Month: July 2014
Preparing for College: A guide for high school students, by high school students
Editor: Alex Stepp
Welcome back!! It seems like it has been forever since we have had the pleasure of writing for all of you. Thankfully, school is out now, and even in the midst of the flurry of college preparation, we have found the time to write about just that: college preparation. Instead of using statistics and research with our experiences, we will be using only our experiences in the process of sharing the tips and tricks of preparing for college. Of course, we are not professionals, as we are in the process right now, but we will share with you all that we have learned so far.
I hope you all enjoy this issue!! Feel free to comment with other tips throughout the articles. Also, since our last issue, Courage for Tomorrow has gotten more wonderful writers whom we will introduce in this issue. So, be on the lookout for articles by Ben, Hannah, and Krista.
As always, feel free to contact us for whatever reason at email@example.com.
Thank you for reading!
The Courage for Tomorrow Team
*Editor’s Note: Minor editing changes have been made, but the ideas of the authors have not been edited. All ideas are original and have not been copied from outside sources. The ideas in these works do not necessarily reflect the purposes of Courage for Tomorrow, but have been included as real stories.*
Inspirational Songs: Music Heals
I thought that I would continue this post because I know that music has strong healing powers for some people. Who doesn’t like to listen to a good song?
1. Forgiven – Reliant K
2. Peace in the Valley – Kevin Costner
3. Fin – Anberlin
4. Love Saves the Day – Piotr Rubik
5. Savin’ Me – Nickelback
6. How Deep the Water Runs – Kevin Costner
7. The Unwinding Cable Car – Anberlin
8. I Was Here – Beyonce
9. Lose Yourself – Eminem
10. Savior – Black Veil Brides
11. Never Give In – Black Veil Brides
12. Second and Sebring – Of Mice and Men
13. Someone Somewhere – Asking Alexandria
14. This Song Saved my Life – Simple Plan
15. You are the Heart – Blood on the Dance Floor
16. The Good Life – Valencia
17. How to Save a Life – The Fray
18. Eyes Open -Taylor Swift
19. Tied Together With a Smile – Taylor Swift
20. Beautiful – Christina Aguilera
21. Who You Are – Jessie J
22. This is Love – The Script
23. The Fighter – Gym Class Heroes ft. Ryan Tedder
24. Perfect- P!nk
25. Who Says – Selena Gomez
26. Firework – Katy Perry
27. Hey You – Miranda Cosgrove
28. What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction
29. Only You Can Be You – Cymphonique Miller
30. Little Things – One Direction
31. Freckles – Natasha Bedingfield
32. Imagine – John Lennon
33. I Believe I Can Fly – R. Kelly
34. One – U2
35. Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
36. Mean Girls – Rachel Crow
37. Let it Be – The Beatles
38. Times – Tenth Avenue North
39. By Your Side – Tenth Avenue North
40. Stars – David Crowder Band
41. The Sun Will Rise – Kelly Clarkson
42. Stand – Rascal Flatts
43. You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up) – Josh Groban
44. Hero – Mariah Carey
45. When You Believe – Whitney Houston ft. Mariah Carey
46. Where the Streets Have No Name – U2
47. The Climb – Miley Cyrus
48. You Can Come to Me – Ross Lynch and Laura Marano
49. Changed – Rascal Flatts
50. I Won’t Let Go – Rascal Flatts
51. Believe – Brooks and Dunn
52. I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack
53. Need You Now – Plumb
54. Lost – Michael Bublé
55. Marching On – OneRepublic
56. Heroes – David Bowie
57. Brave – Sara Bareilles
58. Little Wonders – Rob Thomas
59. Whip It – Love and Death
60. Hope – We Came As Romans
61. Son of Venice – Upon This Dawning
62. Same Love – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert
63. I Lived – OneRepublic
64. Strong Enough to Save – Tenth Avenue North
Thank you to everyone that contributed to the list!
Please, feel free to add more songs! We want to know what songs give you hope.
A High School Timeline
By Alex Stepp
I don’t know about you, but personally, I like a set of instructions. I like to have a list of deadlines and guidelines that I can follow while I am accomplishing a task. So, when this summer rolled around – the summer before my senior year – I felt myself wondering what all I needed to do and feeling frustrated by the vagueness of some instructions that I found. So, I am going to compile a list for you of all of the stuff that you need (a term I use loosely here) to do in each year of high school. Please note that this will be done with the best of my ability, and some of the information may not apply to all of you. Here’s hoping it helps, though!
Freshman Year (9th Grade)
So you’ve made it to high school…congratulations! Now, I know what you are thinking: it is my first year in high school. There is no way I should be planning for college already.
Sadly, my friend, this is not the case, and I will tell you why. Now, as a senior, there are colleges, beautiful colleges that look like Hogwarts and witnessed the attendance of John Green, to which I cannot apply because I did not take the right classes. No, instead of taking 4 years of one foreign language, I took two years of two different languages. Instead of taking Physics, I took Earth Space Science. If I had known that I needed certain classes were required for this dream college that I happened upon too late, I would have taken them. So…
-Know what classes your dream college(s) is looking for. Take them. (No, you do not have to have a dream college at this point, or any point).
-Take fun classes! Take classes that interest you. Try to find out what you like to do as early as you can so you have as much time as possible to do it! This will help you later on in college when you are trying to pick a major (see Krista’s article).
-Join clubs. This will also help you discover what you like to do, and you will make tons of friends and memories while doing so.
-Mainly, have fun. This is a time of discovery. Find what you love to do, and do it.
-Keep your grades up. When it comes time to apply to colleges, you will want your GPA to match a college’s requirements. If you don’t apply yourself now, you will regret it later. If you are really struggling, don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask your teacher or a tutor for help. Ask Rose (http://www.askrose.org/) is a good resource, and there are plenty more like it.
-Lastly, volunteer. To me, there is no better time spent than that spent helping others. Sure, it looks good on college applications (or so I’ve heard), but there are so many other benefits to volunteering. You know, like helping the world to be a better place.
Sophomore Year (10th Grade)
-Continue to keep up your grades. Now that you have experienced high school classes, consider taking honors classes in the subjects you excelled in last year. Challenge yourself!
-Continue to take classes that interest you. Don’t be afraid, though, to take classes that you don’t think you would normally take. You never know unless you try!
-Take the PSAT. This is a test that is kind of like a practice test for the SAT. It is important because as a junior you will be entered into the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) when you take the PSAT. This is a program that allows you to get many scholarships if you get a high enough score. So, it is imperative that you take it your sophomore year so that you have the practice that you need to excel next year. For more information on the NMSQT, click here: http://www.nationalmerit.org/entering.php. Also, make sure to check out our articles on how to study for standardized tests like these!
-Take the PLAN. This is like the PSAT, but instead of preparing you for the SAT, it prepares you for the ACT. I actually never took it, so I cannot give you much information on it, but any practice can help! For more information, click here: http://www.act.org/planstudent/tests/index.html.
-Start thinking about college. Maybe do a bit of research on some colleges that you think you might want to attend.
-Continue to volunteer and participate in clubs!
Summer Before Junior Year (11th Grade)
Okay, so hopefully you have been spending your summers volunteering and reading and basically doing educational activities that can benefit you, but now is the time to get serious. Because…
-It is time to take the SAT and ACT! Duh duh DUH! Okay, so technically you don’t take these tests right in the summer of your junior year. Most people take them at the end of their junior year and again at the beginning of their senior year. But, now is the time to prepare. Trust me when I tell you that your junior year will be crazy. Now that you are able to take AP classes, you might want to. That’s great! Talk about a challenge and a boost for the GPA, not to mention that these classes prepare you for college classes. Plus, colleges appreciate AP classes. Your stress level might not. I don’t know where you go to school, but at my school, AP classes are extreme. This is not a bad thing, though, but these classes take a lot of time if you want to get a good grade. You most likely will not have as much time to prepare for the SAT and ACT as you want/need. Silly me, I didn’t realize that I should have started studying so early, so I had to struggle to balance school work and studying, and it was not fun. So start studying! (Make sure to check out our articles on preparing for standardized tests if you need tips!)
Junior Year (11th Grade)
-Continue to keep your grades up.
-Take AP classes and honors classes to be fully prepared for the college experience.
-Take any AP tests you have taken classes in.
-Take the PSAT/NMSQT. Good luck!
-Make your college list. Do not limit yourself when choosing colleges. It is an excellent idea to include several realistic colleges on this list, meaning colleges that are close to you that you can afford (or colleges far away that you can afford. Basically, colleges that provide you with a good education on a budget, unless you are wealthy, in which case: go wherever is ideal to you!). Do not exclude colleges that you think are not realistic. Even if the college is too expensive or too far away, do not immediately throw it out! You may receive enough grant and scholarship money that you can attend the college at a price much lower than the tuition posted on their website. If it is important enough to you, please do not think it impossible.
-Keep volunteering and participating in clubs. Maybe try out for the student body or school newspaper if either interests you. Aim high!
-Tour some colleges close to you that you might attend. Ask if you can sit in on a class.
-Take the ACT and SAT in the spring. If you don’t like your score, don’t worry! You can always take them again.
-Start searching for scholarships. It is never too early to start doing so. You can even start earlier than this. But junior year is definitely a good time to start your search if you haven’t at this point, especially if you will need to rely heavily on financial aid for college.
Summer Before Senior Year (12th Grade)
-Narrow down your list of colleges to the ones you will apply to.
-Create a list of deadlines and application requirements for these colleges.
-Acquire all of the materials needed for the application. This means print out the applications, send test scores to colleges, and gather any documentation you might have from throughout your high school career.
-Work on the application. This doesn’t mean that you have to finish your applications in the summer. It is a good idea to get a head start, though, especially if you are applying to colleges with low acceptance rates. Create your résumés and work on your essays so you have time to study for the SAT and the ACT come fall.
-Study for the SAT and the ACT if you are retaking them.
-Find and apply to scholarships (see more information on scholarships in some of our other articles).
Senior Year (12th Grade)
-Take challenging classes. Don’t slack off just because it is senior year.
-Take any AP tests that you have taken classes in.
-Register to take the SAT and ACT (if you feel you need to) and take them again.
-Narrow down your list of colleges to the top three-five.
-Send in your applications after gathering recommendation letters, lists of club participation and community services, essays, test scores, etc. Make sure to apply before the deadlines!
-Apply for more scholarships.
-Start thinking about what you would like to major in. You don’t have to pick now. You don’t even have to pick as soon as you get into college. Just think about it so that you can come to a decision. That way you can spend even more time studying specifically in the area in which you would like to have a career.
-Tour the colleges on your narrowed list.
-Choose the college that you would most like to attend and that would work the most for you.
-Make sure to get your cap and gown for your big day!
-Congratulations! You did it! You made it through high school! Sure you still have college, the military, a job, or whatever else you decide to do, but you accomplished a major task. Be proud of yourself! We sure are proud of you.
That’s it! That is the list that I have compiled. Again, I might have left some things off, but I hope it helps in some way.
Courses to take in high school
By Hannah Rollett
With the strict graduation standards for high school and the strong emphasis on course choice in college, it can sometimes be difficult to choose our courses for high school. Should you take AP Statistics your senior year? Or would you be better off in Honors English 12 with a standard Pre-Calculus class? Whether you chose AP or Honors, here are a few tips for choosing your courses:
-Focus on what you want to major in. For example, if you’d like to major in English or become a teacher, take challenging literature courses, such as AP English Lit or Honors English. If you’re not sure what you plan to major in, look at what you’re good at and choose courses based on that. Most likely, you’ll choose a major or career relating to those interests.
-Remember your strengths and weaknesses. Obviously not everyone is great with Math and not everyone receives only A’s in English. If you struggle in a subject, try to go for a more standard class. If you’re really good at something, go for a more challenging course, such as honors or advanced placement. It’s better to receive a B in standard mathematics than to fail miserably in an AP version.
-What do colleges want? While you may not fulfill a college’s every wish, you should definitely try to fulfill some. For instance, most colleges want to know that you are ready for such a big responsibility. Many of them look for students who have challenged themselves throughout their high school career. So attempt to take some challenging classes and to push yourself a little (but not over the edge!). You’ll thank yourself later.
-Pace yourself. Many teens attempt to cram several courses into one or two years. Don’t do that! You’ll only stress yourself out. Think ahead and try to even out your courses as much as possible throughout high school. For your senior year, attempt to take as few courses as you can. You’ll be busy filling out applications, and you won’t want to waste time writing five papers due at the same time.
-If you’re still unsure, seek guidance. Of course, if you are still feeling overwhelmed with your choices after this, talk to your parents, a teacher, or your guidance counselor. It may not seem like they will make a difference, but, trust me, they can be extremely helpful during this process!
I hope these tips were helpful and that they made choosing your courses a little bit easier. Good luck!
Since you have made it to high school, it is likely that you have heard of the SAT and the ACT. In this issue, we will break down what these tests are, how and when to register for them, how to study for them, and general testing tips.
Let’s start with what they are.
The SAT stands/stood (the name has changed a few times) for the Scholastic Assessment Test. It is college admission test that tests to see how prepared you are for college. It is based on the skills that you have learned in reading, writing, and math. The test is created and scored by College Board.
The ACT is the American College Test, and it too attempts to discover how prepared students are for college. This test includes sections on reading, writing, science, and math. It is created and scored by the ACT Organization.
How much do the tests cost?
Well, it differs. The SAT currently costs $52.50. Fee waivers are possible for those who need them.
The ACT currently costs $54.50 if you take the test with Writing and $38.00 without it. Fee waivers are available for this test, as well.
When should you take the tests?
These tests are typically taken in the spring of your junior year and the fall of your senior year. You can take them at other times, as well, though.
How do you register to take the tests?
You can register for the SAT at College Board website: https://sat.collegeboard.org/register. You can also find test dates and more information about the test at this site.
You can register for the ACT at the ACT Student website: http://www.actstudent.org/regist/. Again, you can find tests dates and more information about the test at this site.
How to Study for Standardized Tests
-Firstly, take challenging courses. It is important that you try your best in these classes, as the tests are based on the knowledge that you receive from these classes.
-Secondly, read often. The reading, writing, and vocabulary sections require a knowledge that one can easily get by reading often. Reading is the best practice. It is fun, too!
-Thirdly, visit the websites of the tests. Sign up for the College Board’s Question of the Day (https://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day). Take the Practice Test that they offer. *This for me was the best practice that I did. It made me a lot more comfortable for the test because I did not do as bad on the practice test as I feared I would. It also made me comfortable with the setup of the test, so I did not run out of time on any of the sections.* The ACT website also has a Question of the Day program in which you can participate: http://www.act.org/qotd/.
-Buy test preparation guides. For example, the College Board has what is known as the “Blue Book,” which is a guide for studying for the test. It includes practice tests that come from previous tests. It also includes a lot of practice worksheets for skills that you may need to work on. This is also a good practice for the PSAT.
-Sign into your My College Quick Start on the College Board website. It takes your PSAT scores and tells you what you need to study for the SAT.
-Hire a SAT/ACT tutor.
-Take prep classes for these tests. These two options may be expensive, but it can prepare you more. Check to see if your local library is offering some of these classes for free. Sometimes they do.
-Check YouTube. There are a lot of good tip videos from teachers and other officials on there that may help you prepare, especially if you are a visual/audio learner.
Do not be afraid for the ACT Science section. I really was because science isn’t my best subject, but this section is honestly almost a common sense section. The hardest part is not running out of time. I can tell you that I ran out of time on 3 of the 4 sections on the ACT. If I hadn’t, I probably would have gotten a higher score. So, for the science, do not concentrate on the passages before the charts but on the charts themselves.
On the reading, just read as fast as possible. Do not get comfortable. Stay focused. I know it might be hard, but it is what will get you that higher score.