5 Ways to Hack Undergrad Studies

* This is a post written by my friend James from Homework Market. Whether you have just been admitted to college or have been studying for some time, read through these tips for help!*

From study groups and final exams to frat parties and sleep deprivation, there are many worries on the minds of undergrads. Social media feeds seem to be filled with tips on how to clean things, how to pack things, and other quirky little life hacks (like, clever things to do with binder clips and duct tape). But there are five hacks that make the undergraduate years more fun, more successful, and even less expensive.

If you need better sleep, better homework answers, better food, and a better overall college experience, then keep reading!

1.      The Food Hack

Read more

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Director : Barry Jenkins.
Producer : Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski.
Release : October 21, 2016
Country : United States of America.
Production Company : Plan B Entertainment, Upload Films, A24.
Language : English, Italiano.
Runtime : 111 min.
Genre : Drama.

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‘Moonlight’ is a movie genre Drama, was released in October 21, 2016. Barry Jenkins was directed this movie and starring by Trevante Rhodes. This movie tell story about The tender, heartbreaking story of a young man’s struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality.

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Movie ‘Tangled: Before Ever After’ was released in March 10, 2017 in genre Family. Stephen Sandoval was directed this movie and starring by Mandy Moore. This movie tell story about Rapunzel grapples with the responsibilities of being a princess and the overprotective ways of her father. While she wholeheartedly loves Eugene, Rapunzel does not share his immediate desire to get married and settle down within the castle walls. Determined to live life on her own terms, she and her tough-as-nails Lady-in-Waiting Cassandra embark on a secret adventure where they encounter mystical rocks that magically cause Rapunzel’s long blonde hair to grow back. Impossible to break and difficult to hide, Rapunzel must learn to embrace her hair and all that it represents.

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How I Got to College

How I got to College

Hello lovelies,

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about getting to college, so if you are a high school student preparing for this absolutely crazy application/SAT’s/Admission Essays period I hope this may be of some help to you. The key is to start early and have some kind of idea before you start, hence why I’m posting this now. I’ve been getting tons and tons of questions about studying for the SAT and ACT, tips for writing the best essay, what classes to take beforehand, grades, etc., so I’ll just go over each one one by one. (See some helpful links below!)

The Grades

The obvious thing about receiving grades in high school is that they need to be good. The not-so-obvious is that they are not the most important aspect of your career. Although most university look at your academic GPA, the new “holistic review” idea is also considering how challenging and diverse your courses were, what you have going on in the extracurriculars are and some personal circumstances if you mentioned those in your essay. I know someone whose parents were getting a divorce in the middle of her junior year. The poor girl was affected so much that her grades fell way below average. Next year, however, she was able to bring them back up and explain in her personal essay what had happened. So unless you are applying to the top Ivy League type schools, you do not have to have a perfect GPA.


I cannot begin telling you how many people began taking their SAT’s in the fall of their senior year and were freaking out about not getting them back in time. So please start studying for these early! I was lucky enough to take a prep course through Princeton Review (expensive, but worth it! My cumulative score increased by 400 points!), which started in the beginning of my junior year. Once I took it and did as well as I could on the test, I didn’t have to worry about it anymore. However, my trouble was that I couldn’t decide which test to study for – ACT or SAT. ACT is a more of a knowledge-based test, where you are actually tested on what you already know. The SAT doesn’t really go too deep into the material, and essentially everything depends on your attention span and how many practice tests you’ve taken. I took both tests (it doesn’t hurt to try them both!) several times and simply submitted my best scores to the university. It worked out fine and I got the scores I wanted!

Extracurricular Activities

Nowadays most colleges pay so much attention to extracurriculars that it almost feels like they’re more important than grades. These include school clubs, sports, leadership, hobbies, volunteering, jobs, internships, family duties, etc. Basically, whatever you’re doing outside of school counts as an extracurricular activity. It’s important to stick to few things for a longer period of time than trying out this and that for a month or two. I feel like I had a pretty good set of out-of-school things going on, such as volunteering at the Red Cross for a few years, working at a child care facility, being a secretary/treasurer and member of French Honor Society as well as a member of the National Honor Society, and taking a whole bunch of other classes that weren’t associated with school. I feel like anything you can show a passion and dedication to would work fabulously – universities want people who will stick around for some time and work hard.

AP/IB/Honors Classes

Short answer: take them. Long answer: take as many as you can, but don’t overload yourself with craziness. Over my high school career, I took 5 AP classes: US History, French, English, Statistics and another French class. It was tough, but manageable as long as I didn’t procrastinate. What ended up happening is I entered college with 20 credits, which would have cost me some $17,000…! Not only that, but I was also more prepared for university work load than I would have been if I took all the regular high school classes. AP and Honors classes require a lot more work and are a bit harder, I agree, but they are so worth it. I only wish I took more of them in school!

The Essay

Oh, this is the worst part. How do you actually promote yourself? How do you tell colleges, “Pick me, pick me!!!” without sounding arrogant, pathetic or desperate? Personal essays require a lot of work. It’s not something you can sit down, write and submit in one evening. Make sure to find someone to read over your essay. Actually, as many people as possible. Be honest and write from your heart – do not try to guess what the admissions people are looking for. You don’t have to think of something heroic you’ve done or make something up to make them feel bad – just write what’s on your mind and use a lot of descriptions.

By the way, my college essay was ridiculously cheesy. I wrote about my German friend coming to my house in Russia and how my friends tried to speak English to her and how it all totally changed my life. Wow, it sounds dorky even now. But I think it was the way I wrote it and conveyed my feelings about the situation that really worked. I got some help from my parents, English teachers, even family friends, and hearing their opinions was invaluable. This is where I would like to direct you guys to my good friend Jacqueline from Nitty-Gritty English, who talks about writing tips for reluctant writers. If you get stuck on your essay (or any essay for that matter!), go take a look at her blog – there will definitely be something that can help you.

Meeting Advisers

Last but not least, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to talk to your counselor and advisers about choosing and applying to a university. They are the best people that can tell you about studying there, all of opportunities you’ll get, living conditions, etc. They can even help you with your admissions process, getting through that essay or maybe some unique application problem you’re having. Go and talk to any adviser. If not to ask questions, but to talk to her/him and introduce yourself.

Alright, sorry about the long rant! Let me know if you have any questions or concerns below in the comments, email or Tumblr! I’d love to help out!


Nitty Gritty English – Tips for Reluctant Writers

Unigo – Find College matches, scholarships and career advice

Zinch – My personal favorite. Used this one through and through back in the day!

Niche – See what fellow students say about colleges, their grades and admissions experiences. Loved it!

Parchment.com – Calculate your chances of getting into college! Used it!

The College Board – Your scoop on AP Tests

Princeton Review – SAT/ACT Prep

College Rankings: Good, Bad or Ugly? – Be smart about those college rankings.

Scholarships and Financial Aid – My collection of websites for scholarship searches

Scholarships and Financial Aid Websites

*Credit goes to the Bellevue High School Counseling Office*

Chegg: www.chegg.com
Database for scholarships and purchase/rental of textbooks. Very helpful for college students!

Zinch: http://www.zinch.com/
Find scholarships, colleges, financial aid information, etc. here.

FastWeb: www.fastweb.com
Over 400,000 scholarships, fellowships, grants and loans. Customized search based on your personal information and achievements.

Athletic Aid: www.athleticaid.com
Sports scholarships for student athletes

Careers and Colleges: www.careersandcolleges.com
General search for scholarships

College Success Foundation: www.collegesuccessfoundation.org
Scholarships and mentoring to low-income students in Washington state

Colleges, College Scholarships, and Financial Aid page: www.college-scholarships.com/100college.htm
Links to helpful information about colleges and scholarships

College Board: www.collegeboard.com
Scholarships, loans, internships and the CSS Financial Aid Profile.

College Planning Network: www.collegeplan.org
Information on financial aid and scholarships.

FAFSA on the Web: www.fafsa.edu.gov/ (MAKE SURE THE URL ENDS WITH “.gov”!!)

FindTuition.com: www.findtuition.com
3+ million scholarships and grants. Search by eligibility, major, college and more.

Go College: www.gocollege.com
Different Funding Sources.

Mach25: www.collegenet.com/mach25
Provided by CollegeNET, a databse of 600,000 scholarships. Also creates a letter to send to scholarship coordinators.

MeritAid: www.meritaid.com
A directory of merit-based scholarships

National Collegiate Athletic Association: www.ncaa.org
Official website of NCAA

Scholarships.com: www.scholarships.com
Free search and info about student loands, the FAFSA, even scholarship scams.


College Admissions: The GPA Dilemma

I often receive questions regarding having a high grade point average (GPA) in high school, and how that affects your chances of getting into a competitive university. Today I would like to clear up some misconceptions about the importance of grades.

1. GPA is only a fraction of what schools look at.

As far as I know, a lot of universities in the United States do a holistic review of applications: it is more personalized and focuses on a lot of factors other than grades, such as

  • SAT/ACT scores,
  • High school curriculum and course rigor
  • Taking advantage of challenging courses like AP, IB and Honors
  • Extracurricular activities and community service,
  • Special circumstances and personal experiences

I have heard of many cases, where highly selective colleges would pick a student with a lower GPA but a more broad and open extracurricular agenda over a student with a 4.0 GPA and a 2300 on the SAT. If a student has nothing to say other than “I have a 4.0 GPA and do nothing but study”, chances are someone else with a more colorful extracurricular agenda will be picked over Mr. I-Only-Study. (However, don’t get me wrong- you still need to try your best in school, no slacking!)

To read more about this, check out these two articles:

  1. Confessions of an Application Reader
  2. How College Applications are Evaluated

If for some reason your grades aren’t as high as you’d like them to be, try to get involved in clubs, sports, volunteering, maybe even find a job or a hobby. When filling out your college application, you need to play to your strengths; and if grades aren’t your strength, it may be in your extracurricular activities.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to all colleges and universities: the most competitive universities, such as Ivy League Schools and teeny tiny fancy private schools, first look at your academic merits (again, not just grades, but also the course rigor, SAT/ACT scores, AP classes, etc.), and only then at the extracurricular activities and personal stories. However, bigger schools pay attention to your “fit” to the school, your personal story (which you will express in your essay), and your ability to learn from your experiences.These components need to be looked at in more detail…so..

Coming up next: structure of a typical college application and how to use it to your advantage!