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Queenie's Magical College Notes of Awesomeness!!!!

Queenie's Magical College Notes of Awesomeness!!!!

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Published by: teochewiness on Aug 09, 2011
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03/17/2014

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QUEENIE’S MAGICAL COLLEGE NOTES OF AWESOMENESS!!!!

(version 1.1, updated 8/9/11)

Finding colleges
I highly recommend the 2-3-2 rule (2 reaches, 3 targets, and 2 safeties, with at least 1 of the safeties being a financial safety) because it’s a good balance. Something like it (1-1-1, 1-2-1, 7-7-7) is okay too, but make sure you apply to at least 1 school in each category so that you’re sure that you have all of your bases covered. Yes, even a reach. If you don’t apply, you could regret it in the future Google is your friend, especially when you’re starting to look for colleges, and especially if you know what you want to major in. Try something like “top engineering undergraduate schools.” Rankings might not be legit, but they’re definitely a start if you don’t know any names www.collegeprowler.com has student reviews on everything about a school - drug scene, boys, dorms, etc. and compiles them into “report cards” for schools. However, smaller schools have less information and statistics such as SAT scores can be inaccurate www.cappex.com has less student reviews than collegeprowler but a clean interface for organizing a list of schools you want to get into. Plus if you enter all of your information, they give you a rough estimate of your chances of getting into schools www.unigo.com has student reviews plus pretty good articles under “Get Accepted” with tips for applying and getting in. They also have a ton of videos of advice but watching videos takes too much effort and attention for me so I have no idea how good they are collegesearch.collegeboard.com/search/adv_typeofschool.jsp is the official collegeboard college search and information database. If you want official figures such as % of students in sororities/fraternities, AP credit policies, etc., I stick to here Your last authority on colleges, and something you should always visit before deciding you want to apply to a school, is the school’s website. Just how the website looks can tell you a lot about a school, in addition to all of the information on majors, virtual college tours, etc. Never trust student reviews. The only people who ever write reviews for a school are either extremely happy about their college or extremely upset about their college and most review writers have only been to one school so reviews are biased all around

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Commonapp.org/Applytexas.org
As many as 50% of applicants lie on their application but auditing is increasing (especially for highly selective colleges) so it is best if you do not lie If a university gives you the option to apply to 2 different colleges (e.g. school of architecture, school of engineering, school of arts and sciences), do not apply to 1 college and 2 different majors, apply to 2 majors in 2 different colleges. You should make what you really want your major to be your first choice and choose a random one for your second one. My reasoning? Different schools take different numbers of

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people. If you apply to 2 different schools, your chances of getting in increase and you can virtually always change your major after you get accepted (I can’t guarantee anything though). So obviously, your second choice for a school should be a fairly easy one to get into (i.e. choose a school of engineering as your second choice and you’re screwed)

Ethnicity
The general rule of thumb for claiming an ethnicity (i.e. Native American) is that you must be at least 1/16th that ethnicity (i.e. at least one of your great-great grandparents must be fully Native American) The URMs (under-represented minorities) that will slightly increase your chances of getting into a college are Hispanic, Black/African-American, and anything else that is not White/Caucasian or Asian

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Academics
Lying is absolutely stupid because every number is on your transcript, which is sent straight from your school to the college. Schools only use the Academics section as a reference and when they decide they like you, they use your transcript instead (a.k.a. you’re going to get caught if you lie) Take both the ACT and the SAT at least once each Don’t waste your money taking the ACT/SAT more than 3 times. Studies have shown that your score doesn’t change much after your 2nd try unless you actually study hard (which most people don’t do) Superscoring: only taking the highest section scores from multiple SAT test sittings. For example, if Suzy scored a 200, 200, 800 her first time and a 800, 800, 100 her second time, a school that superscores would take her highest score from each section and pretend that she made a perfect 2400 The TOEFL is only taken by people whose first language is not English (a.k.a. FOBs), so you don’t need to put anything You don’t have to list every single AP/SAT subject test but they’re all on your transcript anyways so you can’t hide any bad scores

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Extracurriculars
Make sure you rank your extracurriculars in order of importance (most important first) Anything you do outside of school is an extracurricular. Examples include work, rescuing cats from trees on a regular basis, work, obsessively watching people through their windows, volunteering, playing the kazoo for 3 hours everyday Being in 47 clubs is good but with ECs, less is more. Colleges would rather you join 2 clubs that you dedicate 5490376 hours a week to than 5903 clubs that you show up to 1 meeting in your whole lifetime for Leadership is good but there are thousands of Spanish Club Presidents all over the country. What’s most important is dedicating time to extracurriculars and accomplishing things in them Colleges want to know that you’ll continue your extracurriculars during college. This is where I lie

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Writing Your Personal Essay
As far as I can see (I’ve only opened up an application to UNT), on applytexas, there are no essays or short answers. I cannot guarantee this for all applytexas colleges but as far as

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UNT goes, you’re free to go Your personal essay is 1 of the trifecta that colleges consider the most important: your transcript, your ECs, and your essay. The essay and other short answers are especially important because they are the only place in your entire application where you get to show off your personality Pay attention to character and word limits. Some schools will not read your crap if you go 1 character over a limit Admissions officers finish 1 essay in the amount of time it takes to watch a Nike ad, while drinking a beer, with a folder of a hundred or so other essays that they have to finish reading within the hour. Legit, I’m not even lying. This is why your essay must be interesting When writing your essay, pretend you’re telling a story to someone, because that’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re telling your story to the admissions officer If you need to focus on any part of your essay, focus on your introduction. Make it interesting and attention-grabbing, because “this experience made me mature and realize how much I have taken for granted” has been done in 200 of the 500 essays your admissions officer has read before yours. 100 of the 500 are essays about death, another 100 about a vacation a person took, and another 100 about scoring a free throw in the last 2 seconds of the game and breaking the tie, winning the championship for the school On that note, if you know that you are funny, great, use that in your essay. If you are not sure that you are funny, DO NOT TRY TO BE FUNNY IN YOUR ESSAY. DO NOT. DO NOT. DO NOT. Show, don’t tell. Cut down majorly on adjectives and avoid them completely when possible. Instead of writing an essay calling yourself a “smart, beautiful, and courageous teenager too mature for her years,” why not just write an essay about the time you sacrificed your life to lure a tiger off of the stage of the beauty pageant that you would have won if not for the fact that your answers to the judge’s questions during the interview portion were filled with words that were too big for the judges to understand? I forbid you from opening a thesaurus or typing thesaurus.com into your browser Once you’re finished, read it out loud. Then have a friend read it. Then have a teacher read it. Then let it sit for a day or so. Then read it again Remove all instances of passive voice (to be). If you don’t know how to do this, google it or ask me for help

Short answers
No short answers for applytexas either, but no guarantees on that Start your common application as soon as you’ve decided on even 1 college. Supplements mean that you have as many as 10 additional short answers to do for each college and you can’t wait until the last minute to do them all and do them well I repeat, pay attention to character and word limits. Also, especially with short answers, use the characters you are given. Don’t look at a short answer asking for places that you’ve lived with a 500 character limit and just say “Dallas.” Be creative! Every word you say communicates something about you to a college, so be creative and at least think about every answer you put. Yes, I’m talking about the “favorite book/movie/author/artist” prompt. Make the reader want to know more about you, even if it means lying a little. Instead of saying just “Twilight” (and if you do, I swear you will get rejected), list book titles that showcase all of your different interests

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Deadlines
If you want any financial aid, DO NOT APPLY EARLY DECISION TO ANY COLLEGE, even if you’re dead set on going there. This locks in your decision if you’re accepted, which means that you cannot look at all of your financial aid packages once all of your acceptance decisions come in. In fact, if you are accepted early decision to a school, you are forced to withdraw all of your other applications. If the school you applied early decision to only offers you $500 in financial aid and they accept you, congratulations, you’re screwed for the rest of your life The typical regular decision deadline is January 1st. Finish ahead of time because site traffic is ridiculous on December 31st and you do not want to risk not getting your application in The typical FAFSA deadline is mid-February to early March

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Finally, I’m always here if you need help with anything! Ask me any questions you have and even if I don’t know the answers, I can use my awesome googling skills to find them for you.

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