Here are some of the very best apps for students; either in highschool or in college. I have used many of the following apps, but not all of them. Some, I have just asked friends about and they suggested those ones.
Please enjoy the apps below, tell me how you like them, and feel free to add onto this list :)
Yes, even if you’re taking the maximum credit load. Because if I can do it, you can do it too. Note: My credit load also included a handful of honors courses.
Side-note: I’m going to be a junior (how??) and an RA (!!!) in the fall. Life moves fast. College moves faster. Anyways,
Here are my top tips:
1. LOOK AT THE SYLLABUS AND WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. This is step number one, and it’s not up for debate. If you do this, there’ll be no surprises, and if there are: point it out to the professor (a simple, ??? this wasn’t on the syllabus ??, usually works). Also, you have to check and see what constitutes as an A in that class. Sometimes it’s a 90, sometimes it’s not. (a 96 was an A- in one of my classes last semester. I’m so serious.)
2. Get a calendar. Not a planner. One of those giant calendars with puppies or something on it and write down everything you have to do for the month. Put it above your desk. This helps A LOT because you can see everything you have coming up for the next few weeks, instead of jus playing it day-by-day.
3. It is OK to use ratemyprofessor. Sometimes it can be really helpful, but pay attention to the more in depth reviews that talk about what the homework, tests, quizzes and projects are like (instead of “her lectures are boring :///)
4. Sit in the front of your class. You’ll be more likely to pay attention and less likely to scroll through instagram. (by the way, mine is @parissdb :) It also grabs your professors attention, so even if you’re shy, they’ll at least know your face.
5. Do that extra credit. A lot of professors offer it in the beginning of the semester, and hardly anyone does it because no one’s thinking past tomorrow. It may be what saves you in the long run.
6. Figure out your best method of note-taking. For me, it’s good ol pen and paper. It helps me remember everything. Some people prefer typing it out. This is beneficial bc it makes it easier for you to find exactly what you’re looking for. (Thank you, command + F)
7. Put your effort into the percentages. If an assignment is worth 1% of your grade, do it well, but don’t exhaust yourself. It’s 1%!!!! If it comes down to it, spend more time studying for that exam that’s worth 30% than the group project worth 20.
8. Please. Stop studying what you already know. We’re all guilty of it. It makes you feel better knowing you have chapters 1-3 down, even if you don’t know 4-7. The key to studying is to learn what you don’t know.
9. Learn how to study. (Yes, it’s actually a skill that has to be learned.) I’m the biggest procrastinator I know, especially when it comes to studying. But I’ve found that studying 2 days before an exam usually does the trick for me. I create a master study guide during day 1 and study it all on day 2. Depending on what time the exam is, I may review on the morning of day 3.
10. SAVE SOME TIME FOR FUN ffs. Seriously. You don’t have to study 24/7, and I don’t know about y’all but my attention span was not built for that.
I might add more to this later, or make another post because I could give these tips for ever and ever. But hopefully this helps someone out there.
College applications can be seriously stressful and overwhelming. After going through the process a few months ago and getting into both schools I applied to, I thought I’d share a few tips and a general timeline to shoot for!
as soon as possible
Begin making a list of colleges you’re interested in and researching them.
Start thinking about what extracurriculars you want to list; drop the ones you don’t care about to give you more time for the ones you enjoy most.
Think about the teachers that know you the best and ask if they would be willing to write a letter of recommendation.
six months before applications are due
Narrow down your list to your top choices only.
There’s no point in wasting money applying to colleges you don’t want to go to!
Look at the Common App essay prompts and start brainstorming topics.
as soon as applications open
Fill out the easy parts of the application – your name, address, etc.
Make a list of any fields that you will need help filling out (like if you’re not sure what your advisor’s phone number is).
Start rough drafts of your essays, even if you aren’t sure of the topics.
three months before applications are due
Nail down essay topics and begin serious revisions.
Ask people if they would be willing to proofread your essays.
Visit campuses if possible, or speak to an admissions counselor to better tailor your applications to each school.
one month before the due date
Send essays to the people that have agreed to go over them.
Finish up the questions portion of the application.
Enter in actives and have someone proof them.
Begin final edits of essays.
Contact the teachers that are writing your letters and add them as recommenders on Common App (if that’s what you’re applying through).
one week before the due date
Finalize your essays.
Have a parent review your application make sure all the information is accurate.
Make sure all test scores, transcripts, and any other supplemental materials are in order and will be sent on time.
Submit your applications as soon as possible so you’re not stressing about getting it in on time!
a few things to keep in mind
There’s no right number of schools to apply to.
I applied to two, my sister applied to one, and I have friends that applied to ten. Do your research and narrow it down as much as possible to save time and money, but above all make sure that you’re happy with the schools you choose.
Schools want to see applicants that are unique and passionate about something. It’s not so much about finding a student that’s done a million different things and is a member of every club, but finding one that shows dedication and individuality through their application.
They can tell the difference between an essay written by a high school senior or college transfer and an adult pretending to be one – don’t ever ever ever hire someone out to write yours for you.
Be creative with extracurriculars if you think you don’t have enough! Everything from babysitting your siblings to coding themes counts.
Seriously never underestimate the importance of having other people proofread. You’ve been looking at your essays for so long that you would never catch that one bit of an old sentence sandwiched in between a new one, but someone else will.
I completed 24 college applications, submitted 17 (to Princeton, Cornell, Vanderbilt, Rice, Amherst, Georgetown, Emory, UCLA, UC Berkeley, University of Michigan, UNC-Chapel Hill, UVA, University of Pittsburgh, Williams, Washington University in St. Louis, Harvard and Yale) and received admission to all except the last four.
N.B. Some of this info may be dated/inaccurate and 100% of it is tinged w/ my own bias.
Things To Think About
Why do you want to apply to so many colleges?
If it’s hubris (i.e. “I want to collect admissions offers like trophies”) or fear (i.e. “If I submit more applications, I’m less likely to be shut out from every school I apply to"), stop and reevaluate. I applied to Vanderbilt even though I knew I’d never want to head south. The reason? It traditionally takes a lot of kids from my HS. Yeah, don’t be like me.
Do you really want to spend all that money?
I ended up wasting $2500 (and that’s a conservative estimate) on 17 schools. I’ll only be attending one college in the fall.
That said…it can be done.
The “Why Us” essay isn’t asking “why would you choose our college?” so much as “why should our college choose you?” Emphasize how you’ll contribute to the college—inside the classroom and out—by referencing specific programs, classes, and extracurriculars.
Creating a template is a major time-saver. Once you have an effective “skeleton,” all you have to do is insert school-specific details.
Create a spreadsheet. These were my columns: College Name, Application Type, Application & Aid Deadline, Standardized Test Report, Transcript & SS Form, Recommendation Letter Deadline, Creative Writing Supplement (Y/N), Interview (Y/N), Merit Scholarship (Y/N), CSS Profile, FAFSA, Sticker Price, Response Date.
If you use Google Drive, create a folder for each college.
Consider making a CV/resume. Keep it short (~1 page). Possible uses: upload as a part of your application; hand it to alumni interviewer.
Don’t apply to Georgetown unless you really really like it. There’s a separate application (not Common App) that’s cumbersome to fill out, and you can’t access it until you pay the application fee (which also happens to be p expensive)
Optional essays are NEVER optional. Hopefully, this is obvious.
The more selective publics (UC Berkeley, UCLA, UVA, UNC, UMich) are more holistic than you think. They reject high stats kids on the reg (anecdote: a dude from my school who got into Caltech didn’t get into Berkeley; another who got into Cornell didn’t get into UMich) so PAY ATTENTION to the essays.
Alumni interviews don’t matter AT ALL unless you make a terrible impression—or possibly if you’re a borderline applicant.
N.B. Applying to colleges based on the perceived difficulty of the application isn’t the greatest idea. That said, for your reference:
Easy College Applications
Very easy. Only a 100-word extracurricular essay, I believe. Unless you want to fill out a scholarship application.
Washington University in St. Louis
Also very easy. No supplement unless you fill out scholarship app.
Zero work if you have a graded school essay you’re proud of (can upload in lieu of a college supplement)
I think there’s just one supplement and you can write about whatever you want.
Just one “Why Us” essay
University of Pennsylvania
One “Why Us” Essay, unless you’re applying to Engineering or a special program like Wharton, M&T, etc.
Moderate College Applications
Three supplements, I think. All fairly straightforward. There’s a diversity essay that’s optional (refer to the Miscellaneous section)
A lot of short, lighthearted questions (favorite keepsake, favorite movie, etc.) and an essay (they give you three prompts to choose between)
Three fairly straightforward, 150-word essays. There’s a letter to your roommate, an intellectual interest essay, and something else.
Easy, short supplements, but there are three of them.
All the UCs
There’s one UC application for all the UC schools (Berkeley, LA, Irvine, etc.) so same essays and everything, but you have to pay an application fee for each school you apply to. There are a lot of questions (called Personal Insight Questions) so it’s not quick, but once you’re done you’ve covered multiple schools. Also, if you are applying, ask your counselor about the UC GPA.
Three short essays, one of which is “Why Major.” Another is an extracurricular essay. Don’t remember the third.
I don’t really remember the supplements, but they weren’t that bad.
Difficult/Thought-Provoking College Applications
This is hard because there are a ton of questions with 35, 100, and 150- word limits. “Why Yale” essay. Hard to come up with insightful answers/make an impression with so little space.
I personally wasn’t a fan of the cutesy/philosophical prompts, and the essays that I wrote (but ultimately never submitted) reflected my utter lack of interest. If you enjoy them, UChicago may just be the school for you :P
Only three short i.e. 150 word essays, but one of them referenced Sesame Street. Something along the lines of ‘It’s not easy being green. Discuss.” There was another one on describing a time when you said YES to something. Anyway, I disliked them and never completed my application.
I think there are three short essays, but they require a decent amount of thought. Although UVA is a public school, craft your essays well. The admission officers care a lot about them.
There’s only one short supplement, but it’s a real pain. Hard not to veer into cliche territory.
Tedious College Applications
So many (five?) supplements. Some are generic though. “Why Columbia,” a list of books you’ve read/media you’ve consumed.
Also a lot of supplements. “Why Rice,” “Why Major,” Diversity essay, the famous box (where you can upload any image you want).
As a lot of you know, I’ve just graduated from my local community college. Attending there was no-doubt the best option for me, especially since it allowed me to get almost two years of college done before I graduated high school. Despite the reputation it often gets, I’m a huge fan of community colleges.
advantages of community college
First of all, it’s much more affordable that traditional four-year schools
But you still get a high-quality education!
Quite a few of my teacher graduated from Ivy League schools, and all of them were really knowledgeable in their fields.
Smaller class sizes = you get to know your teachers
You can live at home and stay close to friends, family, and the job you already have (plus no moving or cramped dorms!)
You’re taking the same classes you would be at a university for way less, since the first two years are all general ed requirements wherever you go
what to know before you go
It’s not going to be a breeze. The classes will be just as hard (if not harder in some cases) as their university counterparts. You’re getting a serious education, so you’ll have to put in serious work.
It may be a little tougher to make friends, since unlike universities everyone goes home at the end of the day. That being said, it’s totally possible! You just have to be intentional and reach out to people in your classes
It’s not full of slackers, like the stereotype says. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite. Most of my classmates were paying their own way through school, meaning that they actually wanted to be there and learn as much as they could. I met some of the most dedicated and hardworking people in my classes at cc.
Know your long-term plan as soon as possible. If you’ll be transferring after, it’s good to know if the classes you’re taking will transfer to where you’ll be going.
Related: meet with your advisor often. Even though it wasn’t required, I went in to see my advisor before every semester, just to make sure that I was still on track and that all the classes I was taking were beneficial.
Get to know your teachers. I’ve found that cc teachers genuinely care for their students, so it’s super beneficial to get to know them in case you need help in that class or even in the future. I’ve had past teachers help me out with projects for other classes and write reference letters.
Don’t just go to class and go home! Get involved in any way that you can, even if that just means studying in the library instead of your living room. You’ll get so much more out of your time there if you actually invest your time there – get to know people around campus!
Take advantage of any resources they have! At my school there were career counselors, free tutors, loads of books/movies available at the library, an open gym, and a ton more. Not to mention all the discounts you can get with your student ID!
Join clubs, if they’re available. They’ll look good on future applications and you’ll make great friends!
Look for other opportunities on campus – I participated in several art shows and wrote for the literature and arts journal, and they were both really great experiences for me. Find things to be a part of, and you may be surprised to find a new interest!
Overall, community college is a really great option for a lot of people for a lot of reasons. Don’t let people tell you that you’re not just as smart and determined as university students if that’s where you decide to go! Go forth and totally kill it, my future community college students.
mention a department you really like, a professor you really like, a lab you really like, a program you really like
sometimes aspects of the school like an extensive research program, an internship program, an interesting major, a school philosophy will stand out (for instance, one school i applied to prided itself on balancing the humanities with STEM, which was a big focus in my essay)
talk about your experience when you visited or how you heard about the school and all the good things
any articles you read on it will help, basically just research a lot, talk about your interview (if applicable), talk about their programs and unique points
it wouldn’t be a bad idea to talk about your interests (briefly) and why that school is uniquely good for you
the “what do you want to study” essay
again, mention a field, or if undecided, then talk about diverse interests
if you have a specific field, talk about your experiences (like for engineering, i talked about robotics and my internship and how that shaped my career path)
overcoming challenges, discovering new interests, creating connections with others, and becoming a leader are all good things to mention here if possible
if you don’t know what to study, thats totally ok, but talk about your different interests, maybe how you plan to proceed with finding a specific course of study, or talk about a program you’re interested in at the school
the “challenge” essay
this essay is a challenge
you really gotta come up with something pretty good or at least try to; try to find something that involves being a leader and taking action/responsibility or maybe going out of your comfort zone.
tell it like a story!! talk about the problem then how you resolved it (ideally it should be a challenge you resolved?? it could also be one that went unresolved but you have to be v careful in that case)
tl;dr show off your good aspects like leadership, keeping calm, trustworthiness, etc etc etc
the “talk about something you haven’t talked about essay
i usually used this one for any topic i wanted to talk about but didnt get the chance to
basically waht i mean is i had three main topics i wanted to hit in every application: my internship, my sport, my music. If i didn’t get a chance to talk about one through an essay, I’d use my talk about whatever essay to talk about it.
why is this double spaced
don’t waste this!!! this is a pretty good spot to show how you’re unique and tell a very “you” story to distinguish yourself from all the other applicants.
but also you can def use like another essay you wrote for another prompt for another school here if you find it appropriate -always make sure to reuse topics and ideas when possible~~
anyways if you guys have any questions about essays or in general, hmu–im p stressed about my own essay anyways :/
The Evolution of a Common App Essay: Tips and Excerpts
Do’s and Don’ts:
Do choose a topic that you feel strongly about even if people say it’s cliche. A “unique” essay isn’t effective if it comes across as outlandish, unfocused, or worse—contrived; it’s the way you approach a subject that matters, not the subject itself.
Do aim for sincerity over memorability.
Don’t address risky (sensitive) subjects like mental illness or drug use. There’s a fine line between vulnerability and TMI; what strikes a chord with one reader might offend another. Think about how you can communicate similar ideas using different anecdotes. See below.
The Evolution of an Essay
I went through seven drafts from start to finish; this is a shortened (and slightly exaggerated) version of my thought process.
What’s the most integral part of your identity?
My struggle with it has probably shaped me more than anything.
Okay, too risky. What’s an event you keep revisiting in your mind?
That time when I got caught in a riptide.
Why is it significant? Jot down a few key words/ideas.
Helplessness. Fear. Saving myself. Writing. This became:
Surrounded by yet estranged from humanity, so close to shore yet so far away, I began to despair. The sharp pulse of my fear ebbed into resignation; my kicking and flailing slowed. But almost as soon as I stopped struggling, it dawned on me: all I had to do was tread. From this experience arose my poem “Fujian.” This piece is a memorial of the boundless joy I had felt upon reaching land, an elegy for the arrogant girl who had thought that she was greater than the sea. But it is also a lesson for days to come. Don’t waste energy fighting life’s many storms. Weather them out.
I went through several drafts and changed the topic several times, but noticed a recurring focus on the third idea—overcoming a seemingly insurmountable obstacle by ceasing to struggle. In my first draft, I was only able to swim back to shore after I stopped resisting the tide; in my final draft, I was only able to speak up after setting aside my fear of ridicule:
I think about how I’ve exchanged no more than a few words with my grandfather during the entire trip, fearing that he would rue the foreign lilt of my Mandarin. But silence is too high a price to pay. My aloofness has shielded me not from hurt but from connection; it is the weakest defense, mere child’s armor in a grown-up world. And so I clear my throat, my Mandarin an old tune whose lyrics I am only just recalling, and begin to speak.
Top 4 Life Changing Apps You Need as a College Student (With Demos)
Hey everyone! I was just using each of these apps today to study for my midterms, and I figured I’d share the wealth. I got each of these apps from the Apple App Store, and use them seamlessly across my Apple devices. I hope each of them change your midterm weeks for the better! (This is post is kind of long but I made it long to cover what I think are the coolest/most useful things about these apps)
App #1: Notability
Yah, yah. You’ve heard of this one before. I’m here to show you some reasons for that.
1. Annotating and Combining All of the Powerpoints and PDF’s of Your Wildest Dreams
Holy crap is this thing good at converting powerpoints and PDFs. The transition is undetectable. Furthermore, if your lecture material was split up into 2 powerpoints that your professor posted, or multiple topics are covered in one powerpoint that you want to separate, you can either combine them into one note, or only import selected slides into separate notes. Once you do that, you can draw, highlight, add photos and additional typed text…pretty much anything extra you’d need is at your fingertips.
Demo: Importing PDFS:
Here I’m taking a random web page PDF from organicchem.org about chair conformers, tapping once on it, and copying it to the notability app.
You literally just tap a couple times and it’s done for you. You can add the PDF to a new note, an old note, or even take specific pages of the PDF/powerpoint and place only the ones you want into a new or existing note. It’s almost too easy to be true.
2. You Can Actually Write Neatly
If you’re anything like me, it bothers you how your handwriting suddenly looks messy when you write on tablets. Well, notability handles that for you.
Demo: Writing and Editing Written Text:
Here I’m writing a huge note of what I want to remember with the pencil tool. I picked a red color from the huge color selection, and a rather thin pencil line because it’s only a small side-note. Of course you can customize your writing to fit what is easiest for you to read and study from. What happens in the second and third pictures is the cool part:
You can use the scissors tool to put a circle around what you just wrote, and then pinch and rotate the text to change its size and orientation, as well as drag your finger to move it to where you want your note to go. This way you can write super neatly and just do the moving around afterwords, making sure you can see your text and are comfortable with the way it appears. You can also re-select it to make it bigger again if you change your mind.
3. You Can Record and Embed Your Lectures Into Your Notes, While You’re Writing Original Notes OR Annotating Existing Ones
You can do them at the same time. You don’t have to think about inserting a recording after the fact, or mixing up small recordings and meshing them into one document. Notability sorts your audio recordings and fixes them up pretty for you, and just starts recording as soon as you hit the speaker button. Then you can keep annotating what Dr. So-and-So is saying without worrying about your recording being in the right place.
Demo: Recording While Note-Taking:
After you’ve recorded, you can click the speaker button again to edit the recording’s volume, sort multiple recordings you’ve taken as well as name them. Move the recordings from note to note, etc.
App #2: Flashcard Hero
Known colloquially as: “How I’m Passing My Anatomy Lab”
Listen here y’all if you wanna make flashcards fast as fuck and learn them the day of your practical, Flashcard Hero is how.
General Overview of Best Features:
The way I predominantly use this app is by furiously making and organizing my flashcards into millions of sections and subsections on my computer, so that everything is findable and easy to access within my flashcard deck. Then I move them via iCloud over to my phone and tablet to study them on the go.
You can put pictures, videos, PDF pages, anything on the front or back of your flashcard, and just as much as you want on the back as well. When you study, you can choose if you want the front or back to show up first, or an alternation of the two if you prefer. There is no length limit on what you can place on a particular card.
While you’re studying, the app gives you options of clicking “Easy, Unsure, or Hard” on the card you’re reviewing, so that it will pop up with the ones you’re unsure/really clueless about more often. This saves my actual ass I can’t recommend it enough. It has improved my ability to memorize tons of material far more quickly and efficiently.
Demo: The General Interface of Flashcard Hero:
You can see some of the features I’ve talked about. If you want to know even more of the features, try downloading the app and checking out the “Tutorial” deck it includes on the main menu!
App #3: LiquidText
This is another insanely useful method of PDF annotation. It is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and is really good for people who enjoy mind-mapping and comprehensively organizing their ideas while reading!
Best Feature: Organizing Important Bits of Text:
Okay prepare to be very happy about this. You can literally highlight a section of a PDF, drag it to the side of your screen, and poof. Your highlighted bit is saved for you to click on and easily access later. You can even link your highlighted bits, no matter how far apart they are within the document, to help connect and organize your thoughts. And wait until you see Highlightview, where you can pinch the document so that all of your highlighted portions come together labelled with page numbers. Too satisfying okay, too satisfying:
If you’re reading something really quickly before class, and you want to easily access interesting portions of a long text during a class discussion, this app will save your life and save you pain in the long run.
App #4: MyScript Calculator
Just watch the demo of this one and prepare to take a huge sigh of relief and awe and happiness. It actually works and doesn’t confuse what you’re writing, and will do difficult/complex computation. By changing around the settings to fit the discipline of math you’re doing, this app can save you some annoying typing into calculators and can help you visualize large calculations at a glance.
Best Features: Blowing my tiny, bad at fast-math mind
Demo: General Interface of MyScript Calculator
Just. Yes. Yes good.
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed this/found at least one of these useful! Merry midterms!