undergraduate-students

6/1/17 // moved back to uni today for the start of my second term of 1st year. I didn’t really get homesick in my first term, but leaving my house this morning after Christmas break was really emotional. It would be so easy for me to stay in my tiny ass town for the rest of my life. But I would never be satisfied with that, I want more, and to get where I want to be I had to move away. Home will always be there.

2

{Week Four} It is officially Week Four of my last Spring semester an an undergraduate student. It is so humbling. Guys, I am going to be honest with you. I’m a little stressed about a few assignments that are due this week. This weekend was amazing so I’m going to take all of those good vibes and spread them throughout the week. Please don’t hesitate to talk to me. I love hearing what you guys are up to.

So you want to be a Biochemist?

What it’s like being an upper year biochemistry undergrad (well the worst parts)

1.      Labs require work

a.      Spending 1-3 hours prepping for each lab outside of class

b.      2-6 hours doing each lab

c.      2-6 hours writing a lab report each week.

d.      This can be done for up to 4 labs per week.

e.      That’s up to 60 hours per week just doing lab work; 15 hours per lab.


2.      More work

a.      Include the 3 hours of class time each week for these courses x5 = 15 hours

b.      75 hours per week of schoolwork not including readings, studying, and assignments, final projects, presentations….


3.      Some of the study material is outrageous

a.      Memorizing Proteins EFAa, EFAb, EFAc … Similarity of names are confusing

b.      Some protein names are complex


4.      Expecting some results, but getting different results with no idea why

a.      The strange results still need to be interpreted

b.      May need to do experiment over


5.      The experiment looks good on paper and in your head

a.      But in the lab, isn’t what was expected


6.      Forgetting if you added a reagent in 32 assay vials, and having to start over from scratch.

a.      An extra 1-2 hours of lab work


7.      Manuscript-style science report formatting

a.      Hell on hell

b.      One comma out of place and you’re screwed.


8.      Researching literature in your specific niche can be daunting and difficult

a.      Sometimes very little literature on your specific organism or molecule

b.      Overly-complex scientific literature over your head which you still need to be able to explain and incorporate into your report.


9.      Bioinformatics

a.      E.g.>gi|5524211|gb|AAD44166.1| cytochrome b [Elephas maximus maximus]
LCLYTHIGRNIYYGSYLYSETWNTGIMLLLITMATAFMGYVLPWGQMSFWGATVITNLFSAIPYIGTNLVEWIWGGFSVDKATLNRFFAFHFILPFTMVALAGVHLTFLHETGSNNPLGLTSDSDKIPFHPYYTIKDFLGLLILILLLLLLALLSPDMLGDPDNHMPADPLNTPLHIKPEWYFLFAYAILRSVPNKLGGVLALFLSIVILGLMPFLHTSKHRSMMLRPLSQALFWTLTMDLLTLTWIGSQPVEYPYTIIGQMASILYFSIILAFLPIAGXIENY

b.      Enough said

10.   Handing in a half-assed report because you’ve reached your time limit for submission

a.      Guilt

11.   Learning all the protein one-letter codes and DNA codons coding for amino acids by heart happens passively by the time you graduate.

― How to write an essay as an undergraduate history student

These are general guidelines to help undergraduate students write better essays. *Note that every assignment is different. You should take the time to closely read the instructions and meet with your Professor if necessary. I hope you will find these useful and good luck writing your papers!

B E F O R E   Y  O U   S T A R T

  • Make sure that you have closely read the instructions as presented by your Professor. There are many different types of historical essays (argumentative essays, historiographical reviews and so on). It is imperative that your style is adapted to the type of essay you are required to write.
  • Gather all your information. Some Professors want students to write essays using only class material, others expect them to do more research.  If the latter, make sure to gather all (most) of your information beforehand. If you are a university student, you  have access to a library and many academic journals. Use this access and make sure to ask librarians for help when needed.
  • Take careful notes as you are reading in preparation for your essay. If your Professor provided a specific question, make sure to read critically for information that is susceptible to help you answer this question. If your Professor has not assigned a question, you should still read carefully and try to find the different ways in which historians address certain issues. 
  • Some students prefer not to plan essays, others do. I suggest planning as it may be the best way to map out your ideas and begin forming an argument. It is impossible to cover all the facets of a problem in one essay, therefore, planning your essay may be the easiest way to make sure your work covers important aspects of a given issue. Planning will also help ensure that all your arguments remain connected and support a central claim.
  • Find a few (preferably history) essays that you find well-written and pay special attention to their structure. While you should be careful never to be so inspired as to be tempted to copy (this is a very serious academic offence) the goal of this exercise is to find more academic vocabulary and see how it is used by actual scholars. 

W H E N    W R I T I N G 

  • If your Professor gave you a question to answer in advance, make sure you answer this question and this question only. While you should always supply your arguments with pertinent examples, these should be succinct and focus on the main contention debated in your essay.
  • Make sure your essay has a thesis statement (yes, even when you are asked to answer a question). Your Professor should know from the very beginning of your essay what you will be arguing and what position you will take. All subsequent paragraphs until your conclusion should serve to better make the case for your thesis.
  • Try to follow the “classical” essay model, that is: introduction, body and conclusion. 
  • Began each paragraph with a topic sentence announcing the focus of the next few lines. Conclude the paragraph by rephrasing the main idea and possibly by trying to make a connection with the next body of text.
  • Always bring evidence to support your arguments. This evidence may come from the work of other historians are from a passage of a primary document. Whatever the case may be, make sure that your arguments are solidly built and “defended”.
  • Introductions and conclusions are (usually) not optional. Your introduction should help the reader understand what the text will argue and how it will proceed to do so, while your conclusion finishes the text by summarising key points and perhaps even making a suggestion for future studies. (An additional tip may be to write a simple introduction at the beginning and then rewriting it when the essay is finished. Once you are satisfied with your introduction, you may copy and paste it as your conclusion making necessary adjustments and avoiding copying the exact sentence structure. The point here is to use your introduction as a guide to write your conclusion.)
  • Be precise, you are writing a history paper, dates and names matter. 
  • Be clear and concise but make sure that all your points are well-developed. 

G E N E R A L   T I P S 

  • Locate your argument in historiography. As a historian in training, it is important that you show your Professor that you understand there are debates regarding specific interpretations. It is also important that you demonstrate that your line of argumentation is supported by the work of experienced researchers. Even if your essay primarily focuses on primary document analysis, surely some have analysed this text or object before, make sure to mention these scholars and their contributions to the debate.
  • Citations should be used wisely. As said before, it is important to ground your argument in the work of other historians. In this sense, citations are immensely useful. That being said, depending on the length of your paper, too many citations may suggest laziness as you have made little efforts paraphrasing. A few carefully selected and well-integrated quotes in your paper should do the trick.
  • Unless prohibited (for some odd reason) by your Professor, use footnotes to give additional information. Using footnotes to engage in discussions that are important but that otherwise cannot find their place in your text will show your Professor that you had a strong command of the topic at hand. It is also the best place to suggest further readings.
College WordBank!

There are a lot of words that may seem new and weird throughout college applications, so here is a list of words that I defined in order to help you glide through the application process!

The Basics: Treat Yo Self! (and know the facts!)


1. Undergraduate: An undergraduate student is someone who is obtaining an undergraduate education or degree, such as a Bachelor’s degree.

2. Private University: A Private University is a college that is privately funded. They tend to be smaller than public universities as well.

3. Public University: A Public University is a college that is publicly funded, specifically through the national government. They tend to be larger than private universities.

4. Safety School: When applying to colleges, a safety school is a college where the stats of a typical student admitted is lower than your stats, which indicates that it may be easier for you to get in (since you have higher stats than the average).

5. Target School: A target school is a college where the stats of a typical student admitted is similar to your stats, which indicates that you are the same level as other applicants.

6. Reach School: A reach school is a college where the stats of a typical student admitted is higher than your stats, indicating that it is a more competitive college.

7. College Confidential: A website full of threads and information about college admissions. Although some of the pages found on College Confidential are helpful, there are some things found on this site that may discourage you for no apparent reason, such as “Chance Me” threads. Therefore, I advise you to steer clear of College Confidential and, by all means, do not let it get to your head!

8. “Chance Me’s”: “Chance Me” are threads found online where people write their stats and ask for others to see if they can get accepted to a specific college. I advise you NOT to trust these things, as people online do not know your chances of getting into a specific school.

9. Common App: Also known as the Common Application, the Common App is an application used for undergraduate admissions to a multitude of colleges. A majority of colleges accept the Common App, but I suggest looking in on the ones you want to apply to in order to know for sure.

10. Universal College Application: Similar to the Common App, the Universal College Application is also a site used by many people to send their college applications.

11. SAT II’s: Also known as SAT Subject Tests, the SAT II’s are exams that are taken in specific subject areas, such as Biology, Math I/II, and US History. Many colleges do not require SAT Subject Tests. However, it is important to check and see if some colleges require you to take an SAT Subject Test, or if it is optional. Although it may be optional for the college, it is still your decision if you would like to take this exam or not for admission purposes.

12. Transcript: A report of all the grades you have received in each class that you have taken during high school. Colleges require an official transcript to be sent to the admissions office.

13. Recommendation Letter: A letter that details why you are an excellent fit in said college. These letters usually come from teachers, faculty, coaches, mentors, etc. Recommendation letters should NOT be written by a family member.

14. Personal Statement: A Personal Statement is basically a college essay. Many colleges require you to write at least one, while others require more than one essay.

15. Need Blind Admissions: Need-Blind Admissions is when colleges will decide on your admissions decision without looking at your financial information. To clarify, this means that the college will decide on your admissions decision solely on your application and not on your financial information.

16. Waitlisted: Waitlisted is sort of the middle ground for colleges. When you are waitlisted, it does not mean that you are accepted or rejected. Instead, it means that you are put on a “waiting list” and, if the colleges enrollment numbers from their accepted students are lower than expected, they will accept more people from the waitlist.  

17. Deferred: Deferred is when a college pushes your application to the next filing period. This means that you have not been accepted or rejected yet. Instead, the college has pushed your application in order to review it again and make a final decision. A deferral only happens if you have applied Early Action or Early Decision.

18. Legacy (Applicant): A legacy applicant is someone who is applying to a college that a family member has went to, usually their parents.


Types of Applications (it’s “ED” as one, two, three! Get it!?)


1. ED/Early Decision: A type of application filing period where you are able to apply early, but it is binding. This means that if you are accepted to said college under Early Decision, you are required to go there upon acceptance. Usually, the application deadline is in November and admission decisions are in Mid-December. Something to note about this is that you can apply to only one school with an “Early Decision” (since it is binding), but you can apply to other schools with a different filing period, such as Early Action and Regular Decision.

2. EA/Early Action: A type of application filing period where you are able to apply early, but it is not binding. This means that you are applying earlier than the normal application period and you will NOT be required to go to said college upon acceptance. Similar to ED, Early Action’s deadline is around November, but the admissions decision’s date varies. Unlike the Early Decision, you can apply to as many Early Action’s as you want (unless Single Choice Early Action, more on that below)

3. Single Choice/Restrictive Early Action: This is a type of application filing period where you are only allowed to apply to one Early Action school. However, this means that Single Choice/Restrictive Early Action is still non-binding (not required to go upon acceptance), but you can only apply to one school under Early Action. Similar to ED, you are able to apply to colleges under other types of filing periods, such as Regular Decision.

4. RD/Regular Decision: This is the normal time when applications are due. Regular Decision is the time when most people apply to colleges. The applications are usually due in January and results typically come out in March (although, it may vary depending on the college). Regular Decisions are non-binding and you can apply to as many as you want.

5. Rolling Admissions: This is a type of application filing period when you apply to a college and the college admissions office reviews them as they receive the applications. Unlike ED/EA/RD, Rolling Admissions does not have a set date where you can go and look for your college admissions decision. Typically, the college will give you a time frame in which they will give you your admission decision, which is possibly around 2-8 weeks depending on the college. Something to note is that a lot of colleges with Rolling Admissions may not have a distinct deadline for the application, but they will have a “priority deadline” where, if you submit your application before that date, then they will get back to you sooner. Overall, the earlier you submit your application for Rolling Admissions, the quicker you will know your decision.

6. Open Admission: This is a type of application filing where colleges accept all students, as long as they have completed high school or have a GED.


Financial Aid: Dolla Dolla Bills Y'All!


1. Grant: A grant is money that you receive in your financial aid packet that you will NOT have to pay back.

2. Loan: A loan is money that you receive in your financial aid packet and, if you accept, will have to pay back.

3. Scholarships: A scholarship is money earned due to certain achievements, such as academic, athletic, etc. Similar to a grant, it is money given to you that you do not need to pay back. However, for a scholarship, it may be awarded by the college or awarded separately by applying for one.

4. FAFSA: Also known as the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid”, the FAFSA is a website that most colleges will advise you to use in order to receive financial aid from colleges. The FAFSA application will ask for information on your household’s tax forms in order to determine how much grant and loan money you may receive. The FAFSA application opens on January 1st of every year, but deadlines for completing the application varies for every college. Something to note is that you will need to apply for Financial Aid every year in order to receive aid while you are in college.

5. CSS Profile: Also known as the “College Scholarship Service Profile”, the CSS Profile is found on the College Board website where you apply in order to receive more financial aid. Many colleges require the CSS Profile (and sometimes early on), so I advise you to see if it is required.

6. Expected Family Contribution (EFC): This is a number found on your FAFSA that provides an estimate of the amount of money your family will be expected to pay for your education. To note, this estimate is the amount of money you will be expected to pay after financial aid is accounted for.

7. Institutional Grant: An institutional grant is money given by the college that you do not have to pay back. This is different compared to the federal grant, since the federal grant is provided by the government instead of the college itself.

8. Merit-Based Grants: These are grants that are made due to academic achievement.

9. Need-Based Grants: These grants are given to students due to their level of income.

10. Federal Pell Grant: This grant is money that the federal government gives you that you will NOT pay back.

11. Institutional Loans: An institutional loan is money given by the college that you have to pay back. This is different than the federal loans, since the federal loans are provided by the government instead of the college itself.

12. Direct Subsidized Loan: A loan is money that you receive in your financial aid packet and, if you accept, will have to pay back to the college. The Direct Subsidized Loan is a federal loan that pays the loan’s interest while you are in college. However, once your undergraduate education is completed, you will be required to start paying the Direct Subsidized Loan (Note: this loan allows a six month grace period before you starting paying).

13. Direct Unsubsidized Loan: A loan is money that you receive in your financial aid packet and, if you accept, will have to pay back to the college. The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is a federal loan that does not pay the loan’s interest while you are in college. This means that, as you continue through college, you are responsible for paying the loan’s interest. However, if you decide you don’t want to pay the loan’s interest while in college, then the interest will be added to the principal (or the original loan’s amount).

14. Perkins Loan: The Perkins Loan is given to students depending on their school, as some schools do not participate in the Perkins Loan. Similar to all loans, it is money borrowed now that must be paid back later. However, unlike the other loans stated here, this loan is a college issued loan instead of a federal loan, meaning that the money is paid back to the college not the government.

15. (Parent) PLUS Loan: A PLUS Loan is a loan taken out on the parents name for an undergraduate student. This means that parents with undergraduate students may use this money for college expenses. PLUS Loans are to be paid back to the federal government.

16. Work Study Program: The Work Study Program is one in which a student may hold a job on campus while earning their degree/education. You can apply for the Work Study Program through the FAFSA application. The money you earn from this job can be used on anything, from tuition to food, etc.


You’re In College! Now what… (Everything you need to know while in college)


1. Major: A specific area that an undergraduate student focuses on during college. The student must follow and complete the courses stated in their specified major in order to receive their degree.  

2. Minor: Although it is not required, some undergraduate students choose a minor in order to have a secondary focus. If you choose to minor, you do not receive another degree. Instead, minoring in something during college is solely for your own personal interest and to expand your knowledge.

3. Double Major: When you double major in something it means that you are following two specified areas. Double Majors receive two degrees for the areas in which they studied.

4. Undeclared: To be undeclared in college is to not choose a major/degree. Many people go into college undeclared, while some are even undeclared up until their second year of college. However, depending on your college, there may be a specific time or deadline to declare a major, since you will eventually be required to have one in order to obtain a degree.

5. Placement Test: A placement test is a preliminary test in order to see what level you are in specific subjects. These are normally taken when you have selected a college to attend (as an entering college freshman) and must register for classes. Also, something to note, all colleges do not have placement tests.

6. Bursar Office: The Bursar Office is the branch of the college that takes care of payments and billing statements for the student.

7. Financial Aid Office: The Financial Aid Office is the branch of the college that takes care of the financial aid aspect for the student, such as determining grant money.

8. Registrar: The Registrar Office is where they handle student records and scheduling for the college.

9. Commuting/Commuter: A commuter is a student who travels to college from where they reside. This is a longer distance than the typical five minutes off campus.

10. Transfer Student: A transfer student is someone who is changing from one college to another. Most people who change colleges decide once they know that their credits will transfer to the next college.

anonymous asked:

Is there any extensive list of undergraduate schools with the best premedical programs? If not, are there any existing statistics on average MCAT score and number of applicants matriculated by undergraduate school?

You just need to pick a major and program that adequately prepares you for the MCAT.

You should check out these articles and statistics:

And here’s a related question: What does the MCAT test on? Medical aspects or..?? -Anonymous

The MCAT is a 4 1/2 hour exam you have to take to get into medical school.

The MCAT consists of four sections:

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

The Princeton Review has pretty awesome breakdown of the test here. You should also take a look at the test prep resources on the left hand side on that link.

Here are some other good MCAT resources: