The Secret To Getting Good Grades

The Secret To Getting Good Grades

Want to know your chances? Find out here.   I’m stepping out of bounds and writing a controversial post. Some people might disagree with it or find it morally objectionable, but I’m writing about how to get good grades and this system works. In school you are taught that we live in a meritocratic society. We are taught that those that are the best are rewarded the most. This is a lie. In high school and even college some students get away with mastering the meritocratic system. If you want to be the student that goes above and beyond and read all of Shakespeare’s works even though you were only assigned Hamlet, be my guest.  You are a natural student, and you will likely be rewarded in an academic setting. But if you are not the kind of student inclined to do that, you can still get straight A’s. You just have to approach the process from a different angle. Human emotion is a much more powerful force than logic and reason. And even in a school setting, this rule still applies. Your grades are given by teachers. Teachers have emotions. Convince your teacher to like you, and you may be better off than getting 100% on the last quiz. Do you have to get 100% on the quiz to get your teacher to like you? Absolutely not. Teachers are human, and if you treat them as such, you may build a real relationship that can help in more ways than scoring a perfect score ever would. I was not the kind of student that was standout smart. I...
6 Surprising Reasons College is Easier Than High School

6 Surprising Reasons College is Easier Than High School

Want to know your chances? Find out here.   Have you ever had one of those days where everything was due on the same day? Like one of those train wreck days where you had two tests and a paper due on the same Monday afternoon? Those days are awful. In high school, they can kind of just creep up on you. You don’t have any clue what is around the corner and on Friday your math teacher might just spring it on you: “Test on Monday!” Eek! You planned to spend all weekend studying for your chemistry test Monday and finishing that paper for English class. How is it possible that you can get to studying for this math test also? You tell your teacher about the conflict, and they say, “Too bad. That is life.” Well it might be life in high school, but that isn’t life in college. Despite what so many of your teachers tell you, things don’t necessarily get harder. In a lot of ways, life in college is easier (and better). I recently wrote a guest post for the Ubind blog entitled 6 Lies the Media Tells You About College, and the pervasive lie that college is harder than high school was one of the lies I discussed. This lie is everywhere, but it just isn’t true. If you are already the type of high school student that is ambitious and motivated, life is about to get way better. This is why: 1)   College Means No Surprises In college, those awful surprise tests and papers you find out about several days in advance...
Don’t Forget to Turn in Your College Applications

Don’t Forget to Turn in Your College Applications

via YouTube I’m in Vermont this week with my family, and we decided to make a video to remind all of you to turn in your college applications by January 1st. My little brother Solon, who is a freshman at Yale, volunteered to star in the video, and he was hilarious. We used the microphone he received for his birthday last week to record the song, and we made the video in the woods, at the hot tub, and in the “Funzone” all at Smugglers’ Notch Resort where we come every winter. This is the place where I did my own college applications back in the day, and Solon’s antics reminded me of how hard it was to finish my applications during my school vacation. I hope you enjoy the video, but once you are done, please get back to work and make sure to get everything submitted before the...
Four Reasons to Consider Taking a Gap Year

Four Reasons to Consider Taking a Gap Year

If I could do it over, I would have taken a gap year between high school and college. I fantasized about my gap year during the last few months of high school. I would spend six months abroad, at least. I wanted to work on my Spanish and maybe also study a new language. Then I thought about maybe interning for an NGO in DC. I had always been curious about international relations. Oh, and I fantasized about sleep. Lots of sleep. High school was exhausting. I floated the idea briefly by my parents, and I could tell they didn’t think it was a good idea to take any time off. For better or worse, I entered Harvard in the fall along with the rest of my class. I made things work for me. Freshmen fall was a little tough – I think it is for many students – but I made it through and had a great four years. Yet when I think back to the students I met who did take the year off, I realize how lucky they were. They started school with some huge advantages, and they knew it too. Every single student I knew in who took a gap year said it was one of the best things they had ever done in their lives, and here were some of their reasons: 1)   Catch up on sleep Most American high schools start ridiculously early.  Even under the best circumstances, you probably aren’t getting enough sleep. It also doesn’t help that when you are trying to get into college, you are likely taking a course...