What to Do at a Virtual College Fair

[fa icon="calendar'] 7/3/20 9:30 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

If you’re a rising junior or senior, you’re probably starting to think about building and finalizing your college list. At this point, you may be wondering, “what do I do at a college fair?” or even asking yourself, “how do I network at a virtual college fair?” — and while this is unprecedented territory for all of us, luck for you, the experts know what to do.

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BS/MD Programs: Visions for Acceptance

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/30/20 2:07 PM / by Empowerly Team

The pyramid depicted below is a simplified rendition of our formula for college admission: at the base is academics, in the middle is activities, and at the top is vision. We are often asked how the regular college admissions process translates to admissions to BS/MD or BA/MD programs (also known as “direct medical programs” or "combined medical programs").

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What If There Aren't Any AP Classes that Relate to My Major?

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/26/20 9:00 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

Want to understand how to optimize your high school course selection and get on track for your intended major in college? Wondering whether taking that extra AP class will even be worth it for you? Maybe you’re just unsure of how fall 2020 will impact your AP classes and tests, or what to do to prepare. It’s a common area of confusion for many students, and for good reason. Why take an academically rigorous, college-level course, if you aren’t sure how it will help you?

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How to DIY Your Extracurriculars—and Get Results

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/23/20 8:30 AM / by Jennifer Liepin

At Empowerly, it has been heartbreaking to see our students' summer plans quashed, as many internships, externships, and programs alike were either canceled or attenuated. What might have been a full-blown summer internship with Cisco was now reduced to a couple of weeks of virtual programming. Summer research at Northwestern postponed. What is a student to do with their newfound time and a great deal of continued social distancing ahead? Well...

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Responding to the Common App COVID-19 Prompt

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/19/20 8:00 AM / by Julia de Raadt

Right about this time each year, college applicants begin brainstorming ideas as they prepare to write their college application essays. But this year, students find themselves in an unusual set of circumstances that differ from any other application year—they have just finished off their school year in the midst of a pandemic. In order to recognize the unusual circumstances that students are in, the Common App has decided to include a dedicated question to address the challenges and successes of students during COVID-19. We'll walk you through it.

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Learn How to Change the World This Summer!

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/17/20 3:05 PM / by Neha Krishnakumar

Did the COVID-19 epidemic cancel your plans for the summer? Are you left bored at home, with nothing to do? Do you have a great idea for a business, but are unsure of where to start? Or do your college apps just need a boost? 

If any of these questions apply, the National Youth Entrepreneurial Summit sounds like the perfect opportunity for you!


  • In light of current events, including the murder of George Floyd and the protests for Floyd and many others, we would like to express our support for the Black Lives Matter movement. As an organization, we are in support of the movement towards equality—and in order to do our part to make change, we have several updates as follows. 
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Stress Less: Mindfulness Exercises for Student Self Care

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/15/20 7:00 AM / by Norah Scanlan

The year 2020 has challenged all preconceived notions of what the future will look like for the current generation of high school students—and it's only June! That can mean a lot of pressure for students. With all the global uncertainty going on, it can be difficult to even think about making college decisions or planning for the next few years. We hear you! If you need a break, or some tools in your personal toolbox for how to cope with rising stress levels, read on. Our expert editor Norah shows us how to take a break and recoup your strength to keep going.

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Summer Activities for Humanities Students that are Social-Distancing Approved

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/11/20 8:45 AM / by Jennifer Liepin

Summer is here, and with it brings a wealth of opportunity to learn, try new things, and explore your interests in greater depth. It can feel a bit overwhelming at first, trying to decide how to spend one’s time over the summer; and without direction, one can easily find themselves developing a less than savory Animal Crossing or Fortnite addiction. We at Empowerly, as graduates of some of the top universities across the nation, have been there, done that—and we are here to give you some inside knowledge as to how you can make your summer meaningful and fun. 

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When to Start Working on Your College Essays? Now!

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/9/20 8:00 AM / by Jennifer Liepin

The beginning of your summer, your rising senior year, is the perfect time to start planning your first college essay. Your mind is no longer full of the memorized facts, equations, and extracurricular scheduling of the school year. You also are likely to have more time to dedicate the process of brainstorming, writing, and editing that are necessary to write a thoughtfully organized and meaningful essay. 

Do not sell yourself short in waiting to write this all-important piece that will be a deciding factor as to whether or not you are accepted to the school of your dream; start now!

 

Here's how to approach writing your college essays over summer.

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Weighted vs Unweighted GPA and How Colleges View Them

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/6/20 8:30 AM / by Madeleine Karydes

COVID has brought grading schemes under the microscope, once again. You may well know that schools evaluate academic performance in two ways:

1) in the classroom through letter grades, and 2) through Grade Point Average, or GPA.

You’re likely familiar the grading from A-F, but colleges are interested in overall performance—with a quick glance of your unweighted GPA which will fall between 0.0 and 4.0. Colleges could also be interested in a weighted GPA which applies more proportional weight to more difficult classes.

However, more and more classes are also offering P and NP. Wondering what that means? Read on for a breakdown of how this plays out today.

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What to Expect from a Counseling Session with Empowerly

[fa icon="calendar'] 6/4/20 6:05 PM / by Casey Monahan

Empowerly provides expert advice to high school students applying to college. Our counselors play a huge role in working one-on-one with our students to help them through the application process. You may be wondering, “what’s so important about getting college admissions counseling?” or “how can a college counselor help me?”

We talked to Sheelah Bearfoot, one of our fantastic counselors, to get the scoop.

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Case Study: How College Counseling Helps San Mateo Students Get Ahead

[fa icon="calendar'] 5/21/20 9:00 AM / by Empowerly Team

The city of San Mateo, located in the intellectually vibrant Bay Area, is an incredibly well-educated community. The US Census Bureau reflects an idyllic picture of a typical Northern California “brain hub” hotspot: geographically close to the Silicon Valley, residents bringing in a high median income (approximately $994k annually), homes boasting nearly universal internet connection, and of course, the classic mild California climate. 

Yet with a launchpad as great as this one, students are still feeling lost facing the college admissions process. With only cookie-cutter in-school support resources, where else do they turn for help?

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Pre-Med Opportunities You Can Do This Summer—and Stay Safe

[fa icon="calendar'] 5/20/20 3:15 PM / by Julia de Raadt

As students plan their summer (or rejig their plans) to accommodate for the likelihood that social isolation will continue, students interested in the medical field are probably feeling particularly stuck. The two typical extracurricular activities a premed student will do are off-limits: volunteering at the local hospital is a no-go; and research programs at colleges cancelled.

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What an Admissions Expert Has to Say About AP Tests

[fa icon="calendar'] 5/17/20 8:00 AM / by Empowerly Team

It’s AP season, so we talked to one of our wonderful counselors, Jennifer Liepin, about her own advice on AP tests. Read her thoughts below about:

  • why you should take AP classes,
  • how they help with college applications,
  • how to prepare for the test,
  • and what you should do if you don’t do well.
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Internships vs. Externships

[fa icon="calendar'] 5/15/20 7:07 PM / by Julia de Raadt

With the current state of things, finding summer activities are hard. Luckily, a lot of internships and externships have switched over to being remote, allowing students to continue to explore possible career paths without putting themselves at risk of exposure. But what are externships and what makes them different from internships?

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