Saturday, February 18, 2017

5 Mobile Apps to Download if You Are Applying to Colleges

For all of you transferring for the Fall 2017 or Spring 2018 Semester.

If you are still in the process of deciding which schools to apply to, this app is very valuable. It offers a wealth of information about every college. It also lets you search based on many different criteria. It even helps you find schools based on affordability and helps you find scholarships.

2- Common App OnTrack
The Common Application- the website a lot of colleges ask you to apply through, has an app available called Common App OnTrack. Although you can’t actually fill out your application on the mobile app, it gives you a good overview and lets you set reminders which is helpful.

3- Zeemee
I was introduced to Zeemee after two of the colleges I was applying to gave me the option to upload a Zeemee link. Zeemee lets you showcase your activities in a very visually pleasing way, with photos and description. It also lets you upload a video telling your story. Even if the colleges you’re applying to don’t ask for it, you can give them a link if they give you an opportunity to give “more information."

4- Scholly
I once clicked on a video titled something like “The biggest fight on Shark Tank.” Shark Tank is a TV show that lets startup companies pitch their ideas to investors. I started watching it, but gave up before it got to the fight part. The person presenting showcased an app for college students that helps students find scholarships. I applied for a few scholarships using this app.

5- Grammarly
This one is not an app, it’s  a google chrome extension.This is a spelling and grammar editor that works in the background when you type on different websites including the common app.  I found it to be extremely helpful when I wrote a lot of essays for college applications. I have a free account with them and I didn’t yet need to upgrade to a paid version.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Thinking of Joining the Honors Program?

     Rockland Community College is known for many things; exceptional programs, a dedicated faculty and staff, never enough parking spaces in the parking lots. But RCC may be most well-known for its flagship honors program. The Sam Draper Honors Program is challenging but nonetheless rewarding. As a fellow honors student, I encourage non-honors students who are motivated to join the program as the benefits are truly endless. Here is what you should expect if you are thinking of joining RCC’s prestigious honors program.

Harder Classes

RCC's honors program is a great opportunity!
You’ve guessed it. Honors classes will definitely be more difficult, but they won’t be impossible. The professors will expect more of you and the workload will typically be greater. However, every professor I’ve had in an honors class was very dedicated and helpful in preparing their students for success. If you put in the work, you’ll be fine.

Mentor Meetings

One of the reasons the honors program exists is to be able to give talented students a mentor who will guide them during their time at RCC. Your mentor will be a professor or faculty member and they will do anything from helping you choose what classes to take to listening to a problem you might have. You typically will meet with your mentor a few times during the semester.

Special Events

While most RCC events are open to all students, some are exclusive to honors students, such as workshops, seminars, and information sessions. They are not usually mandatory to attend, but they are still very helpful and informative.

     Joining the honors program isn't difficult. If you have the grades and think you are someone who could be successful in the honors program, stop by the honors program in Academic I, room 1226 and talk to the staff.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Why I'm Never Pulling an 'All-Nighter' Again

We’ve all been guilty of procrastinating and leaving a paper until last minute and saying “It's fine, I'll just pull an all-nighter”, myself included, but in the end what does it get you? A kind of decent grade? Maybe; Sleep-deprived and cranky? Definitely.
After I transferred to RCC from SUNY New Paltz, I vowed never to pull an all-nighter again. During one semester at New Paltz, I pulled at least 3 full all-nighters and dozens of nights staying up until 4 or even 6 in the morning trying to get my work done. I was miserable, falling asleep in classes and not doing as well as I could’ve had if I didn’t wait until last minute before working on an assignment
Snapchat of computer screen with time stamp 3:10am and caption "lol no"
When you pull an all-nighter, your grades aren’t the only things that suffer, but your mental and physical health can too. By constantly staying up all night, my sleeping habits got completely messed up, which affected my eating habits, which affected my mental and physical health: towards the end of the semester, not only was I miserable but I got very sick, causing me to miss out on performances for a show I had been working on all semester.

Trust me, pulling all-nighters are not worth it at all. While I’m still guilty of occasionally staying up late trying to finish an assignment, I’ve started putting my health first; along with doing assignments in a timely manner. Since I don't pull anymore "all-nighters", not only am I no longer constantly cranky or sleep-deprived but my grades have improved too. 

Have you gone to the Tutoring Center?


It has been two weeks since I started to work as a math tutor on campus. For students who might not know, the Tutoring Center is a place where students can get free tutoring for a variety of subjects, ranging from statistics to chemistry. I have been teaching basic math to precalculus. 

"Welcome!" A coordinator of Tutoring Center, Ms. Pamela Gerstheimer 
(a.k.a. Pam) always welcomes students with a warm smile. 

My job at the Tutoring Center has been pleasing. Students are always vivacious and assiduous. I have always been inspired by energy and motivation each student has.

"How can I help you?" Picture of me as a math tutor

However, here is my concern. I have realized that so many people do not know the presence of the Tutoring Center. I strongly feel that students are "wasting school resources" especially for those who are taking courses that they are not confident with.
The greatest advantage of the Tutoring Center is, it is free; all you need is your ID card and you can get an individual tutoring session. All the tutors are helpful and have done well in whatever courses they are teaching so if you have trouble understanding the concepts of some subjects, the Tutoring Center is the best place to go.

My student and I, tackling math problems together

Sometimes, Tutoring Center holds tutoring sessions for specific subjects, such as statistics and accounting. Not only do they have these special sessions (check emails frequently, information about these sessions have constantly been sent to all the students!), but some of the tutors are actually "professional tutors," including faculty at RCC and professionals who come from other institutions.
Although walk-in is available, I would encourage you to make an appointment with a tutor. (Especially when you find your favorite tutor!) We always welcome your visit! The Tutoring Center is located on the third floor of the Technology Building.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Letters of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation can make or break your college application. While your GPA and extracurriculars might be the first thing a college looks at when considering you for admission, good and personable letters of recommendation help you stand apart from other applicants. Here are some tips on how to go about getting great letters of recommendation:
  1. First, decide who you want to write a letter of recommendation for you. Typically, this person would be a professor but this could also be a coach, advisor, or community leader. Whoever you choose, make sure that they know you well. A person that doesn’t know you well, won’t be able to write a letter that’s personal. 
  2. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask for a letter of recommendation. Give the person you ask an ample amount of time to write good, quality letters on your behalf. Asking the person a month or two before your applications deadline is standard.
  3. Give them a “brag sheet.” A brag sheet is a document, either typed or written, in which you explain or brag about your extracurricular activities, accomplishments, and community service projects. This helps a professor, or whoever you choose, to write a letter that highlights your best characteristics and achievements. It is also helpful to include your interests, the schools you're applying to, and the classes you’ve taken on your brag sheet. 
  4. Professors are usually busy grading papers and teaching classes, so periodically remind them about your letter to make sure that they don’t forget about it. This doesn’t mean to hassle them about it, but just politely email them about the due date or if you have classes with them, remind them after class of the due date.  

Monday, February 13, 2017

Choosing the Right Major

     Is there anything more daunting then choosing a major? For some, choosing a major is an easy choice; from the moment they are able to walk and talk, they know that they want to become a doctor, or lawyer, or teacher one day. But for others like myself, deciding on the right major, and therefore career, can be rather complicated. 

     It’s okay to be unsure. I used to be very worried about not knowing exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but I’ve since realized that as a result of having so many different interests, the search for just the right major won’t be as simple for me as it is for other people. Don’t beat yourself up about not knowing what you want to major in because eventually you’ll figure it out and as cliche as it sounds, it really just takes time.

It's difficult when you have so many interests.
     The community college advantage. The great thing about Rockland Community College is that you’re given some time to decide on a major and career path, before transferring to your four-year school. You can take a variety of different classes and see which ones appeal to you the most. This way, by the time you matriculate at your four-year institution, you’ll be more confident in the major that you’ve chosen, and you’ll be less likely to switch to a different major, which would jeopardize your chances of graduating on time and make you spend even more money on tuition. 

     Your bachelors degree isn’t the be-all end-all. You’d be surprised at how many people end up in a career that has nothing or very little to do with their bachelors degree. In fact, i’d argue that it’s quite common, especially with the current job market that we’re in. Your bachelors is only the beginning and it doesn’t always foreshadow what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life, so don't put so much pressure on yourself.

     Whether you're a freshman, sophomore, or even junior, it’s completely okay to be unsure about choosing the right major. Now's the time to be unsure. Take different classes, experience new things, and eventually you’ll settle upon something that makes you smile. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Attending the Tu B'Shevat Seder

This week (Tuesday, February 7) I had the opportunity to attend the Tu B'Shevat Seder led by Akiva Gersh. Tu B'Shevat Seder is to celebrate the Jewish New Year of the Trees and Gersh explained and used foods, along with music, to talk about the different spiritual worlds as defined in the Jewish faith.

Students waiting patiently with their pizza at the end of the Seder. 
Gersh also talked a lot about eating with consciousness and used foods to represent the four worlds: Physical, Formation, Creation, and Absolute. The physical world was represented a fruit or food that you had to break through or peel, representing how people have to break through something to discover their spirituality. The second world, of Formation, was represented by a fruit that didn’t need to be peeled but had a pit. The third world, of Creation, was demonstrated by a fruit without a peel or pit and the final world, of Absolute, would normally be were an individual wouldn’t eat and would just smell something, usually incense, but at this Seder students enjoyed pizza, after using will-power to just wait and smell the food.

As someone outside of the Jewish faith, it was very interesting to see how the New Year was celebrated and the emphasis that was put on being conscious and aware of something as simple as eating. All the food represented some aspect of an individual’s faith and the world around them.