Student Blog Post: Tips on the College Application Process Part I

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Student Blog Post: Tips on the College Application Process Part I

Owen

Hi! How’s everybody doing? This is Xiaoou. Long time no “blog.” I was quite busy preparing for my SAT I & II and college applications. I finally survived all of these complicated things. So, today I will spend some time talking about what is necessary for your application process, or rather to say how to build your personal portfolio. I will divide this post in to several sections and publish them periodically.

First, let’s talk about tests. It is quite ironic that most of us “escape” from a country bombarding us with tests to another country which also has a ton of tests. There are a lot of funny names that we invented for making fun of the American standardized tests, many aren’t appropriate to post in this blog post. Even the ETS (not CollegeBoard) who actually makes the test cannot get away without being “praised” as “Evil Testing Serpent.” Though as it is, your test grades are an indispensable factor that accounts your possibility of being accepted by a good college, so for the prospective seniors, who have come or will come to the United States mostly as sophomore and junior, you have to use your time wisely.

In this blog post, I’ll talk about what sophomore students need to do, since I came to the U.S. as a sophomore. The first and foremost thing you need to do is to pick up a TOEFL vocabulary book, and try your best to practice for the TOEFL and get a satisfactory score before junior year. If you do not get a score required for a certain college, try anything possible to reach that expected score as close as possible before the end of the first semester of your junior year. During your preparation for TOEFL, you also need to start memorizing SAT vocabulary after completing the TOEFL vocabulary. I recommend that you complete TOEFL vocabulary in duration of one and a half semesters. Otherwise, the time will be very tight for you to finish your SAT words. If you plan accordingly, you will have another one and a half semesters, plus a summer, to finish the SAT vocabulary. Then you will find that you have sufficient time to practice for the SAT test. For juniors, the process is similar, but you have to devote much more time to study more intensively to catch up. Of course vocabulary is not the only thing that matters, there is much more you need to learn. Please check out my previous posts about how to improve your general English skills.

Of course your test score is not the only factor accounted in your personal portfolio, you need to find or even create opportunities for yourself to become comprehensive as well.

The very first step of getting started is to ask somebody at your school or at New Oasis whenever you have questions. Usually each school has its own unique student body, and its student body forms its own unique system and organizations, whose rules sometimes are very confusing, such as clubs, drama groups, and Model UN. You need to step out of your comfort zone to ask what they are and how to participate. Gradually you will find you begin to know a lot about them and when you understand the whole student system, you will be able to handle different tasks and even become leaders in the student body. So be brave and ask questions, a lot of unexpected things will happen and will add a beautiful stroke in your personal portfolio.

In the next post I will tell you guys more about how to find volunteers opportunities and how to do something special and build it into your personal portfolio.