Tag Archives: college prep

Choosing a College: Teen Perspectives

College WheelIt’s just past the time that high school seniors have decided on their college, and juniors are looking ahead to applications. It’s nice being able to talk to someone who’s gone through the same process that many juniors will go through. There’s much to think about: the SAT, the ACT, good grades, finding a school that fits your interests, essays, applications, visits, and more.

We have the perspective of two high schoolers: Brooke who has been through the application and acceptance process, and Claire, who is just beginning it.

Brooke: Finding the right college is really difficult. My decision came down to two schools, and a lot of different things factored into my final choice. You have to consider location, class difficulty,cost, the “feel” of the school and it’s social aspects, and a ton of other stuff. With the two schools I had, one was much more prestigious but a lot more costly, and the other one had given me scholarship money, but wasn’t particularly well-known.

I had to weigh my options: would the more abundant opportunities at the one school outweigh its cost? Would I be happy in the towns the schools were in? Did I feel welcome and included by current and other prospective students? You may never have that moment where you just know, like a lot of people talk about. You have to trust you’ll make the right decison for you.

Continue reading

Have you taken the S.A.T.? Check out my helpful tips…


Recently I took the S.A.T and I was nervous to say the least. I had heard all the stories about how strict the rules were and how scary the test itself was. So I tried to prepare myself; I got the proper information from Susan Watters, my schools Fiscal Specialist.  She gave me the proper website address, info about fee waivers, and a small booklet that has quite a bit of information about what the S.A.T is, some of the rules, things you will need for the test day, and a practice test. My great aunt had also bought me the Official S.A.T study guide, which is this HUGE book all about the S.A.T. But alas November was a no bueno month (no good – for those of you who don’t speak Spanish)  so I did not get to study much.  I was able to look at the little booklet that I got from school, but I did not get a chance to use my Official S.A.T guide so I cannot tell you if it was helpful.

Anyways signing up for the S.A.T is an adventure as well, it has lots of questions and when/if you sign up try to do so from your personal computer, or if you must use a library or school computer be sure to take a flash drive with a photo of you on it so you can put it onto your “Ticket” which you must print out and take with you on test day – it’s what lets you take the test, and you can’t get in without your admission “Ticket”. Only you can be in your photo (no friends or pets in it) and it MUST be a recent picture of you. Continue reading

College Entrance Essay Clinic for Juniors and Panicking Seniors

Want to get a jumpstart on applying for college but aren’t sure how to write a college entrance essay that admissions staff will notice? Not sure where to start? Let us help! We invite you to attend our first College Essay Clinic for juniors and desperate seniors. Come with whatever work you’ve done–or haven’t yet begun–on your personal statement, and our expert mentors will guide you through the next steps. Bring just yourself, or bring your essay on paper, laptop, flash drive, or in your head. We promise the entire college application process will be much less scary afterward.

Saturday, March 7th / 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm / Grades 9 – 12 / at Fearless Ideas

(it may be months away, but spots are limited, so register soon!)

This two-hour event will be held on Saturday, March 7 from 4-6pm here at The Bureau of Fearless Ideas. It is free and open to juniors and seniors from all high schools. Students can come with something written or just bring themselves and learn about the college entrance essay process from our many skilled tutors.

Please print or pass the attached poster around. Spots are limited to 20 students, so please register soon at http://fearlessideas.org/programs/workshops.

Homework Help @ Your Library…and beyond!

Homework HelpWith school just starting, lots of us are stressed out with tests, quizzes, homework, extracurricular activities, friends. . . I’m sure you know what I mean.

The good news is that the Seattle Public Library is here to help.  If you find yourself struggling, there’s several important resources, available for all grade, ages, and often in multiple languages (though this varies from branch to branch).

First, check out in-person Homework Help.  This is available at Beacon Hill, Broadview, Columbia, Delridge, Douglass-Truth, High Point, Lake City, NewHolly, Northgate, Rainier Beach and South Park.  This service is generally available several hours a day, Monday through Thursday (not including holidays), but check with your individual branch, as the hours vary branch to branch. Students are able to treat this as a drop in session and are not required to sign up before arrival.

However, if your local branch is like mine and does not have in-person homework help, or you don’t want to leave your home, then take a look at online Homework Help (provided by SPL, powered by Brainfuse). This service is available seven days a week from 1-10 pm in both Spanish and English.  There, you will be able to get help from tutors for Math, English, Science, and Social Studies.  However, for this site you do need a library card and pin number. Continue reading

Embrace Standardized Testing! SAT and ACT help at your Library

StandardizedTesting-CreativeCommons-595x397 It’s that time of year again – spring is here, and with it comes the dreaded wave of SAT and ACT testing. If you’re a high school junior or of any other age and planning to take one (or both!) of these standardized tests this year, you might be freaking out. But testing stress doesn’t have to ruin the coming of springtime for you! The Seattle Public Library offers a variety of resources to help you study and to make standardized tests less of a reason to lose sleep at night. Continue reading

'Tis the Season… For College Interviews

The Bound-for-college GuidebookLast year, I watched many seniors stress and struggle through the college application process.  I have finally joined their ranks and now benefit from the perks, but have also inherited the additional burden of applying to colleges.  As a senior, I must begin my personal quest for the perfect college, while balancing normal school work and a copious number of other extracurriculars.  Who ever said that junior year was the most difficult, clearly wasn’t planning on higher education!

While most people have heard about writing essays for college applications, the interview process is a little less well known.  Many schools require some sort of writing supplement, but the interview component is much less consistent with some schools requiring it, recommending it, offering it or not even offering it.  I recently applied to a school early decision and they insisted on interviewing 100% of those applicants.  Once my application was submitted, my contact information was sent to an alumni in the area and we coordinated a time and place that would work for both of us.

Campus Visits & College InterviewsIn preparation, its better to be excited about the interview rather than being overly stressed and worried about it.  If you know anyone currently attending the school I would recommend asking them some questions to give you some background knowledge.  The purpose of the interview is for the interviewer to get to know you in a casual setting, not to interrogate or intimidate you.  They are usually thrilled that you want to go to their alma mater!  Additionally, the conversation shouldn’t be one way because this also gives you the opportunity to ask the alumni questions about their first hand experiences at the school.

The location is important and should be a nice place where it is easy to talk.  I ended up having my interview at a small coffee shop in the Central District that had a slight hipster vibe.  Another saying to keep in mind is if you aren’t ten minutes early, you are late because the interviewer will likely have arrived early and by no means do you want to be late.  The first impression is critical and you want to seem like a confident and collected individual instead of running in barely on time or a little late.  Setting up for success is important but your responses to the questions themselves are obviously the most important.

I had anticipated many of the generic interview questions such as, “What activities do you do now?” and, “Why do you want to go to this school?”.  My answers were genuine, well thought out, tied in my knowledge about the school and crafted my image as a dedicated student who would be an asset to the university.  Then I hit a few road bumps in the form of some questions I didn’t expect.  It was hard to think of my main weaknesses and even harder admitting them to the interviewer in a positive light.  Another odd question I was asked was what I would do for a month if money wasn’t a factor.  While some ideas popped into my head I had to think about my answer so it showed a certain side of me that I hadn’t already expressed.  I settled on traveling Europe and Asia with a focus on France because I learned French for four years and China because I was adopted from there and had never been back since.  I also emphasized that it would make me a worldly person because I knew that the school stressed that its alumni would have to learn skills to impact the world.  Knowing what the school valued helped me shape my other answers in a similar way to show that I would fit perfectly at the school.

Throughout the interview you want to seem attentive and naturally enthusiastic.  Don’t be afraid to talk about your goals at the school and what you have done in high school.  If talking about yourself is difficult that is something you will need to practice because essentially you are selling yourself as the ideal student for whichever school is interviewing you.  If all goes well, a strong interview can push your application above the other equally great applications thereby increasing your odds of acceptance.

-Rebecca, 17, Teen Center Advisor


Teen Space Presents: High Tea @ Northeast

English TeaNortheast is hosting a series of teas where teens can meet local authors, students and faculty at local colleges and universities and people in different careers. Questions are encouraged!


First Mondays, 3:30-5:30

  • April 1: College Life
  • May 6: Career Exploration

Everyone has questions and wants to know what’s up before they jump into something. Wondering if math is a requirement at the Art Institute of Seattle? Attend College Life and find out!

Not sure how one breaks into the fashion industry? Career Exploration might be right for you.

And hey, who doesn’t like tea?

The Northeast Branch will be giving out books by the authors attending the Local Authors event. Authors include: Conrad Wesselhoeft, Heather Davis, Liz Gallagher, Jeanne Ryan and Kevin Emerson.

Colleges included so far: University of Washington and the Art Institute of Seattle; more will be added as they’re confirmed.

Registration is not required, but it is recommended that you sign up to reserve a spot.

Call Northeast @ 206-684-7539 for more information.