Archive for the ‘College Counseling’ Category

These college posters are out…

Old School Buccolic College Posters

… In favor of these:

Less Bucolic College Poster for Hamilton

What do you see when you look at the Hamilton College poster directly above? Its rolling hills, ivy covered walls, and students talking on sidewalks crisscrossing green quads.  Look closer.  Hamilton (and soon others?) is aiming directly at prospective future students with its Quick Response code poster.  Unlike adults, like this aged blogger, 10 out of 12 high school students recognize QR’s.  With the help of their mobile phones, they can see through the black & white array to what Hamilton has to offer.  QR codes represent a URL which phones can sense and go directly to w/o the “drudgery” of actually typing it in.  The Hamilton QR points here.  Hamilton’s Dean of Admissions, Molly Inzer, told the WashPost that she wanted Hamilton to stand out among the sea of “pretty pictures” – and talk directly to students who know that a QR is their doorway to see not just pretty pics, but other info about the school.

Hat tip to Wanda!


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Janine and her bro, Omar at graduation

Burke alum, Janine Khraishah was an unforgettable member of Burke world, excelling in school, on the field and in service to the community.  After graduating from Burke in 2008, Janine went to Brown University where she was recently welcomed, as a Junior, into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society.  Here’s what she has to say about her experience so far at Brown and how life at Burke helped prepare her for Brown:

What are you studying at Brown?
I am studying International Relations with a focus in Political Economy and Middle Eastern Studies. My coursework is varied: Economics, Anthropology, History, Political Science, and Sociology, which is good because I think it is really important to take a variety of classes as an undergrad However, I’m concentrating in Middle Eastern Studies so that I will have in-depth knowledge about a particular area as well. Best of both worlds!

Favorite classes at Brown?
My favorite class at Brown so far is “Globalization and Social Conflict” taught by Professor Heller. You know a class is good when you are not looking at your watch every five minutes! This class really shaped how I perceive poverty and inequality in the world. Everything we learned was so relevant to what is going on in the world today.

Other things you’re working on at Brown?
In addition to my studies, I am on the Board of the Brown Muslim Students’ Association. Currently we are renovating the Brown Muslim Students’ Center: we have raised $12,000 so far! We also organize social events for Muslim students and other events that seek to educate the Brown community about Islam. I am also president of the Open Arms Initiative, a student group that works with immigrants (mostly Iraqi) in the Providence area, tutoring them in English and generally help them navigate life in the US.

What role did Burke play in your preparation for college?
Burke prepares you well to approach professors outside the classroom with confidence. At Burke, you are encouraged to talk to your teachers and  build relationships with them outside the classroom, which is a really important skill to have when you are one of five hundred students in a lecture-based class. I also developed strong writing skills and learned how to approach writing research papers at Burke, both of which are crucial college skills.

J9 and Bob K. and H.

What were some of your favorite classes at Burke?
Favorite classes at Burke included Chemistry with Bob and AP English with Robbie. Really good, challenging classes. Also both Robbie and Bob are really passionate about their respective subjects and it really shows through in their teaching.

Softball Senior Day

I am really glad I played sports at Burke. It was definitely integral to my experience at the school, and I made some of my best friends on those teams. I learned a lot of skills from playing sports that I still carry with me. I learned how to manage and organize my time better from balancing sports and school. I think its important to challenge yourself in different ways outside of the classroom, and being involved in athletics allowed me to do that. Nothing teaches you more about discipline like a 6:00 in the morning practice with Pam, or perseverance like trying to climb out of a 6-0  hole in a softball game!

What did the Burke community mean to you?

Softball Crew

I found that the community at Burke was strong and intimate. It is nice to go to a school where you are familiar with most everyone, and everyone knows you. Burke’s faculty facilitates this sense of community in a strong way. The teachers I had at Burke really cared about their students and would go out of their way to get to know them. That doesn’t stop when you graduate either. Last year I got a care package from Rachel Braun, went out to coffee with Robbie, and sent a few French papers I had written to Tamara for feedback. Whenever I come by something that I know will be interesting to a Burke teacher, I’ll email them about it. It’s nice to know that I’ll always have the support system I had at Burke.

Burke’s celebration and valuing of people’s differences also helped my transition to college. At Brown, I was really surprised by the diversity I encountered. I’m not just talking about racial diversity, which there is quite a bit of here. I also mean the diversity of interests that I have encountered. I have met potters, singers, poets, cricket players, breakdancers, and a lot more. I love belonging to a community where I experience such a mélange of people on a day to day basis. In high school, I found that my friends were quite similar to me, but at college that is definitely not the case

What does the Phi Beta Kappa honor mean for you?
I was really honored to receive Phi Beta Kappa. Phi Beta Kappa is not solely a reward that reflects the grades you receive. It also reflects the strength and variety of the coursework one chooses to take. At a school that offers its students an extraordinary amount of flexibility and liberality in the courses they choose, it is nice to receive a reward in recognition of how carefully and thoughtfully I have constructed the curriculum I have chosen to follow.

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It’s college notification week.  All across the country high school seniors are re-living their first grade experience of waiting to see who picks them for kickball.  Except now the choice is being made by people who know so little about the kids that put so much faith in them.  Why are we so willing to line up to be picked?

Marketing guru, Seth Godin advises that in most things you don’t need to wait to be picked – you should pick yourself.  In his recent blog post, Reject the Tyranny of Being Picked: Pick Yourself, he writes:

It’s a cultural instinct to wait to get picked. To seek out the permission and authority that comes from a publisher or talk show host or even a blogger saying, “I pick you.” Once you reject that impulse and realize that no one is going to select you–that Prince Charming has chosen another house–then you can actually get to work.

No one picked the Friday song girl...

He cites Amanda Hocking who made a million dollars putting out her own Kindle book with no publisher and Rebecca Black who reached more than 15,000,000 listeners (for good or bad) without a record label.

Is it that important that we get picked by the school; should it be heartbreaking to not get picked by a particular college?  Or is there another way to approach the next step after high school?

Seth Godin

Borrowing from Godin, if you’re relying on that one perfect school to pick you, it may be a long wait. On the other hand, once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have and can get all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound.

In other (Godin) words, you don’t need someone to pick you. Pick yourself.



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Students applying to Cornell University may want to read up on chemistry professor, David Usher.  According to this Cornell blog post, he sometimes gently awakens the occasional student asleep in his class by singing Nessun Dorma (”None Shall Sleep”) from Puccini’s Turandot or the Berceuse from Benjamin Godard’s opera Jocelyn, which begins, in Usher’s translation, “Oh! wake not yet from out thy dream . . .”

Chem teacher, Bob K., probably never needs to pull this out of his educational bag of tricks:

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Ranking College Rankings

The college search and application process went into high gear last week with the first scheduled break for Seniors to visit colleges.  Every year around this time we pore over the various college rankings that come out from US News, Princeton Review, Forbes, etc.  And every year, these ‘expert’ lists slightly juggle the ordering of the “usual suspect” elite schools.  As an example, Burke.Word bets that more than 95% of you can guess the top 3 schools in US News’ 2011 list (here’s a hint: many applicants would be HaPpY if they were accepted here).

But not everyone’s buyin’ it.  A couple of weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal came at things from a different angle, and ranked schools on the basis of its survey of large corporate recruiters, who last year hired 43,000 graduates.   Burke.Word bets that more than 95% of you (who didn’t read the article) won’t know the three top school on this list.  Here’s a hint:  Penn State (#47 in US News), Texas A&M (#63), and U. of Ill. (#47).  How can that be, you ask? Here’s what the recruiters told the WSJ:

“… [G]raduates of top public universities are often among the most prepared and well-rounded academically, and companies have found they fit well into their corporate cultures and over time have the best track record in their firms… State universities have become the favorite of companies recruiting new hires because their big student populations and focus on teaching practical skills gives the companies more bang for their recruiting buck.”

This isn’t to say that these schools are necessarily the best schools for any particular student.  And certainly lots of Burke kids go to elite schools, like Harvard, Williams, Brown, etc.  But it does show that there really is more than one lens to look through when evaluating what schools might be best for you. Ranking schools based on someone else’s criteria is pretty easy.  The harder and more interesting question is how do you rank your own criteria for what is important to you in a school.  Read the whole thing.

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Road Trips

It’s the middle of Spring Break, which means many things, including it’s time for some juniors and sophs to hit the road and go a-wanderin’ to different colleges around the land.  Below are some photos from some recent trips.  Let us know if you can tell where each of the photos come from – and you just might win a Burke.Word coffee mug (if we ever get ’em made).  Use the comment link below to send in your answers.

Also – let us know if you have some photos from your own Spring college jaunt – and we’ll put them up pronto!

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Wesleyan University meets with Burke students.

Wesleyan University meets with Burke students.

The college counseling office has so far hosted over 70 colleges and universities this fall.  As we continue to schedule more visits, you are encouraged to periodically check the school website for updates to ensure that you do not miss a school of interest.

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