Read a book/magazine/newspaper
The more you read, the better you write. Try to get through a book every couple weeks. We don’t expect you to read Shakespeare for fun, so anything without too many pictures is a good start. Google search “100 Great Books” if you really want some inspiration. A good place to start would be reading a magazine like Time or Newsweek. If you can read and understand every word and concept in a more sophisticated publication like The Economist, you probably don’t need our help.
Volunteer or get a job (or both)
Work experience is a great way to learn more about yourself and understand the real world. Just volunteering at an animal shelter or old folks home will help broaden your perspective, not to mention look really good on a college application.
Play a sport
American universities like students who have had experience in sports as it shows an ability to focus and act as part of a team. Go ahead and do organized sports, even if you aren’t that great at them, or even if they aren’t played competitively in America (e.g. Netball!). Sporting activities alone probably won’t get you into an American university unless you are nationally or world-ranked, but they certainly do help as the majority of top students in America play competitive sports.
Get on the interwebs and start looking at universities. Let’s face it; your chances of getting into an Ivy League school or Stanford, MIT, etc. are incredibly difficult, so start looking at other high-quality schools with programs that interest you in locales and with cultures that pique your curiosity. Talk to your school university counselor or consult the United States Education Information Center (www.useic.org) for some ideas of places to start. The College Board website also has a decent search engine for schools.
If you happen to visit the U.S. during your break, take the time if possible to visit nearby universities, even if they may not be on your early list of target schools. Exploring a campus environment and imagining yourself as possibly being a part of it in the near future can in itself awaken your inner drive to take the college search and application process a bit more seriously (and not go through the process just for the sake of satisfying your parents). Take a tour and talk to people there - you’ll be more relaxed about the visit since it is not on your list, and who knows, you might actually end up liking the school enough to apply to it after all.
Connect with us
Join our Facebook group by searching for “Testtakers Singapore”. Also check our Study in America blog at www.testtakers-sg.com with links to articles that may interest you. Follow us on Twitter (Testtakers_SG) Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.