Choosing your major may seem like the most daunting decision you need to make. It seems to ask you to determine your entire life with one checkbox. In reality, it’s not that complicated at all. Just choose what you are interested in. In most cases, the major you choose doesn’t close off opportunities, just opens up more specific ones. Tune in for our advice.
The University of Chicago has some of the weirdest and wackiest supplemental essay prompts of any university we’ve seen. In this episode, we analyze each one and give some of the first ideas that come to our mind. We talk through the general processes that you should use to generate ideas, from simplifying the prompt, thinking about your narrative, to having no filter. At the end, Michael shares his UChicago essay that he thought was amazing but that some admissions officer clearly didn’t.
Everyone knows that by November 1 and January 1, Common Applications need to be sent. What else? We share some other items that are often forgotten but are very important like a schedule, recommendation letters, test scores, transcripts, essays, scholarships, financial aid, and more.
The distinction between liberal arts colleges and research universities is an artifact of a faraway time. Today, the differences between the two are far fewer, mainly centering around the size of school and the emphasis on undergraduate education. We also discuss a few pieces of breaking college news – Rice making tuition free for more students, Stanford stopping its release of admissions rate, and Harvard’s record-breaking fundraising effort.
Senior year is going to be your hardest year of high school, but it can also be the best year. In this episode, we discuss how to schedule your senior year around college applications, scholarships, school, extracurriculars, and the inevitable senioritis. Stick around till the end and hear about how Dominic became the most infamous person at school.
Teacher recommendation letters are your reward for being a brown noser for four years. Just kidding… Kinda… Joining us to talk about how to get good teacher recommendation letters and how to build strong relationships with instructors is a 20 year veteran of public schools. Don Gonzalez is a teacher and magnet coordinator at the Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet in Dallas, TX. He was a key piece of Michael’s college applications, and now he joins the podcast to give his own advice. To hear more from Mr. Gonzalez, check out his podcast and blog at thejoecatholic.org.
The first step in the college application is process is picking which college you want to apply to. Applicants should pick schools in three ranges – safety, target, and reach schools. The number of schools they apply to will differ based on the applicant and their level of confidence. Finally, Michael shares his list and advises Dominic and Nhi on their lists.
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We aren’t just limited to schools in the United States. There are great schools internationally. We discuss the application processes for UK and Canadian schools as well as joint programs between American and international schools like Yale-NUS and NYU’s programs. Finally, we reflect on whether applying internationally is actually worth it.
Time Stamps – UK Schools – 2:06 Canadian Schools – 15:48 Joint Programs – 21:08 Reflection – 28:53
Extracurricular activities are the backbone of any college application, especially to top-tier schools. Freshmen need to start early. Upperclassmen need to develop their interests with awards and leadership positions. Seniors need to stay calm and not randomly resume pad. We discuss the activities we wish we had done and the ones we wish we had quit. Finally, Michael becomes an amateur psychologist.
The Common App has many sections – demographic information, test scores, educational history, academic honors, extracurricular activities, the additional information section, the Common App essay, recommendation letters, supplemental essays, and a little bit of common confusion among stressed-out seniors.