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Ways For Everyone To Go To The Ivy League

Ways For Everyone To Go To The Ivy League

No matter what age you are, your educational background, or your money situation, obtaining a quality education shouldn’t be such a hassle. While friends, family, or the media may attempt to say that perhaps your goals are too lofty, or that you should focus on a goal that is more practical, it is not impossible to get into an ivy league school. You just have to have a specific strategy tailored toward yourself in order to brand yourself in the best way possible to make that dream a reality. Below, I’ve listed some ways to get you thinking about what strategy would work best for your unique situation.

Scenario One: High School Student

One advantage of being a high school student is being accustomed to modern day testing. Knowing that college is the end goal, preferably, an elite college, it is important to attempt to take quality classes and start preparing in freshman year for acceptance into a good university.

It is important to take SAT preparation courses in and outside of school, especially focusing on weaker subjects. A less popular exam is the ACT, but this test covers more subject areas and also covers more material meant to be taught in high school. Taking both is beneficial in analyzing ones strengths and weaknesses and determining which scores are more beneficial to send to universities.

For high school electives, focus on college preparatory curriculum and Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Taking these classes shows a talent for the subject area, at the end of which an exam is administered for college credit.

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Keeping a high GPA (Grade Point Average) is very important, as well as joining a few school clubs or sports. It is important to show a passion for a topic or an activity.

During the summers, study independently for College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams. Each exam allows a student to test out of a college course for a fraction of the cost. Taking several can prove to a panel of admissions counselors how serious a candidate is for gaining admission, and their ability to do the hard work associated with college.

Homeschooled students can use the same strategy.

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    Scenario Two: College Student

    Everyone talks about getting into an elite university in high school and those types of discussions typically wane when undergraduate school starts. Many people forget that they can transfer into a better university or get into a quality graduate school during or after their undergraduate years.

    For example, let’s say your high school years weren’t the best grade wise, and tests scores were average. It is still possible to get into an elite university. Understand, an undergraduate career means that you’re starting over. What you did in high school no longer matters, and high school activities should not be listed on any resumes. The strategy isn’t to shift focus, but to attempt to gain entry another way. One strategy is to transfer into an elite school from a lesser-known university. Ideally, focus on getting the best grades possible, engage in multiple on-campus activities, and on building work-experience.

    On-campus jobs are a good starting point, with the end-goal of transferring in for Junior and Senior year. If that doesn’t work, finishing one’s undergraduate degree with invaluable activities, work experience, and a high GPA will be important. The next best bet is to attempt to get into a graduate degree program at an elite school.

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      Scenario Three: Non-Traditional Adult

      The Non-Traditional Adult student can be a variety of things: a career student, someone with a bachelor’s degree looking for a master’s, someone with a family looking to increase their knowledge in a field, etc.

      For the Non-traditional adult without a degree, it’s important to gain the undergraduate degree first, and then aim for an ivy league graduate school. It is less likely for a school to accept someone for a bachelor’s program if they have been out of high school for a while. They cannot typically base admission on those old scores from 10-15 years ago. By taking CLEP tests, a student can lessen their time obtaining a bachelors degree.

      For the non-traditional adult with a degree looking for advanced options, timing can be an issue as family and work must take priority. By now, a solid work history and resume has been established. Try to find online degrees at elite schools. Harvard Extension School has great programs for online undergraduate and graduate degrees.

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        Strategies for All Groups:

        When applying to an elite university, the schools not only take into account grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities, but also a personal essay and letters of recommendation. That’s why it is so important to get to know your profession and attempt to establish a friendship with those you admire. The personal essay can also help to take an average application and turn it into a “yes” application, so be sure to share an amazing story with the admissions department at the schools. Also review and/or purchase books depicting essays and application stats of people who applied to the schools you’re interested in before you. Learn what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to getting in.

        Students of all ages, whether they haven’t been in school for over ten years, or are just starting college, can benefit from CLEP tests to show schools how they can do rigorous college work, so take as many as you can.

        Do not discount online options. Some elite schools, such as Cornell University, offer online certificates at a lower cost than one semester of tuition. These are great add-ons to every resume, not just because of the name and prestige of the school, but because of what you have learned.

        Check out free online classes. There are now transcripts available from schools such as Yale  and MIT online at no cost to you. You won’t get credit for them, but at least you might learn something.

        Your library is your best friend. Whether it is your local library or school library, all the sources you’ll ever need on any topic will be available there. Use that resource as much as possible. It will be worth it.

        Ultimately, have faith in yourself and happy studying!

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        Last Updated on August 21, 2018

        8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

        8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

        You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

        Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

        When you train your brain, you will:

        • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
        • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. Hello promotion, here I come!
        • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. No, thanks Alzheimer’s; you and I are just not a good fit.

        So how to train your brain to learn faster and remember more?

        1. Work your memory

        Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

        When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

        If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

        The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

        Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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        Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

        What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

        For example, say you just met someone new.

        “Hi, my name is George”

        Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.” Got it? Good.

        2. Do something different repeatedly

        By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

        Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

        It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

        And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

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        But how does this apply to your life right now?

        Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

        Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

        Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

        So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

        You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

        That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

        3. Learn something new

        It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

        For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

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        Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

        You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

        4. Follow a brain training program

        The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

        5. Work your body

        You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

        Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

        Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

        Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

        6. Spend time with your loved ones

        If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

        If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

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        I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

        7. Avoid crossword puzzles

        Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

        Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

        Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

        8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

        Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

        When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

        So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

        Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

        Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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