How to pick a “safety school” when applying for college

download (3)Last week, I talked about deciding how many colleges to apply to and mentioned that you should have one or two “safety schools” on your list.

A safety school is a college where you’re convinced you’ll be accepted to. If for some horrible reason all of your other schools turn you down, you can count on your safety school to accept you, so at least you’ll have some place to go. Depending on how good your high school resume is, how selective the schools you picked are, and how many colleges you’ve applied to, you’ll almost definitely get into a school that’s better than your safety school. But it’s good to have a fallback option.

Unfortunately, a lot of students don’t put much thought into choosing a safety school and just pick the nearest college that they are all but guaranteed in to. This is actually a bad idea, because if you do end up going there, there’s a good chance you won’t like it.



What does a typical school week in college look like?

schoolhours-clockIf you’ve never been to college, it’s tough to imagine what a typical week’s schedule will be like. Even if you plan out your classes, it’s hard to say how you will actually spend your time, such as when you’ll be getting up, eating, and so forth.

Although everyone chooses a different schedule based on what works for them and yours will inevitably be unique too, a sample one is always good to have. For sports options click here.

Below is my schedule from the first quarter of my freshman year, where I took three classes: Astronomy, Bioethics, and a writing class (“Core”). Here’s what a typical week looked like for me:


  1. 8:40 AM: Wake up to loud alarm clock. Cuss loudly, then quickly shower, get dressed, and grab some food quickly in the dining hall.
  2. 9:30 AM – 10:40: Attend Astronomy lecture.
  3. 11 AM: Eat lunch with my roommate and our friends. Hang around for a while.
  4. 5 PM: Eat an early dinner with roommate/friends.
  5. 7:30 PM – 8:40 PM: Attend Astronomy discussion class, even though it’s optional.
  6. 11 PM: Grab some late night food before the dining hall closes.
  7. 1 AM: Go to sleep


You’re not the only one who’s got that so-called “one thing”

One Direction – One Thing…..

as we danced around her kitchen to one direction’s “one thing” my dear friend pointed out, “isn’t it kind of creepy that five guys are singing this to one girl?!”

the fact is, that it’s actually incredibly creepy. but yet, we’re so “immune” to just how strange, awkward and inappropriate this kind of creepy is.

it’s not a reputable source but i like urban dictionary’s definition of creepy: “a slang term for sexually inappropriate or perverted or for attempting to derive sexual gratification through dishonorable means.”


Introducing Bizad Blog

During the last few weeks, Bjorn and I evangelized corporate blogging to Dr Helen Chai, Assistant-Dean of Undergraduate Marketing and Admissions from Bizad. We were pleasantly surprised with their response which can only be summed up in one word: Enthusiasm. It’s really heartening to experience pockets of such enthusiasm in Singapore. My impression of the progressiveness of Bizad has been further strengthened by this project. They were absolutely willing to listen to our ideas and implemented it so fast. Check out the Bizad Blog here. Remember, it’s so simple right?

I think Dr Helen’s a really great blogger, blogging at odd-times of the day/night even. I mean how many professors actually bother to spend time blogging on weekends and evenings? How many actually bother to come down to check out their students sing? Check out their student’s ventures? I’m not sure if many people in Singapore would actually understand the impact of this project. As far as I know, I think this is a first among our three universities. The bba blog is now on my daily must-reads. It’s very interesting because it allows me to have a glimpse into the life of a bizad student and their successes. I feel better connected with the people at Bizad too because I hear their voices and their opinions. Overtime, I hope it will develop into a vibrant online community. Good luck Bizad!


The toys of yesteryear are not the toys of today

My mum was one hell of a storyteller – that is, if she could stay focused enough to tell it. She was famous for starting a story only to get so far off the beaten path that twenty minutes later she’d give you a blank look and say, “Wait. What was I going to tell you?” But as it usually was with my mom, when she geared up to tell a story people got comfortable and listened.

Of her stories about me, one of my favourites was the one about the Stashinator, a tale I was reminded of when I was over at Kgirl’s place yesterday, laughing as she tried to decipher her daughter’s toddler speak.

As I recall, I was a touch older than Oliver – maybe three and a half or so – when I started talking about the Stashinator. Stashinator this. Stashinator that. Here a Stashinator, there a Stashinator, everywhere a Stashinator. I wanted a Stashinator and I wanted one badly. (more…)

Honest Answers About Life

blog-walk-to-school-weekDid you have an enemy or bully when you were young?
Not really – I was teased in primary school but it was only childish taunts because I didn’t have the right make of shoes, or my pencil case was the wrong shape. In high school I tended to get on well with everyone – I had my own little circle, but I’d talk to anyone really. If we had a falling out then the bullying used to start but the taunts targeted weight or complexion etc. But I never remember going home and crying about it. Then I dropped out of high school and got my HSE diploma through the GED test and now I even help writing tests to help other people. Check it out here:

What part of your day-to-day life requires the most patience from you?
Travelling to university – it’s a 40 minute train ride, and then 15 minutes in a taxi to the campus. Sometimes trains are late so I need to wait for them on the (cold/miserable) platform, other times the trains are delayed mid-journey so I have to busy myself until we get going again. I time my trains so I get to campus with five minutes to get to my lecture, so often I don’t have the option of being delayed therefore being patient is quite hard in this situation. (more…)

The Day Finally Came: Graduation

So I got my final grades back and I’m keeping my 4.0. It was VERY close with a few classes, I am sitting at a 90 but who cares, an A is an A is an A. Thank God. I’m done. Graduate in 2 days and then its out of here. Still don’t know my future of law school though. I’m getting very tired of waiting.

In site related news, my bestest friend is getting a personal site again and I’m hosting it. I’ll post the link when she gives me the go ahead. Her and I are also working on a tutorials site which should be fun and interesting if we keep it going.

I’m so bored. I’ve been out of class/the final since 9am. I went to breakfast with Amber afterwords and then came up here to my room and have done ZERO. Nothing…besides talk to Emily and watch General Hospital. Its kind of nice. And tomorrow all I have to do is clean/pack and throw shit away.

Exiting. I should be scared, but I’m not. I found out yesterday, I think that I do not have a summer job as of right now. The place I worked at last year isn’t busy so they aren’t hiring full-time summer help. Boo. That just rips my summer plans to shreds unless I can find one quick. Its nice that they let you know a couple days before graduation, huh?

I’m off to try to do something productive 🙂


The moment N’kisi met with Jane Goodall

nkisi1N’kisi is a male African Grey parrot, 14 years old, that lives in New York City, and the bird has an active vocabulary of more than a thousand words. N’kisi is not mimicking human speech, he is actually conversing with persons. As far as I know is N’kisi one of maybe half a dozen parrots that were systematically trained to speak, listen, and communicate by their professional trainers or owners, , and these parrots are all African Greys.

From the moment N’kisi was young, he was hand-raised by Aimee Morgana who is a parrot expert and an artist. She started working with N’kisi and gave him language training already when the parrot was not even one year old. There is a movie (“When Animals Talk”) where you can admire N’kisi’s extensive vocabulary and be surprised by the bird’s relatively good communications skills. (more…)

Physical Fitness is a Serious Aspect of Personal Development

I’m big on fitness. I think it’s a serious aspect of personal development. In fact, I believe that if a person isn’t willing to develop themselves physically, then they’ll struggle all the more in developing in other areas. I understand that it’s hard and it adds another thing-to-do on our already exhaustive list, but it serves a serious purpose; health and self-worth to name a couple.

Imagine taking your car to get a $1000 tune up, but not paying an extra $30 to get the oil changed (after 10,000 miles)…it’s just matter of time until you’ll be back at the shop because you didn’t take care of all necessities.

Physical fitness is part of the package of personal development that can’t be omitted.

Mapping Tangible Lessons to Intangible Goals

Below I’ve shared some direct examples of lessons that I’ve taken from working out and how they have helped me with my overall development. The power behind the lessons are that I’m pulling them from a tangible environment where I can see and feel my results over time and using those learnings to help with the intangible nature of the mental areas of personal development.

Here we go… (more…)

College Interview Tips

The college interview is often the final step in the application process. Interviews are taken seriously so be sure to arrive to your interviews prepared!

Here are our top 9 college interview tips:

  1. Do your research. Consult the school’s website and view other review websites so you appear informed and knowledgeable.Harry-Potter
  2. Practice! Interviews go much smoother when you have practiced with potential questions and have planned a variety of answers. Practice with your parents, counselor, or even your friends.
  3. Dress professionally. You do not need to wear a suit and tie but be sure to dress conservatively and in business professional style.
  4. Bring a copy of your transcript and activity resume. This will show your interviewer you have come prepared. But be sure to know your personal history. Interviewers may ask about specific courses or grades and expect you to be able to explain your experiences in each class and activity.
  5. Have five intelligent questions prepared. It is okay to bring a sheet of paper or notebook with your questions written out. Create questions that are specific to the school and do not have obvious answers on the website. Try to ask open ended questions that will open up the conversation for further dialogue.
  6. Have reasons behind your five questions. An experienced college admissions interviewer recently told us that after a student asks him questions he responds by asking why that question matters to the student.
  7. Engage the interviewer. Interviewers often want to talk about themselves and their own experiences with the college. Remember to stay engaged in active conversation and let your interviewer talk as well.
  8. Aim for a personal connection. Try to find something in common with your interviewer and leave them with a lasting impression. This one is hard to prepare for as you may not know anything about your interviewer beforehand. Look for opportunities to make a connection outside of college topics during the interview. For example my friend successfully engaged interviewer discussing the value of the websites that publish the ranking of cheapest MBA programs. Keep in mind you should know a bit about the subject. ha ha.
  9. Follow-up and say thank you. Get your interviewer’s card or contact information and send a handwritten note or email within one week of the interview. In your thank you note be sure to remind the interviewer of the day, time and location of your interview to help job their memory.