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8 months ago
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Help me figure this out please

I am in my junior year and I have no idea what I want to study or where I want to go to school I also have no idea what to write for my college essay please help

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8 months ago[edited]

First off: take a deep breath, everything will be fine. Second: consider your interests! What classes do you enjoy? Are you in any clubs? What are your hobbies? What are you good at? Now that you've thought about that, think about what you'd be comfortable studying. What you study in college doesn't define what you do for the rest of your life just for the next couple of years or so, and what you study can change depending on how the process goes for you!

After thinking about all that you should have at least a small idea of what you'd be interest in studying. If you don't know the common majors, look up "types of college majors" on google. The first result should be the ACT website with a list of majors and career choices.

After having some majors in mind, it would help you to research which schools offer those majors and the schools that offer the best programs for those majors.

As for your college essay, it would probably be easier if you know your prompts. Some schools have different prompts than the Common Application does.

Hope this helped! :)

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8 months ago

Hey there! Regarding college essays, here's what I suggest (steps I used are at the bottom of the response, sorry this is really long lol):

General Tips:

- One brainstorming technique you can start over the next few weeks is to write down your entire life story. EVERYTHING you can remember about yourself, things you used to do with your family as a kid, hobbies you do now, big life changes and the pivotal moments relating to them, parts of your identity, important objects and where you got them from, etc. It will probably take up a lot of space, but it's a great for unearthing specific moments and themes in your life you may not have seen before. You can also use this massive document to get ideas for any supplemental essay you may come across.

- With brainstorming, QUANTITY OVER QUALITY. In the end you'll want to choose the best topic, but when brainstorming even put the worst ideas down on paper. It could inspire another, better idea, but even if it doesn't it's better to have a bad idea on paper rather than bouncing around in your head. I used this website, which deletes your progress if you stop typing for more than 5 seconds ( https://www.squibler.io/dangerous-writing-prompt-app/ ). Only use it for brainstorming, though, you don't want to lose an entire college essay!

- With essays, the more specific the better. You want to be writing a story that's memorable and something the admissions counselors have never seen before. Try to write about a specific moment/memory that NOBODY else could've written about. Look up some videos about what college essays are used all the time (look up thekathpath on youtube), and be sure to avoid those.

- If you're having trouble writing essays, find a really well-written book. Something that's narratively interesting but also great in terms of diction and flow (I like realistic contemporary literature for this). Whenever you get stuck writing, take some time off to read the book. When I did this, I got "in the zone" by reading the book, shifted quickly to writing an essay, and accidentally maintained that flow which made the writing process easier. Try it and let me know what you think!

Steps I used:

1) When the prompts come out, copy and paste each one into a different document and organize all those docs into a folder (I used Evernote for this bc it was easy to switch between documents).

2) Do some general brainstorming. I used https://www.squibler.io/dangerous-writing-prompt-app/ so that I was forced to put down even my crappiest ideas and generate at least 3-5 minutes of possible responses for each prompt (just bullet points, but try to make them all EVENTS, eg. "convo with track captain" instead of vague topics like "learning that failure is ok"). Then copy and paste the bullet points into the document for that prompt. Read through them and bold or underline the ones that you have a gut feeling about without thinking too much. Then put them in a table with a row for each bullet point and 2 columns total (left side is for the bullet point idea, right side is for the elaborations you'll do in step 3).

3) Reread the prompt. Then go back to the squibler.io link and write for 3 minutes about each bullet point (you can do two bullet points in the 3 minutes if you want). Copy and paste into the table, and repeat until you've done it for every bullet point. Now it's time to weed out ideas! Go through the table and bold/underline any ideas you had a lot to say about. Delete any you didn't have a lot to say about. Try to get yourself down to a few bullet points (maybe 2-3, or 3-5 for very short answer prompts).

4) This is the fun part: freewriting! Go back to your squibler.io link (or you can do it directly in the document), and write everything you can think of about the topic you chose. This should be reminiscent of that "life story" document you made. Don't worry about sounding professional or deep or even well-organized yet, just write down whatever comes to mind about the topic. Make connections to events in your life, talk about how this topic affects who you are now, anything you want. This should be in paragraph form, but feel free to use language as informal as you want right now (I had a lot of "so yeah" in mine lol). However, I did find that my paragraphs got more formal/coherent as time went on. For this step I set the timer at 5 minutes but I usually kept writing past that because I had thought of new things to write. When you've written all you want to write, copy and paste it into the document and move on to the other bullet points. Again, if you have very little to say about any of the bullet points, then you can eliminate that from the running. However, try to write about all 2-3 of them because (a) you might end up liking one more than you thought, (b) you may be able to transfer your freewriting to a different prompt, and (c) it's nice to see that you've written a lot because then you feel productive lol. FROM STEP 4 ONWARDS, DO NOT DELETE ANYTHING YOU WRITE. Just change the font color to gray so you can easily tell what you're currently working on.

5) After you've done all your freewriting, pat yourself on the back. Look at all that beautiful work you've done! It exists! Yay! Now choose a freewritten response to focus on (ideally whichever one you had the most fun writing), read it again, and mentally note which parts of the response you really like. Then, write it again from memory. Think of it like writing a response for English class or a summary of an article: go over the highlights. rephrase things, keep your thoughts organized, try to sound relatively professional, and make connections. The great part about this is there's no risk of plagiarism! Feel free to write some sentences exactly as you remember them, because they're your words to begin with!

6) Do step 5 again until you're down to the correct word count and your essay sounds more like an essay than freewriting. If you have any creative ideas that aren't summaries of the original freewriting but still match the topic, go for it! Experiment! I changed one of my essays from a gigantic step-by-step of my language learning process to a 300 word mini-essay that started and ended with a foreign language pun, just because the idea struck me when I was freewriting. I also changed one "why major?" essay from a classically written reflection of impactful events by adding in italicized bits of creative writing that imagined me in the future and showcased what it felt like to be in the "flow" of pursuing that major. These weren't what my original freewritings sounded like, but basically new essays I wrote while the freewriting examples were swimming around in my head. This step is more for experimentation than summarization, although if your freewriting summary from step 5 sounded strong to you feel free to keep them! You don't have to add creative aspects just to have them, only do it if it feels right! The majority of my essays weren't creatively formatted, it was just these two.

7) First peer review time! Get a friend, a willing teacher, a counselor, or submit your essay on CollegeVine. Let them know if you have concerns about any parts of your essay. A great question to ask them is "where does it feel like the story picks up?" because they can give you honest, positive feedback and you can figure out what parts may be too slow. Also, if you're over the word count ask what parts you could cut out! I was having a really hard time figuring this out on my own, so feedback helped a LOT with that. When you have the feedback, make the edits they suggested and talk to them about any you're unsure about.

8) For editing essays, I used a combination of grammarly.com and prowritingaid.com (I think you have to sign up for these, but you can make a free account). This is best if you're either really uncertain about catching grammar mistakes OR in a position where you can't get a peer review (eg. you're finishing up an essay an hour before the deadline--happened to me a few times). Use your best judgement with these, they're not infallible and may suggest some edits that don't sound right. If possible, get a human reviewer (ask a friend, ask a teacher, or use CollegeVine) for the final round of edits so that you can be sure the essay has good flow/doesn't sound choppy in places.

9) Get another peer review and make edits if necessary.

10) Let the essay sit for a few days, then re-read it, make any final touch-ups, and submit it. If you don't have time to let it sit, copy and paste the essay into another word processor (eg. Google Docs, Grammarly, Evernote, ZenPen.io) and then read it again. The different formatting should help break up the monotony of having read your own essay a thousand times. This works in a pinch, but ideally let the essay sit for a few days.

11) YOU'RE DONE!!

NOTE: give yourself adequate breaks! If possible be responsible with your time and space out your progress so you don't end up writing them all in one weekend. If that's not possible (that's okay, it wasn't for me either), incorporate breaks into your binge-writing. My breaks were usually reading a good book, meditating, working out, staring into space for a few minutes, or taking a nap. I worked hour by hour, giving myself about 30-45 minutes of work per hour so that if I finished early I got more time to relax. If I didn't finish after 50 minutes of work I just took a break anyway. Breaks are important! You'll lose way more time by burning out than by taking a break.

NOTE: I actually did each step fully before moving onto the next (eg. step 2 for all 8 prompts, then step 3 for all 8 prompts, etc.) This helped because it naturally gave me some space from what I was writing so I had time to come up with new ideas and didn't get tired of working on a single essay too hard. It also ensured that my essays were all of similar quality.

Again, sorry this was so long. Hope it helps though, good luck on everything!! Have a wonderful day :)

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8 months ago

It is okay to not know, guess what? Most students that go into college decided change their major at least once.

As for what to study and schools, first ideally would you like to go to an ivy, state, or non ivy selective school? If you do want to go ivy is it for name value or do you genuinely find the school like a place you could thrive? After you have an Idea of what kind of school think about location. Instate or out of state schools, maybe even out of the country. What do you like? my friend really likes kids so she decided to become a teacher because she has the patience to deal with them(little kids like elementary age kids). After you have schools narrowed down by location, type, and also size out of those look for ones that have a variety of majors that seem like something you could do for your professional career.

I also want to point out that you can transfer schools if after you start classes you realize it isn't a good fit for you. It is not ideal but don't feel like you have to decide and stick with it forever.

Essay, for the essay their are tons of recourses (their are tons for finding schools too) to help. Some colleges hold help work shops along with college planning sites like this one. For the essay I was told to write about something that if you didn't have the essay they would not of known about you. Your essay should tell them about you but not be another resume, that is what the whole rest of the application is for. Colleges what to know what you are like day to day to see how you would fit into their school, so unless you feel strongly about one live changing event that happened to you avoid writing about it. You are also a junior like myself so starting senior year is when you will start applying, your school and teachers will be able to help you with specifics then as they know you on a deeper level.

(not proofread)

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8 months ago[edited]

it's okay to not know which specific major you want to apply as, but it's good to know what interests you. Do you like history and English, or STEM courses better? If the latter, then do you prefer doing maths like calculus or taking courses like physics, chemistry, or biology? Consider making a list of potential majors, and try to take courses that are important to that major. For example, this year I took computer science as an elective to see whether I'm interested in it, and for the most part, I find it boring. So that eliminates Computer Science off my list of potential majors.

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8 months ago

Hey!

As @rachaelshuman said, make sure you calm down first. It’s going to be okay, I promise. I’m a junior as well, and while I know some of the schools I’m interested in, I’m undecided on my major. That’s perfectly okay! You’re allowed to not know, and you’re allowed to change your mind. Second, remember that a lot of colleges allow you to transfer your credits, so you can change your mind there as well.

Now- what do you like to do? Personally, I’m a reader, a writer, runner, and I put a lot of effort into my schoolwork. I’m thinking about majoring in English or Creative Writing because that’s what I enjoy. Do you have anything like that? Maybe you don’t like to read and write, but you may be an artist or a musician. Perhaps you really enjoy your math class, or you have a particular interest in science! Try and figure this out. I promise, there’s something out there that you enjoy. Use this to guide you. See how your interests and hobbies could fit into a college major, and then narrow your search down from there.

That’s the best advice I can give. One more thing- don’t sweat the essays until you know what colleges you’re looking at! Leave essays until after you’ve gotten everything else I’ve mentioned.

I hope this helped in any way!

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8 months ago

Well lets start by taking a deep breath and getting some water. What types are things are you interested in. For example I like to sing, dance, do arts( specifically drawing), fashion, cooking, and i love taking care of children. So i could go to school for any of those things. So start narrowing down to your top five things you like to do.

Next, you want to think about wether you want to stay home or wether you would like to travel. Personally for me I live in Indiana. However I love the idea of sitting in a big city at a cafe drinking coffee and doing my work. So i can see myself in states such as California, Florida, New York, and Rhode Island. However, I can also see myself in a different country such as South Korea. For the cafe’s and scenery. So I plan on apply to Seoul National Univeristy and Yonsei University.

So, once you have gotten your top 5 hobbies/ interests, and you picked either home or travel. You need to choose a few colleges. Khan Academy recommends choosing 12 schools. 4 safety’s( normally in your state some just public schools). 4 Target schools ( these are the school where you have everything your GPA is right on point, your SAT score is good, and you could see yourself there. Finally you need to pick 4 reach school. These are the schools where you might have the GPA but your SAT score was to low. Or you just dont have that 4.3 GPA like someone else does. Normally these are your IVY League schools. Although, for me a am choosing 8 safety’s, 8 target, 8 reach, and 4 international.

Now, it is time to do research. Colleges love it when you know somethings about them that an everyday student wouldn’t know. You can also use this time to see what majors they have. See if those majors fit your 5 interests and see how many of your interests are there. College can be very stressful so its a good idea to look into some clubs and after school activities that are going on or that are in your location. You could utilize the extra time you have to clear your mind. Eat some nice food and watch the sun set.

When it comes to college essay’s most colleges will have a prompt explaining exactly what they want. The amount of words and things. However the key thing to remember is to be yourself. College are always looking for something or someone new. Who is going to make their campus even more diverse and unique.

I hope this helps and good luck with college and senior year. Try not to stress to much you can always apply during January and February if November is to close or your not ready.

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8 months ago[edited]

Don't worry. Look up colleges that allow you to go in undecided and take a few classes in things that interest you. You'll probably find something that you are truly passionate about in college. And you can base your decision on what you truly enjoy. And I would recommend going on college tours if you're not exactly sure what kind of school you want to go to. Go to a school that is small, go to a school that is a medium-size school, and go to a large-size school. You'll be able to cut down a lot of schools depending on whether or not you like the campus life. The college process in my opinion is finding out what you do not like. It is much easier to find out what you hate than what you like. If you don't like the big school then don't apply to any big schools. If you don't like parties don't apply to any schools that have parties if you don't like a rigorous academic section apply to a school that is more relaxed when it comes to academics. Find out what you don't like and do the opposite. As for your college essays write about something that you care about. It doesn't necessarily need to be anything big it could be a story about you playing a musical instrument. Or it could be something huge like you losing a family member. Your essay can be about something super mundane. I've seen people go to extremely selective colleges like Harvard from writing essays about baking. Just write about something that interests you or something that's important to you.

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