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What does your high school transcript say about you?

March 19th, 2018

What does your high school transcript say about you?  This is a great question to ask yourself when selecting courses for next year.  My years on admission committees taught me that the high school transcript is the most influential component you will submit while applying to college.  So how can you choose classes that will give you the best possible foundation for college level work and improve your chances of admission?  Yale University has the answer.  

The article linked below is a great tool when considering class selection and the advice given is truly beneficial for students of all levels and accomplishments. While many of you have already completed your preliminary course selection there might still be opportunities to make changes.  As always, if you have any questions throughout the process, please contact me.  

Article below referenced from Yale University 

Many high school sophomores and juniors (and their parents) want to know what courses to take to improve their chances for admission to Yale and other highly competitive colleges. With the caveat that every situation is different, here is some advice to help guide you as you make these decisions.

A Holistic Approach to Admissions

The high school transcript is almost always the most important document in a student’s application. But it is hard to conceive of a situation in which the appearance (or absence) of any one particular class on a transcript would determine the applicant’s outcome. The admissions committee does not make its decisions based on a piecemeal review of an applicant’s recommendations, test scores, activities, or individual elements of a high school transcript. It considers each application as a comprehensive picture of that student.

Read more at Yale University >>

Freshman Files: Liberal arts on a block plan

March 5th, 2018

Today Amy J. shares her unique experience as a first-year student at Colorado College.  CC is one of only a handful of schools that operate on a block plan:  full immersion into a single course, devoting all energies to completing a semester’s work in 3 ½ weeks.  Over the course of the academic year, students complete just as many courses as they would in a traditional semester schedule.  The students and professor become a team, in a way, and as classes at Colorado College are small it’s quite a remarkable environment.

We’re grateful that Amy is willing to share her experience as a new student at Colorado College and wish her continued success and happiness ahead!

Academics: Block plan makes the academics at CC pretty intense. All freshmen start … with the First Year Experience (FYE), a two-block class of their choice … and the professors teaching FYE usually offer more help to these freshmen for their transition to college. My FYE was introduction to comparative literature, and it was especially challenging for me due to the fast pace of a “block” – we finished our discussion of a book in two to three days on average, and sometimes it was just one day for one book. The first week was probably the hardest: we finished Homer’s Iliad in five days! … But luckily, … I found our professor’s lecture so fascinating. … She also invited us to her house for the first Sunday’s brunch, and it was a great experience!

We had another professor teaching us for the second block of FYE …The reading load each day was still a challenge to me, but … I gained confidence in my writing through the paper grades and my two professors’ encouraging comments. …

The third block I took elementary French I, and … learning a language in a block was intense in that we had 3 hours of online practice as homework every day…

Activities: … My Priddy trip (a five-day outdoor and service trip mandatory for every new student to participate before school starts) to Santa Fe was actually my first time going overnight camping and seeing the starry, starry night. … The last night in Santa Fe national forest was my favorite – our group merged with another group that camped nearby, and sitting around a bonfire, we got to know each other, chatted, and asked our leaders questions about CC life. The ambience was fantastic. …

My next outdoor experience at CC was rock climbing on the first Saturday after school started. Again it was my first rock climbing experience – although it was scary at times when I couldn’t find a spot to place my feet, it was a lot of fun! From then on, I began to love this sport.

The third one was my FOOT trip, a 5-day backpacking trip during the first block break specially organized for freshmen to further experience the outdoors in Colorado. We went to a place called “Lost Creek Wilderness” and I was really impressed by the beautiful aspens whose leaves turned yellow in late September. The views were fantastic, as if in a dream. …

The fourth one was another rock-climbing in a nearby mountain. It was a trip included in the “rock school” – a class teaching rock climbing skills that I signed up for …

My fifth outdoor experience was phenomenal: I went on a 10-day road trip to several national parks with some other international students and some Americans who did not go back home during the Thanksgiving break. We went to Canyonlands National Park in Utah, Monument Valley and Grand Canyon in Arizona, and Zion and Bryce national parks in Utah. I witnessed, for so many times, the magic of mother Nature in this trip… Amazing. I was so so lucky. CC is definitely my place.

Something about CC’s outdoor culture:  The Outdoor Education Center is a big part at CC. Students can take trainings to become a backcountry level 1, 2 or even level 3 leader, or a leader in other tracks such as rock climbing and skiing. Then these student leaders can plan and lead their trips.  Students can simply sign up for a trip on “Summit” (a website) and most trips do not cost much. Therefore, people who love outdoor sports will definitely love CC!

Overall, my first semester at CC was wonderful and full of new and exciting experiences. I think that block breaks really give students a lot of opportunities to travel and to have fun. …

Though blocks are hard, my first semester’s experience clearly proved what I had said in my application essay: CC is my best fit.

Summer Plans

February 19th, 2018

The recent glimpse of springlike air coming into Kentucky has me daydreaming of warm summer days.  Summer is a great opportunity for students to take a break from their regularly scheduled academic activities and focus on developing themselves in other areas, or go deeper in an area of significant interest.  

Gaining experience through volunteer work, internships, travel, research and just taking time to read for pleasure are all important ways to reflect on who you are and begin to discover your purpose.  Of course, a little down time is important, too!

Many of our students already have their summer plans well under way.  My hope is that today’s article link from the College Board will help you brainstorm more ideas for summer activities that foster personal growth and development.  Making constructive use of much of your time in the summer should be your top consideration, and you’ll find myriad ways to do so.  

You can change the world.  Let your summer experiences help you build your capacity to do so.

Article below referenced from College Board

Summer break is a perfect opportunity for your students to gain experience through paid or volunteer jobs, internships and other summer activities — pursuits that can also demonstrate a student’s sense of responsibility to college admission officers. How can you help your students choose the most rewarding summer activities?

First, encourage students to talk to adults in their lives who can help them find activities that match their interests.

Read more at College Board >>

Juniors: open your eyes to scholarship opportunities

February 5th, 2018

Shrop Ed families know that despite urban myths, most scholarship assistance is offered by colleges directly.  Still, there are “external” scholarships for which students can apply, and their review processes are often highly competitive.

Most scholarship applications will be due in the fall, but there is one major scholarship deadline for juniors to pay attention to this spring:  that of the Bryan Cameron Education Foundation.  The Foundation limits the number of applications it will review for its Cameron Impact Scholarship and for that reason, it’s best to jump on the application well ahead of the posted May deadline.  The competition for these awards is daunting, as you’ll see when you read the statistics, yet we’re thrilled to have had two seniors in the Finalist round this year, one of whom was named a Cameron Impact Scholar!  Being a top student AND changing the world are important criteria for the award, and we’re thrilled to see intentional and excellent accomplishments recognized.

As we receive word of other major scholarship competitions, we’ll share information with the Shrop Ed community.  In the meantime, we urge all juniors interested in scholarship funding to set up an account on Cappex, which has a scholarship search engine that will match your profile to opportunities.


Read more at Bryan Cameron Education Foundation >>

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