applications

Hello, everyone! This has been a pretty rough year for everyone, but despite everything, the McElroy brothers and their antics have been bringing joy to us all! As a way of sharing the good feels they’ve given us, I’m putting together a fan-zine featuring full-color illustrations of the creations from their Abomination Conglomeration.

Here’s the rundown: around 24 artists will each draw an illustration of one of the Monster Factory cast. Each artist picks one of the monsters, just so we don’t end up having this turn into 23-PAMS-who-death-forgot-plus-1-Knife-Dad Zine. All the illustrations will be gathered into one zine, which will be sold digitally, and for those lovely people who chip in a little extra money as part of our preorder, physically as well! All the proceeds will then be donated to Planned Parenthood, so you get rad art while helping an awesome charity!

At the moment, we have 10 artists signed up, but have 14 spots still available! If you’re interested in contributing, please fill out the application form here VVV

 https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc8h4mn1xOeIsejTnLAutP0IHU552wgaNu94Wv85awyiAi8RQ/viewform


…and submit it to me by Sunday February 26th, 2017. After that date, applications will officially close, the sheet will be taken offline, and I will begin to sort through those who applied. It should take no more than a day or two for me to sort through, after which I will send emails out to everyone who applied, saying whether or not you got in and how to proceed!

For those who are interested in the pre-orders, after I finish setting up the artists (and their deadlines) I will be opening up a sheet for pre-orders! Here, you will be able to order digital copies in advance, or even get one of the limited run physical copies of the zine! After pre-orders close, all orders from then on will be for the digital PDF ONLY.

I look forward to hearing from you! And if you know someone who might be interested, please do not hesitate to spread the word!

applications for uk universities are coming up in a few months, so i figured i should post the tips i have collected from when i applied (since they’re all just sitting in a word document gathering dust), particularly for the personal statement! we had a talk from an admissions tutor who told us most of the stuff below + i attended 6 open days and picked up a fair few bits along the way (some stuff might be more relevant to sciences/physics)

the personal statement: what??

  • your personal statement is likely your only opportunity to try and ‘sell yourself’ to universities since most courses at most universities don’t interview
  • you send the same one to all your unis (even if you apply to different courses!)
  • 4000 characters and 47 lines limit (you’ll probably hit the line limit first - keep copying and pasting it into UCAS to check this since it’ll probably be a little different to your word processors count). the average is about 500 words

example structure

  • 80% academic, 20% extracurricular is generally a good guide
  • paragraph 1, intro: personal trigger for your interest in the subject you’re applying for! (not just ‘i’ve always been good at it/liked it’) - how your subject relates to society/current affairs if applicable and relevant (you’ll be seeing that word a lot). what aspects of the courses you’re looking forwards to (but don’t accidentally refer to something not done at all your choices) - prove that you know what you’re getting into
  • paragraph 2: what have you done to develop your interest? trips, books, wider reading - both in and out of school/college. link it to your subject! work experience, relevant volunteering. career aspirations - if you have one, put it in! it’s not set in stone just because you wrote it in a personal statement. part time job - skills gained (again, relevant ones), not just facts.
  • e.g. i worked in housekeeping part time => work under time pressure to a high standard and working effectively as part of a team
  • paragraph 3: non academic achievements e.g. duke of edinburgh - again, skills gained. if you’re doing a gap year, why/what are you doing etc - benefits?
  • paragraph 4, summary: short, just a few lines. final impression. recap - this should answer “why do you want to go to university and study your course” and “why do you deserve to be offered a place”. relevant to course - make reference to course choice/area, not generic. career aspirations are good to mention here. can keep it vague-ish for multiple courses, but course area should be clear!
  • this is just an example containing most of the stuff that should be in it - how you break it up doesn’t matter too much as long as it does have a structure (remember line breaks will influence your character/line count!)

good words/phrases

  • rewarding, improved, interested, taking part, reinforced, gained, strengthen, in addition, developed, broadening, hard work, commitment, enhanced, thrive under pressure

long list of advice

  • be concise - characters are limited and you have a lot to say
  • be honest - lying is a. unnecessary and b. will probably come out later
  • remember the person receiving this probably reads thousands, try and keep it interesting
  • organised & structured!
  • persuade the reader that you deserve a place
  • avoid generic statements - everything must be relevant. as much as they may be true, things like “i achieved good grades/always enjoyed this subject previously” are obvious fillers.
  • imagine this is your interview - as i said, you probably won’t get a real one! why do you want to study this, what makes you the right person for this course.
  • DO NOT LIST. don’t do it. expand on everything you put down, make it relevant - what your experiences are isn’t important, what you got from them is.
  • spelling and grammar. check it, check it, check it again - and this must be done by a human, spell checkers don’t notice if you use the wrong word (it’s best to go with a teacher or parent, something like that, not other students or people on the internet - be very careful about sending your personal statement to people online).
  • don’t talk about things that belong in other sections - e.g. how good your grades are (they can already see these), extenuating circumstances (should be explained by your referee in the reference). repeating yourself makes you look desperate to fill space.
  • avoid ambiguity - explain yourself! e.g. ‘i did my gold award’ - in what?!
  • authentic - don’t be pretentious
  • avoid being generic
  • ‘i’m looking forward to having an experience to remember for the rest of my life’ it lasts 3+ years; you’re going to remember it. don’t say it.
  • ‘looking forwards to independence’ - very rarely a choice when you go to uni. virtually everyone else is in the exact same situation here. don’t waste characters on things that aren’t relevant or really important.
  • ‘my family…’ they do not care about your family, they care about you. it is about you.
  • avoid cliches
  • add comments, views and explanations to your points - pretend it’s an english essay or something - making a point by itself gets you no marks
  • use your own experiences - you will have enough, don’t make it up.
  • ‘i’m quite good’ - avoid neutral or passive terms to describe yourself. be positive and show off that you do have these skills!
  • similarly don’t be uncertain - ‘i usually meet deadlines’ is pretty unconvincing
  • don’t play things down!
  • do your research - know which modules you will study in your courses so you can keep things relevant. talk about things you are particularly excited about and why.
  • what have you done outside of the a level course requirements?
  • obviously, don’t mention any of your unis by name or location (or course if they vary)
  • avoid humour: when someone makes a joke in front of a large audience, if they didn’t come to see them make jokes you will notice that maybe half laugh. you don’t know which half the person reading your personal statement will fall into. don’t do it.
  • make connections between interests and courses
  • draft and redraft and redraft until it’s perfect… and then check it over a few more times!
  • … but don’t let the people who check it over for you rewrite it! this must be your personal statement if you want to get anywhere
  • it’s run through sophisticated plagiarism/similarity software by UCAS. don’t write with a friend, don’t get one off the internet.

hopefully some of this helps someone out there, good luck!

docs.google.com
VAST Zine Application
PLEASE READ: This zine is intended for non-fandom related works. This means you can include original characters, places, ideas, etc. as long as they pertain to space, space exploration, the vastness of the void (joking, but not really), etc. However, you are more than welcome to include fanart in the samples of your work! Please answer these questions as fully as possible! After submitting, please keep an eye on your email in case we send you questions c:

Applications are open! Please follow the link above to fill out and submit C: 

HEY THERE, GREAT NEWS

First of all, I hope you’ve all watched the final of this season because it was GREAT !

Well, I haven’t really been active recently (personal reasons) so I guessed it was fair to extend the dead-line a little. 
APPLICATIONS WILL OFFICIALLY BE CLOSED ON SUNDAY 11TH AT 12 AM (UTC+1) (west europa)
So if you want to try and be in, it’s your last chance !! Go for it !!

Artists will be announced Monday 12th ! 

“College admission often isn’t fair,” Kevin explains. “One thing that irritates me is some universities give the impression that the review of your application is some exact science. It simply isn’t. There is a ton of interesting psychology behind admissions review, similar to judicial leniency in the criminal justice system. Judges are more likely to be lenient immediately after lunch and least lenient just before. It’s the same with college. The reviewer’s mood, internal biases, and all sorts of arbitrary and unknowable factors come into play. It is a human and thus imperfect process almost entirely outside of your control,” and that’s really underselling it.

A former admission’s officer at an elite Northeastern college admitted that he once failed all the applicants from the city of Buffalo, because he’d recently gotten food poisoning at a restaurant there.

That same guy also said he’d be more critical of applicants if his favorite football team had recently suffered a lost. But for what it’s worth, admissions officers like Kevin, who work at top-tier schools with nearly 50,000+ candidates, aren’t usually that petty. But with so many applicants, they can hardly give you more than five minutes of their time.

I Review Your College Applications, And Hoo Boy Do They Suck

Starting today, I am running a year long series for students who are going into post secondary education this September. I will be releasing a new post on the 5th of each month, which will be specifically targeted to the phase that a lot of students will be in at the time. This month’s topic is… 

Choosing a University! 

I know there are a lot of posts out there telling people what to include in their spreadsheets and documents. I thought I would make a post sharing what I think are the most important factors to consider, versus which ones are overrated. This is purely based on my own experiences and the experiences of my friends, so everything in it might not apply equally to everyone. (Sorry this post is going to be long as hell).

Most Important Factors

These are the things that I believe are so important that they can make or break your decision to go to a school. 

  1. Major: To me, this is the most important thing you should consider when choosing a school. If they don’t offer your prospective major, you should think really hard about going there. It may feel like you are settling for a major you don’t want before you even start, which is a shitty feeling. Also, because a lot of people change their minds about what they want to major in, it may be wise to make sure there are two or three faculties the school offers that interest you. 
  2. Financial aid: This one is definitely second on my list because it can kind of make the decision for you. If your dream school is way out of your budget and doesn’t have a good financial aid package, you may want to start looking elsewhere. 
  3. Location: Being close to family and friends is way underrated when you are going into first year. A lot of people think that because you are entering post-secondary, its time to completely grow up and leave your family and hometown behind. But this can backfire! If you are really close to your family and friends at home, love where you live, etc. location can be a big factor. 
  4. First year retention rate. This is the one statistic that I think can show a lot about a school. If a lot of people transfer out after first year, it can be a bit of a red flag.
  5. The type of people and atmosphere. This might seem not as important, but knowing the type of school that you are going to be in is crucial to understanding if you will fit in there in the future. I suggest looking into whether or not it is a party school, if it is fiercely academic and very competitive, whether it is a diverse school with international students, whether students tend to have part-time jobs. These kind of things can give you a sense of whether or not you will fit in. 

Semi-Important Things 

These are the things that I think can help you make a decision, but shouldn’t be the basis of one. Think of these as added bonuses. 

  1. Extra-curriculars. Unless you are deeply devoted to a certain sport or club and intend to pursue it throughout uni and into adulthood, the specific of extracurriculars offered probably doesn’t need to make or break your decision. As long as a school has a wide variety of clubs, teams, and other opportunities, you will likely find something to join. 
  2. Things to do in the area. Unless you are heading out into an unpopulated area, there will be things to do wherever you go. Most cities that are big enough to have a university will also have some shopping, a movie theater, a few bars, and some restaurants. A lot of students don’t have time or money in first year to be going out every single night anyways. 
  3. Where you can get a job. Like above… if it is a university town, there will be part time jobs available. Even if you can’t transfer from your current job or your dream job isn’t available in the town, you can likely find some source of income. 
  4. Prestige. A lot of people fall into the trap of looking at rankings of the best schools in the country or the world. These can be a good indicator of if a school or program is well-liked and well-funded, but they can also get into your head. If you are in love with a school and it doesn’t have a top ranking, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good school or you won’t be able to get a job. Try to take rankings with a grain of salt. 
  5. Average class size. This is one stat that is hard to deal with because typically, class sizes get smaller as you get older. First year classes will be bigger than the average listed and fourth year ones will be smaller.
  6. Quality of the dorms. I have to be real here: most dorms are shitty. Also, at a lot of schools there are two or three luxurious buildings and twice as many dumps. You only have to live there for a year! Don’t let ugly looking dorms push you away or let super fancy dorms pull you in. 

Overrated Importance

These are factors that I think should be tagged on as bonuses at the end of your decision, not factors that are included in making it. 

  1. The look of the campus. I go to a university with one of the most beautiful campuses that I have ever stepped foot on. But the truth is, it doesn’t affect how you learn or how good your life is. I don’t wake up in the morning and gaze at the historic buildings and the fall foliage. Once you have lived there for a month, the allure of a stunning campus can wear off. 
  2. Where your significant other is going. If you and your partner happen to choose the same school, that’s great! However, if you choose a school specifically because they are going there, it might end in disaster. I have friends who made this choice and their relationships ended within weeks of getting to school. You don’t want to have regrets because you made a choice based off of someone besides yourself! 
  3. The admission rate. If you meet the requirements for admission, don’t stress out about being accepted. I remember looking at my school’s admission rate of 41% and being so stressed, despite the fact that I had grades well above the requirements and extra-curriculars and awards on top of that. Don’t let it stress you! 
  4. Where your parents went. This is similar to the significant other issue listed above. Going to your parents alma mater can be amazing, but if you don’t already like the school, don’t let that be a persuading factor. 
  5. Whether or not the people on campus are attractive. I have seen so many articles saying that if you take a campus tour and don’t see any super hot people, you should reconsider. This makes no sense??? There is no way that you will go to a school and not see a single person that you find attractive. Like… no. 
  6. How good the professors are. If you read bad reviews about certain profs or really good reviews about others, don’t let that sway you. You might not even end up ever having that prof. You could get that prof and have an experience completely different than the reviews. If there is overwhelming evidence that the entire staff is horrible, maybe consider that. But when it comes to just a few profs you read about online… try to let it go. 

I know this isn’t an exhaustive list of everything there is to consider, but these were just the thoughts that came to my mind based on own experience. As always, different things work for different people. 

Helpful tips and (free) apps for mobile devices that will help you in school and homework

Since we keep our phones and other devices on us at basically all times, they’re really accessible and useful. When it comes to school, though, these devices can become rather distracting. Sometimes in order to focus, you need to leave it in a different room! But if used correctly, your phone can actually help you do schoolwork.

Here, my friend, is a post about using your phone to help you study and do schoolwork.

Just remember that everyone works differently and focuses differently, so experiment! Try out these tips. Alter them. Try doing some and not others. See what works for you!

  1. Forest (app): This is an app that helps you focus; a tree is planted, and you set a timer. At the end of that timer, the tree has finished growing. If you use any other apps, the tree will wither and die. You can set a white list of apps that you deem productive; the app will allow these apps to be used during the focus time. At the end of each day, you have a forest of trees; it may be full of green trees, or withered trees.
    1. Use the whitelist! If music helps you focus, whitelist your music app. whitelist any homework/working apps on this list you want to use during your focus time. Whitelist your calculator. Just go through the list of apps and whitelist any that you will need.
    2. Don’t whitelist things you DON’T need. Remember the purpose of the app: to stay focused on SCHOOLWORK. Don’t whitelist things that will distract you.
  2. MyHomework (app): This app is incredibly useful. You put your scheduled classes into the app (there are tons of options for the class times; block schedules, period schedules, weekly or biweekly schedules, etc), then you add assignments, tests, homework, etc. It’s basically a virtual planner. It allows you to include priority level. Then when you go to see what assignments you have, you can sort it by priority, due date, class, or assignment type. It will give you alerts too.
    1. Widgets are miracles. This app has a widget for classes and for homework. It lets you see quickly what classes you have today, and what homework is due today, on your phone’s home screen.
    2. Get it on all your devices. It’s on everything. Kindle, Chrome OS, Android, IPhone, Mac, Windows… I don’t know about linux. 
  3. Cram (app): Basically, this app lets you make sets of flashcards virtually. It’s much easier than making paper flashcards, and it comes with you everywhere, so you can practice at any time. It comes with study programs, giving you easy ways to learn the subject fast. It also has a text-to-speech feature, and you can set one side to one language and one side to another language to help you with the pronunciation of words. It is the best form of flashcards I’ve ever used. 
  4. Duolingo (app): This is an app designed to help you learn a language like you would naturally: through a kind of submersion. It gives you little phrases and makes you translate them. When a new word is introduced, it is underlined and you may click it to see it’s definition, so you aren’t completely blind here. It also makes you do pronunciation, match words with definitions, and it has a few other activities. It doesn’t really give you lessons, it gives you practice. It has tons of languages, and it’s even going to introduce Klingon soon. One cool feature is the feedback: each language has admins, and when you don’t understand a sentence, you can ask about it in the comments. Another student, or an admin, may respond to your question with an answer.
    1. Use the desktop version when possible. The desktop version gives you access to actual basic lessons, and goes a bit more in-depth. The little sessons on the mobile phone are certainly helpful, and you will learn, but the desktop version is a bit more educational and even offers flashcards… Which the mobile version does not.
    2. It isn’t perfect. It isn’t good at grading your pronunciation, and sometimes a sentence can have two meanings, but it only accepts one. Luckily, you can always flag a question with a wrong answer, so it will be corrected by an admin. It’s a nice system.
    3. Practice daily! This app records your streaks, so you can keep track of how much you’re studying. An interesting feature in this app is fluency. If you stop practicing, your fluency number goes down. It keeps track of how well you’re doing in the lessons to track your fluency growth.
    4. Redo lessons. One interesting feature in this app is the way it makes you redo the lessons. Over time, the “strength” of each lesson goes down. You need to redo lessons for the strength to go up. This is to stop you from forgetting what you’ve learned.
  5. RescueTime (app): RescueTime is an app and desktop application. It goes on all your devices and records what you’re doing. Sounds creepy, but all it’s doing is telling you what you’re doing, and giving you a score on how productive you’re being. You mark some applications as being productive, some as neutral, some as distracting, etc, then it keeps you aware of what you’re doing too much of and what you aren’t doing enough of.
    1. Get it on EVERYTHING. For a while I only had it on my desktop, but then I found I was doing productive things on my chromebook and mobile too and I wanted those to be counted. I found that it inspired me to be much more productive with my time. On the bus, instead of playing a game on my phone, why not up my productivity with Cram? Seriously, it really makes you more productive. Get it on your phone, laptop, desktop, browser, whatever. Get it everywhere. And update to Premium if you can, it gives you a more detailed report.

Here are a few more tips for your phone in general:

Organise your apps into folders. For example, here is my homepage:

See the folders? I keep them color coded. The red folders are distracting: Social Media, Entertainment, Games. The Green ones are productive! The white and yellow are neutral.

Get widgets. They’re good at giving you quick information without having to open the app.

Experiment. Remember, everyone learns and focuses differently! Use your phone to your advantage.

Also, these are the apps that I use. There are so many other good apps. I’ve heard really good things about Memrise, a free app for learning languages that focuses on vocabulary. If didn’t include it in the main list because I’ve never used it and I don’t know much about it, but if you’re learning a language you should go check it out! I know I’m going to soon.

If you have tips or apps to add, please do!