10 Tips When Thinking about Colleges

By Shanice, age 15, South Africa

Last night, I downloaded the application form for the college I want to go to and was shocked that having a good portfolio* wasn't even mentioned on the form. They cared about extracurricular activities and other things that I had NO experience in. I did some searching and realised that all colleges were more or less looking for the same thing. So here are a few tips to ensure that you are ready when it's your turn to fill out the intimidating form.

* Editor's Note: Shanice explained that she is referring to a writing portfolio to show off her work.

1. Be a Leader. Leadership skills aren't something everyone is born with. But it is something that you can learn. Take up a position as prefect, student body or class president, or other officer. It looks good on your college application and you'll build confidence.

2. All the Independent Women. College is the one time when you can escape your parents and have a good reason for it. But living away from home requires independence ... and doing your own cooking and cleaning.

3. Cost. In today's world, everything is expensive and college is no exception. Make sure that the school you're planning on attending is affordable. You don't want to risk dishing out thousands only to find out that you're unhappy with the place you've chosen.

4. Get Involved. As I mentioned above, colleges actually care about what goes on outside the classroom. Try joining a few clubs and even a few sporting teams. Colleges like well-rounded applications.

5. Stand Out. Choose one thing (or even two small things) that make you different from the average applicant, and emphasise on that. It will show that you're unique and will add variety to the college.

6. Expand Your Interests. Art and travel are two things that I've been interested in, and two things that I've never gotten to fully experience and appreciate. Try out new stuff - this helps you to stand out, as I mentioned previously.

7. Make Friends with Your Teachers. Believe it or not, they aren't all evil, fire-breathing monsters determined to give you bad marks and fail you. Befriending your teachers helps you to know them better, get a better letter of recommendation from them, and possibly (if you do a really good job) gain a few extra marks.

8. Keep Your Marks Up. Sadly, even with all the extracurriculars and uniqueness, your marks still do matter. Keep your marks up as high as possible. It's preferable that you take AP classes, but I'm sure that is obvious.

9. Get a Job. A job implies responsibility and that you're a hard worker, and it helps you gain extra cash.

10. Do Something with Your Summer. Colleges love when you do something with your holiday, instead of just sitting around at home. Volunteer at a shelter or intern somewhere. This helps you to avoid boredom and to do something constructive.

So those are my tips for getting into the college of your dreams. And remember to apply to several colleges, so even if you don't get into the college of your dreams you'll still have somewhere to go. Good luck. Now, go fill out those application forms!

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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