VIEWS OF A NATIONAL MERIT SEMIFINALIST
By Emily Loveridge
Blog Managing Editor
You have to love life’s twists and turns. You never know what’s going to get you. I’ve been very fortunate. I studied, paid attention in my classes, and took the PSAT every year I could. As soon as I took it my freshman year, I started to get lots of college mail. Three or four pieces a day was not unusual, in fact, almost minimal, and I got to learn about a lot of schools I had never heard of: Quincy University, Colby, MacAlester’s. I learned to recognize the seals on the return addresses, and for the most part knew which letters I wanted to open and which I didn’t.
Just months before I had figured out what I wanted to do. I had discovered that book editors, in essence, got paid to read. That was my favorite activity, and if I could get paid to do it, to simply read with a discerning eye, I would be in heaven. So, on my very first Four-Year Planning sheet I wrote “editor” as a career goal. Over the next three years I looked at all sorts of schools online; “.edu” became one of my favorites suffixes, and collegeboard.com still comes up on my browser first thing if I type a c. I knew that I wanted (know that I want) to go far away, to explore beyond this little mountain valley of a thousand or so folks. I decided that either a small city or a suburban environment would probably be my thing. I looked through college catalogs and searched collegeboard.com more times than I can count. I knew where to find all the vital statistics and spent more hours online checking out schools than I care to admit.
Sometime during the search, I discovered I could study abroad in England at Oxford. That became my new dream. Oxford. Wow. I drooled over pictures of Oxford, over stories of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, over anything I could get my hands on regarding that prestigious university. And then, I found it: Williams College. It was a typical letter and brochure, but this college has a sense of humor (their mascot is the purple cow), a long history (founded 1793), and best of all, an exchange program with Oxford. It doesn’t have a creative writing major, which would have been my preference, but 25 English majors go to Exeter College, Oxford University, their junior year, every year. It is a small, somewhat rural school with a massive theater arts department, a “fun” math department (quoting students), and excellent food; and it is far away (western Massachusetts), so it fit the majority of my criteria for a dream school.
Last summer, I went with my parents and older sister cross-country, looking at my top schools. The University of Chicago was amazing (as was the Braves’ beating the Cubs while we were there); Harvard, daunting; Hofstra, beautiful; and Brandeis, unique. But Williams simply confirmed my hopes: I would love to live there. I walked around for quite some time floating. I have already started my application for Williams, though the early one isn’t due until November, and I’ve finished my essay.
A few weeks ago, another wrinkle was thrown into the mix: I received notification that I am a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist. Apparently my PSAT scores were pretty darn good. Thanks to that lovely information, which I had to keep secret for a few weeks before all the names were released on September 15, I have been getting even more college mail. I always knew I was a good student: I am somewhat strange in that I actually enjoy aspects of school outside the social circle. I wasn’t sure if I would be that good, and I’m still not sure. I have to submit a scholarship application to see if I can become a finalist, something I will not know for sure until January.
So, my sermon of the day is: Study and take the PSAT! Due to my good scores, I am getting applications sent to me from schools, rather than my having to seek them out. Hopefully, I will also receive some extra financial aid, because schools like having National Merit Scholars in their midst. Therefore, study! I’m not special: You could do it too. End of sermon.
Now, for the really scary part: My college search is not finished. I am still most definitely planning on applying to Williams and to the University of Chicago, but I’ve discovered another school I have to add to my list, a school I have mocked, a school I never, ever thought I would be interested in for two reasons: it’s not far from home, and both of my parents are alumni. I found at ta college fair last week that CSU Chico has specific classes for editing and publishing, which is precisely what I want to do. And just when I thought I’d figured it all out…now, who knows? Will I be heading to the East Coast? Midwest? Or good old downtown Chico?
COLLEGE VISITS: TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL TRIPS
By Sarah Hlavaty
College visits can be a deciding factor in every college-bound student’s question of “which one?” Even though traveling to a brand new place with hundreds of strangers might seem nerve wracking, it can be the most important impression on junior or senior minds as they are choosing where they want to spend the next two to four years of their life. Reading a bunch of statistics and lists doesn’t compare to seeing in person the active campus life, natural beauty and intriguing people of a college. Many LHS seniors have already taken college trips in the last year, but for those who are thinking about or plan on visiting colleges, here are some helpful tips:
• Take advantage of family vacations to drive by or through a campus.
• Call the Prospective Students Office to arrange a tour and pick up free materials there.
• Make a list of questions ahead of time to ask an admissions officer.
• Arrange a meeting with an admissions officer. Keep track of the person’s name and write a thank you note.
• Visit the bookstore. Maybe you’ll spot something that grabs your interest.
• Pick up a copy of the college catalog while you visit the campus.
• Visit classes while they are in session.
• Find the writing and math centers and find out what kinds of services they offer.
• Find out if there are open house days and if instant admission services are offered on these days. A sooner reply eases the stress.
• If you have an interest in music or sports, make an appointment with representatives ahead of time for a personal interview. Prepare your resume portfolio, including a video of your performances. Coaches and music instructors are usually very busy, so make sure to set up appointments in advance.
• Visit the financial aid office to meet with an officer there. Some colleges have their own separate application process. Read the notices on the bulletin board there and get any applications available.
Also, some colleges provide overnight experiences in their dorms. Find out about these from the Prospective Students Office. Don’t be shy or afraid to ask questions– it’s the job of the people who work in this office to recruit students and be helpful.
Remember, throughout all the visiting, interviews and tours, you are the person in control of your college choice. Make a good impression on everyone you run into on your college visits and have a positive attitude. Be your own best advocate!
SENIOR COLLEGE TRIPS SET
By Molly Beaver
Loyalton seniors and Senior AVID will be going to college campuses during the month of October. Seniors will be visiting the University of Nevada, Reno, Oct. 6, while Senior AVID will travel to seven colleges Oct. 12 and 13.
Seniors will not only be touring the UNR library, but also be utilizing it as well. They will receive an orientation on how to use the library and access information to use for senior projects. Finally, seniors can take a tour of the campus and visit the student union.
The AVID class will see Butte College (Oroville), Chico State University and Sierra College (Rocklin) on the first day, and Consumnes River College in Sacramento, Sacramento City College, Sacramento State University and University of California, Davis on the second day. The five students, traveling with teacher Janet McHenry, will visit Old Sacramento for dinner the first day.
AVID students will go on a tour of each campus with the possibility of hearing a presentation on a variety of topics including how to get financial aid, how to be a good student and how to apply for college.
Visiting a college is a good experience for students, because it helps them prepare for what’s ahead with developed skills such as how to use a university library, how to access tutorial help or how to get into the college of one’s choice.