Posts filed under ‘Tweens’
This year Stanford admitted only 7.2 percent of applicants and Harvard accepted only 6.9 percent of them. The process seems daunting. At Harvard, before kids even get to the essay questions, they need to circle whether their career, academic, and athletic plans are “very likely to change” or “absolutely certain.” Then they’ve got the 250-words-or-more Common Application essay. (One suggested topic: “Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.” Yikes.) And many schools add on “optional” essays.
Writing a college application essay can be pretty stressful, and it should be time-consuming. After all, you don’t want to give the admissions counselors at your dream school a bad impression based on a poorly written essay that you threw together the night before the due date. Proper planning is essential because you will need to give yourself plenty of time for adjustments, rewrites, and proofreading.
Here’s a guide to some ways you can use to help you through this rite of passage:
Be Yourself. “Applications are best if they reflect the way the student is,” says Light. “It’s very tempting to sit down and try to figure out what admissions officers — we as a species — want to see, and there are perils in that.” Why? “We have pretty good radar to detect the overly varnished,” says Keith Light, who has worked in admissions at Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and now at Brown. “It’s not that we’re cynical and looking for cheating or too much input. [But] it’s not very hard for us to spot when a parent or someone else [like a teacher] has had too much of a heavy hand in the writing.” It makes admissions officers wonder, “Are we really getting to really know the student, or what others thinks the student is?” he says. It’s best when students pen their own essays, which sound as though they’re written by the person their teachers are describing in their recommendation letters.
Once it’s time to begin writing your essay for real, you’ll have a notebook full of ideas from which to choose. Go through your notes and see if anything seems worthy of using; you can even choose two or three topics as “maybes” and narrow things down as you go.
Decide which essay topic you are going to use, and begin by writing an outline. Even though you may have been told otherwise, your admissions essay doesn’t have to be about something that no one else has ever done. While it’s important that your essay is unique and talks about you, most high school students go through similar experiences … and you don’t want to create an essay full of lies, remember?
Once you begin writing, you’ll probably realize that the experience isn’t as bad as you’d imagined it would be. Just remember that the purpose of writing this essay is to present a personal view of you to the college admissions staff. If the school does not require in-person interviews, your essay may be all they have to go on. Take your time and allow others to read your essay and provide constructive criticism before you turn it in.
Don’t underestimate yourself. Keep your attitude positive. Most kids don’t go to Harvard — but still get into a college and love it. This fall about 7.5 million students are expected to attend public four-year institutions and 4.6
million to attend private four-year institutions, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. (There are more than 420 public colleges and universities alone, according to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.)
Don’t feel compelled to add extras, such as resumes. “We neither ask for or expect them, but they pop up,” says Light. (Some even include “mission statements.”) Light once received a 12-page one. The parent told him, “The son of my friend down the street just got admitted to Harvard last year, and his resume was 14 pages.” Light’s take on it: “He was admitted in spite of the essay.” (Resumes aren’t the only add-ons: Once Light received multiple copies of a color-coded family tree, dating back to the 1800s, which showed close relatives’ connections to a university.)
Follow the essay guidelines that were specified on your application. You don’t want it to be too short or too long. Most schools allow typed essays, so they will probably have specifications for font size and spacing; others will request hand-written essays, so be sure to submit your essay in the format that is required. Read your directions carefully.
Remember to proofread your essay. Check your work carefully for grammar, spelling, and structure. Ask others to proofread it, too – your English teacher is a great choice for this job, if they’re willing to help you out, as well as your friends and family. An essay that is full of typos and grammatical errors will look sloppy and rushed and will reflect poorly on you.
Save your essay. It’s fine to use the same essay with minor revisions for more than one college application, so be sure to save your essay. Keep it on the hard drive of your computer, but burn it to CD or place it on an external hard as well. You never know when your computer may crash and cause you to lose everything. You can even email it to yourself as an attachment.
Avast, me hearties! Once a goofy idea celebrated by a handful of friends, “Talk Like A Pirate Day” has turned into an international phenomenon that shows no sign of letting up. From South Africa to the South Pole, from New York to the Pacific Northwest, everyone now has their own personal excuse to party like pirates every September 19th.
How It All Began
Once upon a time, in June 6, 1995, to be precise, John Baur and Mark Summers came up with this idea over a game of racquetball – they were not playing very well. Their calls of friendly encouragement to each other quickly turned into pirate slang: they are still not entirely sure how it all started. Anyway, whoever let out the first “Arrr!” started something. One thing led to another. “That be a fine cannonade,” one said, to be followed by “Now watch as I fire a broadside straight into your yardarm!” and other such helpful phrases.
After their hour on the court was over, they realized that lapsing into pirate lingo had made the game more fun and the time pass more quickly. They decided then and there that what the world really needed was a new national holiday, Talk Like A Pirate Day. Since then, for seven years the two celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day pretty much on their own with a few friends. This particular day of pirate slang, however, might have remained virtually unknown if it had not been for one happy accident. One day in early 2002, John Baur chanced upon Dave Barry’s e-mail address. Dave Barry is a syndicated columnist, Pulitzer Prize winning author, and humorist.
After contacting him, John Baur and Mark Summers assumed a famous guy like Dave Barry would have more important things to do than read the e-mail of a couple of goofy guys with a hare-brained idea. It turns out, it was perfect material for his column and the idea exploded. Chat rooms all over the Web have been deluged with “Arrs” and “me hearties” and such. Radio stations were abuzz with the story and the two even interviewed with NPR’s All Things Considered. They tapped into something big, much bigger than anyone had ever anticipated: the world was finally introduced to Talk Like A Pirate Day.
What’s The Point?
The point is, there is no point: and that is what’s fun about Talk Like a Pirate Day specifically, and talking like a pirate in general. It gives your conversation a swagger, an elán, denied to landlocked lubbers and the like. The silliness is the holiday’s best selling point and embraces the mere image of swaggering pirateness. So when Sept. 19 rolls around and suddenly tens of thousands of people are saying “arrr” and “Weigh anchor or I’ll keelhaul the lot of you,” it staggers us. They are talking like pirates — not because two guys from the Northwestern United States told them to, but simply because it’s fun.
Basic Pirate Speak
Pirate lingo is rich and complicated. There are several sites online that offer glossaries of vernacular that will assist any aspiring pirate. But if you just want a quick reference, a “pirate patina,” if you will, here are the five basic words that you cannot live without. Master them, and you can face Talk Like a Pirate Day with a smile on your face, a swagger in your step, and a parrot on your shoulder.
Ahoy! – “Hello!”
Avast! - Stop and give attention. It can be used in a sense of surprise, “Whoa! Get a load of that!” which today makes it more of a “Check it out” or “No way!”
Aye! – “Why yes, I agree most heartily with everything you just said or did.”
Aye aye! – “I’ll get right on that sir, as soon as I adjust the hook.”
Arrr! – This one is often confused with arrrgh, which is of course the sound you make when you sit on a belaying pin. “Arrr!” can mean, variously, “yes,” “I agree,” “I’m happy,” ” “My team is going to win it all,” and “That was a clever remark you or I just made.” And those are just a few of the myriad possibilities of Arrr!
So be sure to enjoy Talk Like A Pirate Day this September 19th, and embrace the silliness. And be sure to follow the piratical John Baur and Mark Summers on their Facebook Fan Page – more than 15,000 fans strong – complete with a live feed of The Poopdeck newsletter. Or check them out on Twitter under “thecapnslappy“.
Across the United States and around the globe, young people have joined a movement of mutual respect and human dignity called Spread the Word to End the Word. The goal: get people to stop and think about their hurtful and disparaging use of the word “retard” and pledge to stop using it.
Spread the Word to End the Word was created by youth with and without intellectual disabilities who participated in the Special Olympics Global Youth Activation Summit at the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. The motivation for the campaign was driven by a united passion to promote the positive contributions people with intellectual disabilities make to communities around the world combined with a simple call to action – a pledge to stop using a word – that also symbolizes positive attitude change and a commitment to make the world a more accepting place for all people.
We found that almost all youth have heard the r-word and most have heard it used by a friend or a student at school. We also found that youth react differently to the r-word if it is directed at a person with a disability or if a friend says the word.
Half of youth (51%) said that they felt bad or sorry for the person being picked. Some responded that they either laughed or didn’t care when they heard the r-word and many (39%) said that they did nothing. Some youth (33%) took a stand and told the person it was wrong to say the r-word.
What YOU Can Do
Join he cause and the Spread the Word to End the Word’s Project UNIFY movement in schools around the U.S. Motivate your friends to get involved with a variety of fun youth activities. You can even contribute five minutes to take the Spread the Word to End the Word pledge.
Get in the game by joining Special Olympics Unified Sports®, where people with and without intellectual disabilities train and compete together on the same team.
Know someone with an intellectual disability? Refer them to a Special Olympics program nearby, and for more information, go to http://www.specialolympics.org/.
Only 19 days left to register for the Young Minds Digital Times Student Film Competition. We have fantastic prizes for our winners, including two Grand Prize packages to attend the 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Other first place category winners will take home $200 in cold, hard cash. The teacher with the most student film entries, and the school with the most student film entries in Track One: Young Filmmakers Doing Good, will each win $1000! But you have to register first!!
Registration is open until February 19th. The competition is free to all student filmmakers grades 6-8 and 9-12. Film entries are due March 19th. And check the rest of our blog posts for filmmaking tips and tricks.