between games they may host public events such as concerts. Other colleges may have auditoriums that host musicals, plays, band and choir concerts, and other shows. If a concert or show at the college interests you, attend the show. Before the show, walk around the campus or even grab a bite to eat at a restaurant on campus or in town to see what life there is like.

Of course, you’ll eventually want to schedule an official campus tour at a few of your top college choices, but these alternate ways to explore college campuses can give you insight before you’re ready to take that step.

Who We Are: Information you can trust. For 20 years My College Guide has produced an annual magazine chock full of free college info for high-achieving high school sophomores and another edition just for high-achieving juniors! Check out our participating colleges.

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College Major of the Month: Sociology March 3rd, 2015
College Major

College Major of the Month: Sociology

Pop quiz: What do Ronald Reagan, Michelle Obama, Jesse Jackson, Regis Filbin and Robin Williams have in common? They all majored in sociology in college. If you’re interested in studying society and the social behavior of groups, cultures and organizations, sociology might be a possible college major for you. Let’s explore this month’s College Major of the Month.

What jobs exist for sociology majors? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, sociologists study the behavior and interactions of groups of people and organizations, particularly in the context of social, political and economic forces. A degree in sociology can lead to a career as a policy analyst, survey researcher, statistician, demographer or high school teacher. Additional graduate work in sociology could lead to a career in research for nonprofit organizations, businesses or the government.

The American Sociological Association website has more information on career opportunities for sociologists with a bachelor’s degree.

How much money do sociologists make? The average starting salary for sociology graduates with a bachelor’s degree is $37,100, according to a 2013 National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Salary Survey. The median annual salary for sociologists across all career levels is $74,960, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What are the education requirements for sociologists? For many sociology jobs, you’ll need a master’s degree or Ph.D. Sociologists typically specialize in a specific area, such as health, education, crime, families, poverty, gender or race and ethnic relations.

How can I prepare in high school to major in sociology? Take courses in sociology, psychology, as well as statistics, if they are available at your high school. Volunteer at social services organizations in your community.

What scholarships are available for sociology majors? Many colleges with sociology programs also may offer scholarships specifically for sociology majors, so ask the admission counselors at the colleges you’re interested what sociology scholarships they offer.

Image credit: Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Who We Are: Information you can trust. For 20 years My College Guide has produced an annual magazine chock full of free college info for high-achieving high school sophomores and another edition just for high-achieving juniors! Check out our participating colleges.

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College Scholarships Ending in March 2015 February 26th, 2015
Scholarship Money

Apply for College Scholarships

This month there are several scholarship opportunities available for high school students in any grade, including scholarships for musicians, leaders, volunteers, children of veterans and women interested in technology and engineering. Read on to see eight college scholarships with deadlines in March 2015.

Barbara Wiedner & Dorothy Vandercook Memorial Scholarship Foundation Peace Scholarships: High school seniors and college freshmen can apply for this scholarship. Applicants should have demonstrated leadership or personal initiative in activities involving peace and social justice, nuclear disarmament or conflict resolution. Awards are $250 to $500. Deadline: March 1

Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship: The American Legion Auxiliary sponsors this scholarship, which offers awards ranging from $2,500 to $3,500 to students who excel in academics and volunteer, and who are also a child or grandchild of a veteran. High school seniors can apply. Deadline: March 1

Glenn Miller Scholarship Competition: Vocalists and instrumentalists can make an audition CD to apply for these scholarships. Awards range from $1,000 to $4,000. Deadline: March 1

EngineerGirl Essay Contest: This year’s annual essay contest focuses on engineering in sports. Students in grades 3 through 12 can submit entries about one technology used in a sport you enjoy. Awards range from $100 to $500. Deadline: March 1

Frame My Future Scholarship Contest: Submit an original creative image (photo, collage, poem, drawing, painting) for a chance to win $1,000 for college. Finalists will be selected from entries, and the public votes for winners. Deadline: March 3

Women in Technology Scholarship Program: College-bound women can apply for this scholarship, which awards $2,500 scholarship to multiple women each year. Applications are evaluated on academics, community involvement, extracurricular activities, leadership qualities, career path and essay. Deadline: March 9

Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program: Students ages 6 and 18 who volunteer can be nominated for this award. National winners receive $10,000 and regional winners receive $1,000. Deadline: March 15

Superpower Scholarship: Students ages 13 and up can write a 250-word essay on which superhero you’d like to change places with for a day. Deadline: March 31

Who We Are: Information you can trust. For 20 years My College Guide has produced an annual magazine chock full of free college info for high-achieving high school sophomores and another edition just for high-achieving juniors! Check out our participating colleges.

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It’s Time to Start Applying to Pre-College Summer Programs February 19th, 2015
Pre-College Summer

Deadlines for Pre-College Summer Programs

In the middle of winter, you might not be thinking about summer just yet, but colleges across the country are. Many pre-college summer programs have already begun the registration process for this summer. In many cases, they accept or enroll students on a first-come, first-served basis, so you’ll want to register or apply for the program ASAP.

Here’s a list of a few pre-college programs by the month of their application deadlines.

March Deadlines

California College of the Arts Pre-College Program: Study art, architecture, design or creative writing over the summer in California’s Bay Area. The priority application deadline is March 16.

John Hopkins University Discover Hopkins Programs: These programs focus on the health studies field. Apply by March 15, particularly if you plan to apply for financial aid.

April Deadlines

Emory University (GA) Pre-College Summer Program: In this program, meet professors, enroll in college courses for credit and stay in a dorm on campus (or commute if you live nearby). The earlier you apply, the better chance you’ll get your residential preferences and course preferences. Apply by April 1 to be considered for financial aid for this program.

Michigan Technical University Summer Youth Programs: This university offers a variety of programs. Deadlines vary by program, but most have deadlines as early as April or May.

May Deadlines

Carnegie Mellon University Pre-College Programs: Choose from a variety of programs to suit your academic interests. Apply by May 1.

Syracuse Summer College: Syracuse University’s (NY) Summer College for high school students lets you take two-, three- or six-week college classes (some for college credit, others not for credit) in a wide range of disciplines. Apply by May 15.

June Deadlines

The University of Pennsylvania Summer Academies: Penn has Summer Academies on biomedical research, chemistry research, experimental physics research and social justice research. Penn also has a general pre-college program for rising juniors and seniors. You may even be able to earn college credit for courses you take through Penn’s program. Apply by June 1.

July Deadlines

University of Maryland Young Scholars Program: This summer program is open to rising high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. During the program, you’ll take one college-level, three-credit introductory course. The official application deadline is July 15, but students who are admitted by April 18 must confirm their admission by April 20. Check the program website for complete list of deadlines.

Other Deadlines

National Student Leadership Conference programs: The NSLC offers many prestigious leadership programs at colleges across the country, and on topics from biotechnology and business to culinary arts and medicine. You must be nominated by a teacher or guidance counselor. Check with your guidance office for deadlines. If you’re accepted into the program, enroll as soon as possible to reserve your spot.

Look for other programs at colleges in your area by Googling your location or the name of certain college, and the term “pre-college programs.”

Image credit: Courtesy of Rowan University Publications via Flickr Creative Commons.

Who We Are: Information you can trust. For 20 years My College Guide has produced an annual magazine chock full of free college info for high-achieving high school sophomores and another edition just for high-achieving juniors! Check out our participating colleges.

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Apps to Help Write College Application Essays February 17th, 2015
Apps for Essays

Apps to Help Write College Application Essays

The most difficult part of writing any essay is finding a good idea and getting started. If you’re having difficulty crafting your college application essay, consider using one of these mobile apps to help you get started.

All College Application Essays (iTunes; Google Play)
This free app has application prompts for more than 750 colleges, including college essay prompts on the Common Application. The app can help you figure out what you need to write for each college you’re applying to, how to submit each essay and how you can manage your application strategy and your essay writing workload. Just make sure you’re using the most up-to-date version, so it has the correct essay prompts for the year you’re applying.

College Essay Techniques (iTunes for $1.99)
This app provides advice on choosing a winning topic, telling your story effectively and how to write long and short supplemental essays. It also provides examples of Harvard admissions essays.

College Essay Brainstorm (iTunes for $.99; Google Play for $2.99)
Download this app to help you brainstorm college essay ideas for Common Application questions. It provides prompts based on which Common Application question you want to work on and helps you focus on brainstorming and recording the good ideas you come up with.

Essay Writing Guide (iTunes for $2.99)
Developed by a college English professor, this app aims to guide you through writing any kind of essay, including college application essays. It provides tips on organization, content, style and mechanics, and it includes a glossary. See how it works in a YouTube video.

For additional help on your college application essay, talk to your English teacher or guidance counselor.

Image credit: Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Who We Are: Information you can trust. For 20 years My College Guide has produced an annual magazine chock full of free college info for high-achieving high school sophomores and another edition just for high-achieving juniors! Check out our participating colleges.

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50 College Admissions Offices on Twitter February 12th, 2015
Admissions on Twitter

College Admissions Offices on Twitter

In the last decade, the number of colleges and admissions offices on Twitter has surged. More colleges are tweeting to engage current and future students (you!), showcase photos of student life and tout news about the school.

So, what can Twitter tell you about a college? A college’s Twitter account can help you learn more about the school, the activities that happen on campus and more. Plus, if you have questions, you can tweet the admissions office to get an answer.

Check out these 50 college admissions offices that tweet regularly.

Who We Are: Information you can trust. For 20 years My College Guide has produced an annual magazine chock full of free college info for high-achieving high school sophomores and another edition just for high-achieving juniors! Check out our participating colleges.

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