Category Archives: College

What is a good SAT score?

Each student taking the SAT wonders about what score would be a good one. Is 2100 good? Or would only a perfect 2400 be considered a good score? However, instead of asking what score is a good one, perhaps the more important question is to ask, “Which college do you want to go to?” Different colleges have different SAT score ranges amongst their admitted applicants. Some colleges have an average admitted SAT score of 2250, whereas other colleges have an average admitted SAT score of 1950. There really isn’t one set ‘good’ SAT score. This is the first thing any student must remember.



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Writing Academically: What’s the Point? (Part I)

Whats_The_Point__by_Nose_MeatIn many of my blog posts I have made reference to the “academic essay” or to “academic writing.” I’ve discussed the differences between such writing and “creative writing,” listed tips to improve an academic essay, and introduced some of the basic components of such an essay, particularly the thesis statement and motive. Yet I have deliberately neglected answering perhaps the most important (controversial) question regarding the academic essay: What is the point of academic writing?

The five-paragraph essay is practically universal in middle, junior, and high schools. Your English teachers, and most likely your history, science, and philosophy teachers as well, will have encouraged you to form arguments about the subject matter they teach and put these into writing form. College applications demand essays, as do more formal applications for fellowships, jobs, and internships. Papers are the trope of every college course, particularly within the humanities student’s academic career. So what is the point?

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The College Application Essay: Part III

essay_writing_100-Last week we discussed some tips for getting started on your college application essay, after debunking several myths about the application process itself. By now, hopefully you have brainstormed enough and are feeling ready to pick up a pencil and begin writing. Grab your ‘First Impressions’ sheet we began last week and let’s get started!

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The College Application Essay: Part II – Getting Started

whats_your_storyLast week I debunked several floating myths concerning the college application process. Now let’s consider some more specific prompts to get the juices flowing with regard to writing that (overhyped) application essay.

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The College Application Essay: Part I – Myth or Fact?

common-appWhether you are a high school senior in the agonizing throes of the college application process, or a sophomore simply curious about what has been called “the most stressful fall of your entire life” (disclaimer: it’s not!), it’s time to debunk some myths. Once you have the facts, you will certainly be one step ahead of many out there!

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Learning How to Read: The Write Way

readingI’m here to teach you how to read.

Yeah, you heard me right. Kindergarten may seem like a fond, distant dream, but I’m not talking about ABC’s and phonetics.  I’m talking about reading. Let me explain myself.

In fifth grade, you probably enjoyed Because of Winn-Dixie. You received a numbered copy along with everyone else in your class and merrily charted the adventures of Winn-Dixie and company through pop quizzes, simple study guides, and big posters with lots of glue and (maybe) glitter.  In middle and junior high school, things became more demanding. Analyzing humans instead of dogs, you learned how to read for ‘plot,’ and ‘metaphor,’ and ‘conflict.’  Even if you were making posters at the end, you learned how to discuss, make arguments, and find hidden meanings in the text. By high school, you are doing even more. By senior year, you may be handed a poem or a passage from a text under the instruction to critically read.

This is the type of reading I’m here to teach you about today. There is a difference between Winn-Dixie and critically reading. While the former is crucial for your foundation in reading—really learning how to enjoy a good story—the latter is fundamental to your high school, college, and professional career.

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Much Ado About…What? Why you should read Shakespeare (now)

by Kathleen McGunagle

At a 2008 Freshman Convocation for the Catholic University of America, English professor Michael Mack delivered an address entitled: “Why Read Shakespeare?”: A Real Question and the Search for a Good Answer.” In his thoughtful address, Professor Mack emphasizes Shakespeare’s relevance to basic human existence.

“[Shakespeare] is for anyone who is interested in navigating the real world,” Mack asserts. “By getting to know Shakespeare, you have a tremendous opportunity for getting to know yourself.”

Other blogs, articles, and columns (including one shy thread on Yahoo! Answers) cite Shakespeare’s use of complex characters, brilliant lyric, intriguing plots, and the plays’ historicity. Lars Nilsen, in Badass Digest, even goes so far as to say: “You should read Shakespeare because he tells a better story than any other author, any filmmaker, anyone at all, because he tells your story.”

But at the end of the day, why should you pick up that dusty copy of Much Ado About Nothing? Why soldier through the life-and-death pondering of Hamlet? What do a pair of star-crossed lovers have anything to do with the 21st century with its i-phones and i-schedules and i-don’t-have-time-for-xyz’s?

Everything. Professor Mack is right: Shakespeare teaches you about the world, particularly the one that will be opening up for you very soon. College. And I don’t just mean in English 101.

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