School Daze: Navigating the College Application Process
We have copies of the handouts from the program at the library. See the college book display, which will be up through the end of October.
Thank you to all our speakers.
Unfortunately, Ms. Joanna Ganci was ill and could not attend last night’s program. Here is her handout:
Joanna Ganci, English Teacher
Swampscott High School
I Was A Teenage Application Zombie !
Waking from the College Application Nightmare
Most colleges will require that you get three references. Most schools desire that one or two of those three recommendations are written by an “academic” teacher. Academic, in this case, means one of your core subjects: English, math, science, or history. If you are interested in studying engineering in college, it would make sense that you ask a math or science teacher to write you a letter. You may also ask teachers from any other subjects, guidance counselors, coaches, principals, and assistant principals to write additional recommendations. You should ask teachers with whom you have a good relationship. Your grades are not the only area that a teacher will address; in fact, your grades are often of less importance than your character, effort, and potential. If your teacher does not feel she can write you a detailed, favorable recommendation, ask someone else. Don’t give up.
You want to ask those writing you the recommendations as early as possible. Be courteous and give that person as much time as you can so she can write you a good letter. The beginning of your senior year is a good time to begin asking. When you have your final list of schools, give the following materials, neatly placed in school-specific folders, to the recommender(s):
Copies of application forms that need to be completed including teacher evaluation form
copy of your transcript
due date for materials
any additional information you feel is necessary for the writer
A thank you note is a great way to show your appreciation to the person who wrote you the recommendation.
Great Tips for Writing Your College Admissions Essay
Write as you speak. The purpose of the essay is to show the admissions committee the real you, why you think and act the way you do, and what motivates you. So don’t write as if you are someone else, use stilted language, or gloss over how you really feel. Be authentic, not superficial. Use a relaxed, conversational style.
Be original. Too many essays use the same tired themes. For example, instead of showing yourself as a victim, focus on how you overcame the situation. You’re not running for Miss America, so avoid presenting your solutions to world peace and hunger. Remember that what bores you pretty much bores others.
Show genuine enthusiasm. Nothing draws a reader more than invigorating writing. Pick topics that excite you. Your enthusiasm will show.
Create some mystery. Begin with an introduction that surprises your readers and makes them want to read past the first paragraph.
Focus. Rather than describing everything you’ve done with your life, give a full description of one or two items or events. The magic is in the details.
Use active verbs. Action verbs make your essay more engaging than passive voice, which comes across as cold and detached.
Use short sentences and simple words. According to a recent study at Stanford University, individuals who use complicated language are viewed as less intelligent than individuals who use simpler, more concise language. You want your readers to understand your essay.
Courtesy of Gregory Lloyd www.back2college.com/admissionessay
WILL THE 2009-10 COMMON APPLICATION ESSAY TOPICS BE THE SAME?
Yes; the essay prompts will be the same. Check to see if your school uses the common application.
Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.
Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.
A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.
The Horror! : You Don’t Need to Hire a Tutor
Writing your college admissions essay should not require that you hire a tutor. The reason that college admissions is asking you to write an essay in the first place is to see if you can write independently at the college level. Because there is the perception that students won’t get into college without an advantage, many parents are paying tutors to assist in the process. This is not necessary and may even be detrimental since it may be a false representation of a student’s abilities.
All writing benefits from revision; the college admissions essay is no exception. Do not wait until the day before your materials are due to begin the process. Know how many different essays you will have to write, and then spend at least a week on each one. This week should include the writing of a rough draft and any revisions that are necessary to make it a representation of your best work. Do not try to accomplish this task in one day. You need time to reflect and revise. You may also want to share your essay with a parent, a peer, or even a teacher who has the time to read your essay and give you constructive feedback. Your final draft should be free of grammatical and spelling errors, should be interesting and engaging, should reflect your writing style, and should fulfill the parameters of the question.
My BFF is, Like, Awesome: Comments on Style
Many critics argue that the advent of technologies like email and texting have caused the deterioration of more sophisticated elements of the writing process such as personal style. While many of you can consciously define your style when it comes to clothing, music, or even art, you cannot begin to define your writing style.
In your essay, your style will be reflected in the way you use language. Your grammar, sentence structure, and word choice will create this style as well as your level of formality or informality. Do not use the thesaurus function on your computer too often. If “use” is more natural and authentic to you than “utilize”, use (wink) “use.” If you don’t understand a word (and therefore may use it in the wrong context), don’t put it in your essay. At the same time, don’t be afraid to show off your understanding and appropriate use of all that vocabulary that you’ve learned in the last four years.
In addition, don’t be too informal. You are not writing an essay for a friend. These technologies have helped us be more efficient, but by using them we often sacrifice clarity and style. If you’re writing an essay about your best friend Julie, don’t refer to her as your “bff” unless it is used in dialogue to give the reader a sense of character.
High school students and parents are invited to a program Thursday, October 6th from 7:00pm to 8:15pm to learn about applying to colleges. Emily Zotto & Anna Skillings from Swampscott High School Guidance Department will give an overview of the process and explain the role of the Guidance Department. Joanna Ganci, from the Swampscott High School English Department, will give advice on writing essays & getting teacher recommendations. Lisa Talbot, Senior Account Representative-Sallie Mae will cover the financial angle. Brian Emerson, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing-Princeton Review, will cover standardized testing. Random House has donated books for door prizes. No registration is required.
Newest Wave 2011 Concert Photos
NEWEST WAVE!! Photos…
I’ve uploaded the photos from Saturday’s concert. Will link to local news articles later today!
Share Your Opinions! We know you have a lot to say…
We’ve started a blog called SwampscottTeenTalk
- a place for you to post YOUR films, YOUR reviews, YOUR writing, YOUR artwork…
To get a password to post your creations, please contact Sandy at the library – 781-596-8867 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for a great Teen Read Week 2010
Thank you to everyone who participated in our Teen Read Week programs. We are especially grateful to all the kids who came to our first Teen Advisory Board meeting. The next meeting will be Tuesday, December 14th at 6:00pm and we’ll be providing free food for all. New members are welcome.
Thank you to Whole Foods, Society for Creative Anachronism and Friends of the Swampscott Public Library for their support of Teen Read Week.
If you want more information about the Teen Advisory Board, please call Sandy 781-596-8867 extension 304.
It Came From the Sea!
Thank you to all the bands who played at the Swampscott Public local teen band concert called It Came From the Sea! on Saturday, June 26th 4-9pm at Fisherman’s Beach in Swampscott. The bands who played: The Dirty Apples, The Informers, Angus in Drag, Orakular, The Scouflaws, WNFB, Urban Rangers, This Day in History, Fault & the Fidler, and Squad Room Antics. Flickr photos from the concert
and The Scouflaws and Swampscott Reporter article about the concert
SWAMPSCOTT CALLING: TEEN BAND CONCERT
The Swampscott Public Library local teen band concert, SWAMPSCOTT CALLING!, was held on Saturday, July 11th. A big thank you to the bands: Red Rock, Anything Goes, Soot, Exit Left, James Roseman, Calling Aviv, Handfulls of Happiness, The Anchors, 8th Brigade, Day Luge and Squad Room Antics. A special thank you to the Red Rock/Handfulls of Happiness folks who handled all the sound system work, the Swampscott Yacht Club for all kinds of assistance, the DPW, Fire and Police Departments, Newbury Comics for donating gift certificates for all the musicians, and the fans who came to hear everyone play.
Click here to see a slide show from the concert:
2009 Concert Pix
Go Donated by American Go Foundation
The American Go Foundation has donated a Go set to the Swampscott Public Library. If you know someone who is interested in playing or starting a Go Club, please contact Sandy, Young Adult Librarian, 781-596-8867.
The latest game craze from Japan is actually a 4,000 year old board game called Go. Thanks to the massive popularity of the Hikaru no Go manga (comic) in Shonen Jump, US kids are flocking to learn this timeless game. Teen Go clubs have formed across the nation.
The rules of Go are so simple they can be taught in a few minutes, but it can take a lifetime to master the game. Go is about five times more complex than Chess and is played professionally in China, Korea and Japan. Players compete for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money and big tournaments are televised to rapt international audiences.
Swampscott Library on Facebook
Swampscott Library on Facebook is the library Facebook page. We’ll use it to add events.
Dungeons & Dragons
Wizards of the Coast have donated a basic Dungeons & Dragons game to our library. If you and your friends would like to play, or set up a tournament, please contact Sandy, Young Adult Librarian, at email@example.com or 781-596-8867. Thank you to the Wizards of the Coast for their support of libraries.
Text from library catalog to your cell phone!
Let’s say you’ve searched the Swampscott Public Library catalog, and you’re viewing the record for a book you want. You could:
* Print it out, which is a waste of paper and toner
* Get a scrap of paper, find a pencil buried somewhere, write down the call number and hope you don’t misplace it
* OR Use our new feature for texting this information to your cellphone or BlackBerry
Simply click on the Send via Text Message button, enter your 10-digit number (no dashes), select your carrier, and click on the Send to Phone button. The message will contain all the information you need to retrieve the book at the Swampscott Public Library. You can even send the message to a friend or family member.
Carrier charges may apply. Happy texting.
Feel the Burn! Teen Band Concert
Library Concert 2008CLICK HERE FOR THE FLICKR CONCERT PIX FROM 2008 & EARLIER YEARS!
Thank you to all 10 bands who played at the June 2008 Swampscott Harbor Festival Teen Concert. And thank you to Red Rock for letting all the bands use their sound system.