that time i, as a dumb 13 year old white kid, said “what is a [insert racial slur]” out loud because i had never heard that particular one before
the other time where the exact same thing happened again for the exact same reason
the third time that that happened, where I adopted the policy that if i had never heard of the word before, i should automatically assume that it was a racial slur and that i should look it up later at home
getting screamed at by my AP History teacher for slipping a sex joke in to one of my history essays and barely escaping suspension by blaming it on my AP lit teacher
getting told by the school paper the next day that the AP History teacher personally recommended me as a comedy writer because he laughed at my history essay
that one time where two of my classmates started having sex in the hallway outside of the drama room right next to where I was sitting playing video games and goofing off. in plain sight of me, in front of god and everybody. i packed up and left them to their business, and later one of them caught up with me and thanked me sincerely for leaving.
that one time one of my teachers came back from a two-day leave on official School Business and I jokingly asked him if he met any cute girls while he was away, to which he responded by getting VERY SUSPICIOUSLY DEFENSIVE and asking me if i was accusing him of having an affair with a student
that one time that one of the seven-foot-tall basketball players started dating a four foot tall girl and everyone just kinda agreed not to talk about it
the entire semester i spent seeing the same group of five friends every day and i never learned any of their names. by the time i realized that i didn’t know any of their names it had already been a month and it was far, FAR too late to ask.
that time when a pretty hot girl with knockers bigger than her head
asked me if i wanted a blowjob in the middle of class and I panicked and
told her “no” and she frowned, turned to the dude next to me, and asked him the same question. he said “yes” and the next day they were dating. she spent the rest of the year passive-aggressively hitting on me in front of him and asking me if I was gay because I doubled down on declining her requests for sex because I figured I had to commit to that initial denial to keep my pride intact. i was like 15 or 16. gimme a break.
i can’t think of any more at the moment. enjoy the list.
I’m not going to lie, writing my college application essay was one of the most stressful parts of the application process (aside from waiting for decision letters). So here are some tips to help you as you go through the process.
The most important first step is to make your writing as good as possible, this means choosing your english class wisely. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND taking AP Language & Compostion junior year, and AP Literature & Compostion senior year (obviously only if your school offers them/ if your schedule allows). Not only did these classes improve my writing in leaps and bounds, but it allowed me to score extremely high on the SAT reading and writing sections, get college credit for 2 classes, and in turn helped my writing in science classes for lab reports. Challenge yourself with these classes. AP Literature and Comp puts special focus on writing your CommonApp essay during first term and the teachers help you a lot and usually you peer edit which gives you a chance to look at others and see which direction they went in.
Now onto tips for when writing the essay:
Make it unique. Make your essay stand out from the first line, you won’t be bored writing it, and the admissions committee won’t be bored reading it. You can write about whatever you want, because while there are prompts they are general that anything you want to write about will fit in one category.
Don’t restate your application. All of your grades and accomplishments are already there and have been seen. Don’t restate them. They don’t want to be reading an application, they want to be reading about you as a person.
Spell/Grammar check. Check that bad boy for errors, and then show it one friend, one family member, and one teacher to read through it and check it for grammatical errors. Trust me, when you work on something for a long time you read over errors that are there. By having others check it, they can also give you feed back on the essay itself. Does it sound like you? Does it sound cliche?
Write about something you are passionate about. Passion can be felt in an essay, use that to your advantage. DOn’t write about what you think they want to hear, because they have read that thousands of times. This goes back to the uniqueness aspect.
Tell a story. The admissions committee wants to know about you. More importantly, the prompts are there to guide to make your essay about a quality you have. This doesn’t mean you state in your essay “Im a great leader, and love to learn”. It means write your essay about a time you learned a lesson, learned something about yourself, grew as a person, etc.
I chose the prompt in which you talk about a time or place in which you are most content. I wrote about how my favorite place in the world is at a hockey rink, but I didn’t stop there and say ok well i answered the prompt. I turned it into an anecdote about how my dad who played college hockey took me to my first game when I was 5, but there was a fight on the ice and I told him I would never go to a game again. I went on to talk about how I opened my mind as I got older and was able to see the grace and power of the sport and the players, and how it went from a place that scared me half to death, to a place I feel perfectly content. I was able to show personal growth, an openness to new experiences, etc. Not once did I mention anything school related, extracurricular related, or work related.
Now if theres a really important part of yourself you want to share that involves any of those feel free, but be very careful not to be stating your application.
Tips for writing a supplemental essay: These essays are usually in the range of “why this school”. This is where you personalize your application to the school, and it isn’t just an application you send to everyone.
Research. Research the school. You should have done that already since you are applying there, but you need to know about the school, the major/program that you are applying to, the city its in, etc.
Don’t just restate their website info or wikipedia. They know these facts, they work there. What you need to do is tell them what your goals are and how their school is going to help you reach them.
Talk with current students/alumni. If you can talk about how their school is unique and how that will help you reach your educational, career, and future goals thats great. But adding in a students/alumni full name and graduation year thats like extra credit. It shows you put in effort to get to know the school more, whether it was touring the campus, or getting in contact with someone with your potential major, use them. I spoke about how alumni and current students (specific names and graduation years) were so excited to talk about their school, and helped me get a better feel for the school.
This essay (depending on the topic they give you) should really be what sold you on the school. For me applying to Boston University, I spoke about how my future goal was to become a doctor. But I used that to say how the pre-med program is great, the professors I spoke to seemed happy to answer questions and passionate about their work, I can get involved in research as soon as freshman year, and how with its campus in downtown Boston, the university itself allows students to get the best education possible by connecting us to area research facilities and hospitals for volunteer work and physician shadowing. For BU and many other schools that have high academic standards, ask the admissions committee and they will tell you the supplemental essay is what will make or break your application.
So when you write your essays write them with passion and detail, because after reading thousands of applications they can tell when you are exaggerating to make your essay sound better, or lying to make them want you.
Are AP/ IB classes worth the struggle? College Admissions Advice #2
*For this post I will mostly be mentioning AP classes bc that was my experience in high school although AP and IB classes represent the same thing.
Disclaimer: I am not a college admission’s person, this was just my experience.
Ok so, the struggle with AP classes can be so real. The biggest difference between AP classes and “regular” classes is the rigor. AP classes either expect a crazy amount of dedication or give you hours of homework. Or sometimes the teacher who teaches the AP class will be so lazy that the class will be “an easy A.” In all honesty, this isn’t a rare case. Most of these classes are supposed to be taught at the college level but aren’t always.
The thing about AP classes is that they can focus so much on what might be on the AP test, (the test you might take at the end of the course) the course itself goes by so fast and you might end up drowning with all the information thrown at you. The point of AP classes (for the teachers) is to give their students as much information as they can, in hope they are prepared for the AP test.
So are AP/ IB classes worth the struggle?
Colleges look at students who take or have taken AP classes as students who went “above and beyond”. Even if you don’t pass the AP test, colleges see that you’ve taken advantage of what a public school/ private school has offered you.
The best thing you can do as a high school student who may want to be in an AP class is to find out from other students (from past years) about how the teacher teaches.
HOW A TEACHER TEACHES IS SO IMPORTANT.
We all know those teachers who literally read off of power points and bore the whole class to death while also cram 3 exams in one week. If you’re a lazy student like me, those may be the classes you want to avoid.
But then there are these amazing, inspiring teachers who actually teach their subject well and you find yourself not dreading the class. These are the classes you want.
A teacher teaching style matters, especially for an AP class so just keep that in mind.
Additionally, because AP classes boost your GPA, you may want to consider exactly how rigorous the course may be because it could affect your Cumulative GPA. Getting a C in an AP class is worse than an A in a regular class.
Ok so in my experience, Junior Year is when shit gets real. Many college bound kids will take 3-5 AP Classes, and although this is what most kids do, you need to think about yourself and whether this is wise. If you know what types of classes you're getting yourself into and you know how to manage your time with those classes and sports and etc…then go right ahead. However, know that the month of May is HELL for AP students because of
All the AP Test you have to take
SAT/ ACT testing are scheduled around this time
Senior Activities (if you’re a Senior)
So just know yourself and know what you can handle. If you have a passion for a certain subject, I’d recommend taking that course because you might find the class easier and you might actually like what you’re learning. But if you know you aren’t great at math, then don’t take an AP Calc class. (etc)
As long as you do your research on teachers, the class, and know that you can manage your time, then do you.
As far as College Admissions goes, failing an AP class isn’t the best thing to have on your transcript. It is important to mention that they don’t mind if your transcript shows improvement over time. I took an AP class my freshman year and got a D the 1st Sem and a C the 2nd Sem, but I still continued to take AP classes. Just showing that you took advantage of the classes that were offered shows that you’re likely to flourish in a college environment. More competitive colleges will acknowledge more competitive students but there are other ways to make yourself look competitive.
My best classes have been AP classes because I liked the subjects I was taught and I would recommend taking AP classes if you can. But if AP classes are not for you, but college is, then look for loop holes. Trust me, you’ll find them.
Bonjour! I'm taking AP French and I wanted to ask if there's any good recommendations for AP French books?
Thank you so much for asking! This year in my class, we used two books to do the majority of our revision!
Schaum’s Outline of French Grammar - the lower French department in our school is notorious for its poor grammar, so our teacher wanted us to review basic structures and different clauses, etc. before the exam so that our writing would be more coherent! The best part about this is that it’s got the answers in the back so you can check, and the book is quite old so you can purchase it really cheaply online!
AP French by Richard Ladd - This book was what saved me on the exam, honestly. It’s divided into sections, just like the exam, and contains a variety of reading selections, audio recordings, and prompts for writing! The online parallel is a bit glitchy, but it’s a relatively new textbook! Most of the book was made of critical reading and listening practice (and I found that really helpful because that’s the longest and most tedious part of the exam, so you have to practice a lot!). And the best part is that they included about twenty or so example writing prompts based on the six themes of the AP course and on my exam, I got a prompt that was almost identical to one that I’d already practiced!
AP French Barron’s Book - Okay, so we didn’t use this in class but I used it to study in the last few weeks leading up to the exam. It was good for reviewing everything that you have to remember and basically to give an outline of the whole exam! I know one of my friends used it a lot and she said it helped her!
Other than that, I didn’t really use many books! I did, however, find a huge list of websites that helped with everyday comprehension, so I’ll post that as another part of the summer prep section!
Hello! Your blog is fantastic and I just was wondering about some things if u have time to answer. Are you an artist yourself? And do you have any advice on preparation/coursework/etc for pre-university students who would like to study art history? Or what college you went to and/or some you think are best for art history?
Hi! I’m not an artist myself. I’ve tried my hand at creating art and took courses, but it’s not something I’ve ever been able to accomplish.
If you’re still in high school, I highly recommend taking AP Art History if it is available at your school. However, there are also ways you can study art history independently. Smarthistory and the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History are both phenomenal resources for independent learning; these are just two of many free, online options. There are also plenty of books that could be useful to familiarize yourself with before you actually start your art history studies at the college level (scroll down to “Introductions to Art History”). You might also find my booklet, What to Expect from your First Art History Course, useful for learning what studying art history will be like in college. Finally, if you think your parents might freak out when you tell them you want to major in art history, you may want to read my post “Help! My parents don’t want me to major in art history.”
I went to UCLA for undergrad. It had been my dream school since I was a child, and it exceeded every expectation I had for both academics and social life. That being said, I’m not trying to biased when I tell you that UCLA, UC Berkeley, UCSB, and UCR also have some of the best art history programs in California because their departments have excellent faculty. Other colleges you might want to consider are, in no order: Vassar College, Brown, Princeton, University of Delaware, University of Michigan, UT Austin, University of Maryland - College Park, University of Minnesota, Columbia, UPenn,Yale, or Harvard. Also, as a Bruin, I begrudgingly suggest considering USC. Each of the art history programs at these colleges has something different to offer, and if you let them (i.e., be a good student), they will mold you so that you enter the world as a highly knowledgeable and sharp art historian.
My little list of schools is quite limited generally and geographically, so please do some more research to find colleges that suit your specific needs, goals, lifestyle, and budget. I realize that some of the names on my list might seem expensive or impossible to get in to, but they are listed because their art history programs, and the academic resources they offer, are truly fantastic.
Some things to look for in a college and an undergraduate art history program as you do research are: what the faculty teach & research, the program’s course requirements (you want a program that will have you study a wide variety of art & time periods, including a language requirement, and ideally offers a methods course), academic resources (libraries on campus, museums nearby, special collections nearby, a writing center etc.), a college that has a career center, and, perhaps most importantly, the cost of your education overall. And of course, look into what the college’s social scene is like and what extracurricular opportunities are available to you that will suit your hobbies and interests.
I also encourage you to consider going abroad (or at least studying abroad at some point); St. Andrews, Trinity College, and Oxford come to mind, though I am not extremely familiar with their degree offerings or requirements.
Late in November, I got an email out of the blue that was completely unexpected. AltPress (y'know, that magazine I read actively back in the day) wanted me to shoot a spread for their AP Recommends column. On top of that, they wanted me to photograph a band that I actively enjoy, Aviator. Pretty cool. I had been in AP before, but not like this. I was stoked (and nervous as FUCK [please excuse my language, I try to use more articulate words in serious posts, but that really sums my feelings up]). Anyway, I did the shoot, it turned out well, and here we are. Couldn’t find the issue to scan today, so thank you to meridional for the photo.