Tag Archives: College

La Jolla Tutoring: Things Students Can Do Before The Year Ends

La Jolla Tutoring Tips: Four Things College Students Can Do Before the Year Ends


The year isn’t over yet, but summer is on the mind of many students. While you cram for your finals – book your private La Jolla tutor today – it’s okay to do a little planning for your summer. College students are expected to stay busy and add to their life and work experiences over break. Here are four ideas to get you started.

1. Apply for an Internship

As you know, the job market is more competitive than ever and a good degree isn’t enough for highly sought after positions. Graduates are expected to have at least one internship in the field in which they wish to work. Make sure your resume is up to date, and have a template for a cover letter ready to go for when you find a promising internship. Most internships aren’t paid, but allow you enough time to pick up a part-time job.

2. Make a list of Goals for the Summer

Whether you want to learn a new language or visit a new country, summer is the perfect time for self-improvement. Choose things you enjoy and are curious about, then commit enough time over the summer to reach your goals. The more skills and life experiences you can pick up over the summer, the more prepared you will be for the next year of school

3. Look Back Then Move On

While it’s important to reassess the school year, it’s also important to not dwell. Don’t beat yourself up over missed opportunities or lower than expected grades. Commit to improve and move on. Our private La Jolla tutors are here to help you catch up over the summer and give you the confidence to make next year even better.

4. Plan a Trip

After a long, grueling school year, you’ve earned a vacation! Whether it’s a road tip in your home state or a trip abroad, summer is the perfect time to feed your wanderlust. Traveling is a great way to grow as a person, and will allow you to try new things and get out of your comfort zone. No matter how far you go, a trip to a new place will make you more confident as you head into a new school year. Look into study abroad opportunities at your University.

End the year strong with the help of a private La Jolla tutor from TutorNerds.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

Irvine Private Tutor Tips: Earn College Credits With CLEP

CLEP: College Credits for $85

College can be expensive. You don’t have to spend long looking at tuition costs or researching student loans to recognize that education after high school tends to be a costly experience. The average expected expenses at private universities are over $50,000 per year. State schools come in at over $25,000 per year and community colleges at over $17,000 per year (via College Board).

There are 44 million Americans with student loans, and the average monthly payment for these students after graduating is around $350 (via the Cleveland Fed). Taking on these costs is not something to be taken lightly.

Another factor that isn’t often considered by prospective students is the opportunity cost of education. If you are a full-time student, you likely are not also working at a full-time career. The years you spend studying in school are years that you aren’t working and making money – do well on the CLEP with the help of private Irvine tutoring.

With this in mind, it seems obvious that students looking at colleges and degrees should be strongly emphasizing completing their education CHEAPLY and QUICKLY. So, why have most college students never heard of the CLEP exams?

CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program

The CLEP exams are standardized tests administered by the College Board (the same organization that runs the SAT and AP exams). The purpose of the exams is to test your proficiency in specific college-level subjects. The idea is that if you already know the material of a college class, you can get credit for that class without having to actually take it. The caveat is that you do need to know the material well enough to pass the exam.

So what is the main benefit of CLEP exams? They are almost always cost-efficient. A college credit averages around $600 overall. Even just looking at community colleges, credits average $135 (via studentloanhero.com). The CLEP exams usually cost $85 each. Most of the exams grant an equivalency to a 3-credit course. That’s 3 credits for only $85. And, most importantly, that’s one less class that you have to take on your way to your degree. Classes take time, and if you can earn credits with CLEP exams, you can potentially knock out prerequisite courses, meet graduation requirements, and free up time and schedule space to either finish your degree early or work at your job while taking your other classes.

Passing five CLEP exams is the credit equivalent to a full-time semester of college classes at a cost of $425. There are 36 different exams to choose from, from accounting to American literature to Spanish to algebra. And remember, you only need to pass the exam – not ace it. Since the tests are standardized, there are many cases of students getting the equivalent of a ‘D’ on the test but still receiving passing marks. Colleges don’t get to see your score on the exam, only that you successfully passed it.

CLEP Opportunities

Now, how can you best take advantage of CLEP opportunities? First, check with your school to make sure they will give you credit for the exams. Thousands of colleges in the U.S. accept CLEP exams, including most community colleges. If you are going straight to a private university, however, you are probably out of luck with CLEP unless you transfer from a community college first.

Once you have confirmed which tests your school will give you credit for, it’s now time to choose which tests to take and study. Ideally, there will be exams that you already know the subject for very well. In these cases, a quick review might be sufficient to score you a passing grade. However, if you want to take advantage of the exams, you can shoot for tests that you don’t know as well. In this case, consider looking for an experienced tutor who can help you choose which tests to take and help you prepare for them. Some tests are easier than you might think (remember, even a ‘D’ can earn a passing grade on some exams), and a few weeks of focused studying can be enough to earn you college credit and let you skip a semester’s worth of lectures, homework, and quizzes.

CLEP can save you time, money, and stress. One $85 test can help keep you out of the classroom while you continue your education effectively and efficiently.

Michael C. is currently a private math, science, and standardized test tutor with TutorNerds in Irvine and Anaheim.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

Tips From an Interviewer: How to Ace Your College Interview

How to Ace Your College Interview (from a College Interviewer)


You submitted your college applications a few weeks ago and had just received some fantastic news: you have received an interview invitation! But that raises a few questions: how do you go about preparing for your interview? What are the most important topics to discuss? What should you wear? Here are a few tips to get you started – our private Irvine college admissions consultants are only a call away.

1. It’s Better to be Overdressed than Underdressed

Since I recently graduated from college, I tend to be a little more laid-back when I am interviewing a student to make them feel a bit more comfortable. But this does not mean I expect them to show up in jeans and a t-shirt. A good rule of thumb for all interviews is that it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. When I was going through my own college interviews, I would usually wear a dress shirt and slacks and bring a blazer in case my interviewer seemed like she meant business. During my time as an interviewer, I have interviewed students in all types of outfits, from full-on suits to board shorts and sweatshirts. And even if the students who were more casually dressed had amazing things to say, my opinion of them was definitely affected by their outfit of choice. And vice versa, even when my conversations with the suited students were not the best, I appreciated the effort they put into their appearance, and that reflected in my report (READ: College Admissions Essay Crunch Time).

2. Be Conscious of your Interviewer’s Schedule

I am aware that many of the students that are applying to these top-tier schools have a million things on their plate so I try to be flexible with interview scheduling, but often students don’t return that flexibility. I’ve emailed students with a few possible interview dates and students only to have them respond “I can only do X time on X day.” Now, there is a better way to go about asking for a different time slot, and that is not it. Many of the people who conduct interviews are busy professionals who have been kind enough to volunteer their time to meet with you, so be conscious of that. Remember to be respectful of your interviewer’s time and if you cannot do the time/date they offer, apologize and offer other options always making sure that you are not inconveniencing your interviewer.

3. Bring Only a Copy of your Resume/CV

The only thing you need to bring to an interview is your CV/resume in a nice folder and yourself. As much as I appreciate you bringing the 20-page paper you published on why soda is bad for you, am I going to read it? No. Interview reports are usually written right after the interview so I do not have time to read any additional material. If you want me to know about that paper you published, bring it up during the interview!

4. Give Specific Reasons as to Why you want to attend that particular school

I cannot stress this specific point enough. I attended a college in a big city with many other colleges, but whenever I asked students “Why X school?” They only ever answered: “Because I want to live in X city.” Well… what about all of the other schools in that city? You could use that argument for any of the other schools in that city.

Give me a specific reason as to why you want to go to X school. Maybe you want to go into architecture and you know that X school, in particular, has an amazing architecture program. I am especially impressed when students cite a specific class or professor that they are interested in taking or working with. The more specific you can get, the better because that shows that not only do you know what field you’re interested in, but also that you’ve done your research.

5. Bring Specific Questions about the School

Again, relating back to doing your research about the school, bring school-specific questions. Don’t ask me generic questions that you could ask about any school. Or, if you do, pepper them in between specific questions. I volunteered to be an interviewer because, as a recent graduate, I can give students a very clear idea of what the school is like and answer questions about the curriculum, specific classes, the learning environment, etc. This is especially helpful to students who are unable to visit the campus, so try to take advantage of that! I know it’s harder to do this with older interviewers who graduated 20+ years ago, but some things do tend to stay the same so don’t be afraid to ask them specific questions about a class or professors! I remember during my interview I asked my interviewer who had graduated in the 90s about a specific professor and, lo and behold, I had that same professor in college!

I know the idea of an interview can seem scary and daunting, especially if it’s the first ever interview you’ve had, but don’t worry! Just remember to research the school, your interviewer, and common interview questions beforehand. And, most importantly, be yourself!

Book your private San Diego college admissions consultant today! Our admissions tutors are experienced and have a 97% success rate.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

Why You Need an Irvine College Admissions Consultant

Four Reasons Why You Need an Irvine College Admissions Consultant


For many high school students, applying to college is the main focus right now. Whether you are applying to as many as possible or sticking to your top two or three, putting together a college application can be a lot of work. From a high GPA to extracurricular activities and sports, you’ve done all you can to put your best foot forward, but that still might not be enough to woo the admissions director. Fortunately for you, our private Irvine college admissions consultants are highly educated and experienced.

Though college applications vary, most consist of more than one piece. For example, a college might require you to submit your high school transcript, test scores (SAT & ACT), an essay, letters of recommendation, and possibly an interview. That’s a lot to put together, all while trying to present it in a consistent manner that makes you look exceptional.

The best way to get into the college of your dreams is to work with a private Irvine admissions consultant. Here are four reasons why you should get some extra help

1. Help You Stay On Track

As mentioned in the intro, applications require an assortment of documents, essays, test scores, and recommendation letters. A private admissions consultant has been through the process before and has the credentials to prove they know what they are talking about (you can book our Harvard-educated admissions consultant today). Your consultant will help you create a plan that fits in with the due date of the application. That way you won’t be rushing last minute to get a missing piece of the puzzle. Further, your consultant will be there to answer any questions you have along the way, which will save you the time and stress (READ: College Decisions: 3 Things to Think About).

2. Help You Stay Calm

Applying to college is stressful. While you’re busy writing essays and preparing for interviews, your friends are getting acceptance letters. It can be overwhelming for students as well as disheartening. Thankfully you’ll have the help of a highly educated consultant who knows what it takes to get into the top universities – you can get the assistance of a Harvard educated admissions consultant when you call TutorNerds today.

3. Take Your Application from good to great

College is getting more and more competitive. We do not doubt that on your own you can come up with a proper application. The bad news is that good doesn’t cut it anymore; If you want to get into the college of your dreams, your application needs to be great. Usually, admissions advisors spend more time on applications that catch their attention in the first few seconds. They can spot the great from the good better than anyone. A private college consultant will make sure your application catches their eye and keeps their attention.

4. Prepare for Your Admissions Interviews

Not all colleges require or offer an interview for admissions, but if you have the opportunity for one, we advise you take it. Whether it’s through an alumni connection or available to all applicants, an interview with an admissions advisor can be daunting. Thankfully, our private Irvine admissions consultants are pros and can prepare you for your big day. From prepping questions to ask to practice with mock interviews, a consultant is key to entering that interview with confidence. The last thing you want to do is to go into an interview unprepared and unenthusiastic.

Call TutorNerds today to book your private college consultant!

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

5 Things Every Rising Senior Should Do This Summer

5 Things Every Rising Senior Should Do This Summer

Senior Should Do This Summer

College juniors are excited that the academic year is finally coming to an end.  In many ways, college is almost over but there is still a lot to do before graduation. Additionally, once college is officially over students will need to start looking for jobs and adjust to a professional lifestyle. There are some things students can do the summer between their junior and senior year to make the last year of college and the graduation process run smoothly. Unfortunately, students who don’t keep track of graduation requirements and other relevant details may end up being a fifth-year senior at the last minute. It’s better to stay on top of things and plan ahead to have a great final year as a full-time student.

1. Look through transcripts

The first thing rising seniors should do is look through their transcript. Many students find out they are just one or two courses short of graduation, which can prevent them from getting their diploma the following spring. If a student made a miscalculation earlier on, there’s still time to make it right before the start of senior year. One option is to take some elective courses over the summer to get extra units. Another option is to take a heavier load of courses starting in the fall. Most universities have a range of what is considered “full time.” It might be better to take five classes instead of four and still graduate on time. If students are at all confused about this process, they are encouraged to speak with one of the academic advisors who can look through everything and make sure the student is on the right track.

2. Arrange work experience

Rising seniors are also encouraged to arrange some relevant work experience over the summer. This may consist of an internship or a paid position. Either way, it’s a good idea to have something productive listed on a resume the summer before graduation. Students who are overwhelmed with what they have already completed throughout the academic year and would rather just relax should know that many internships are only one or two weeks long but still add to a student’s resume. It’s important to have real life on-the-job experience as well as something impressive to put on paper.

3. Volunteer

Another great way to beef up that student resume over the summer is to volunteer. Sometimes, jobs within a professional field are simply unavailable to students who have not yet graduated. However, there is almost always a need for a volunteer. This is different from an internship in that students can set a more flexible schedule. For example, if an internship is from 8 to 5 Monday through Friday, that’s when the intern works. Volunteers, however, can say that they’re available Thursdays and Fridays from 2 to 6 p.m., for example. This is a great option for students who need to attend summer classes or need to have a part-time job to make ends meet (READ: 5 Ways to Survive Spring Semester as a Senior).

4. Meet with professors and TAs

It’s a fabulous idea for students to meet with their professors or teaching assistants over the summer or as the term is wrapping up. This doesn’t have to be a formal meeting in the professor’s office; it can be a simple meeting over a cup of coffee on campus. Professors and TAs can be a great resource when it comes to planning an entry-level career search or looking for an internship. Most of them have great connections and knowledge that other people simply don’t possess. Also, meeting with professors gives students an opportunity to ask any additional questions. If nothing else this meeting will let the professor know the student is genuinely interested in their major field of study and will maintain a professional connection for the future (READ: 3 Warning Signs of Senioritis).

5. Arrange and informational interview

Another great thing for rising seniors to do over the summer is arrange an informational interview with somebody in the field they plan to go into. This should not be confused with an official job interview. An informational interview is simply asking someone who is already a seasoned professional to provide some mentoring or advice. This gives students the opportunity to put questions without the pressure of having a full-time job on the line.

Summer is the perfect time to catch-up and get ahead on your schooling. Call us today for information on our Irvine summer tutoring.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.


Going Back to College: A Mature Student’s Checklist

Going Back to College: A Mature Student’s Checklist

Many students don’t have the opportunity to complete their college education in the traditional manner. There are endless reasons including finances, family obligations, and the need to start a full-time job prior to age 22. The nice thing about today’s flexible post-secondary education system is the possibility for students to finish their bachelor’s degree in ways that accommodate their lifestyle – Our amazing Orange County college consultants are here to help.


A mature student is generally thought of as somebody who is starting college at the age of 21 or older, or a student who is going back to college years after having ceased their initial college education. People who are 25, 35, or 45 have a much different lifestyle than those who have just turned 18. Mature students almost always have a full-time job, and many of them handle supporting children. Additionally, they are certainly not interested in living in a college dorm while they complete their studies.

Students who are considering going back to college should take a look at an initial set of circumstances to make their transition back to college as fruitful and productive as possible (READ: “Staying Focused At Community College”).

1. Scheduling

Students going back to college should consider the time they currently have to dedicate to classes. Assuming they are working 40 hours per week, that means 1 hour per day of studying puts them up for a 45-hour work week. Being realistic about the amount of time somebody has to dedicate to their studies and still be successful on the job will help them discover what type of educational program will best suit their needs.

2. Money

Although mature students are more likely to earn more money than their traditional student counterparts, they are also more likely to have additional expenses. Obligations such as a mortgage, financial support for children or spouse, and so on all contribute to the decision to go back to college and which colleges are affordable.

Students should also think about which colleges are for-profit and which are not-for-profit. Some universities geared towards adult learners are for-profit, meaning students will pay much more than they would in a not-for-profit program. Mature students are also encouraged to see if they qualify for a low-interest student loan that would allow them to afford the program that meets their busy schedule (READ: “College Scholarships 101: Burgers and Donuts?”).

3. Current Student Loans

In addition to thinking about the money an adult learner will have to spend to go back to college, they should also consider how much they currently owe in student loans. There are many opportunities for mature students to consolidate or defer their student loans, however, there are a multitude of scams out there, thus adult learners are encouraged to heavily investigate any student loan options before signing a piece of paper.

4. Transferring Credit

Students who have been out of college a couple of years will likely be able to transfer the majority of their credits to their new school program. However, students who have been out of college for ten years or more may find that some of their credits have expired. It’s important for a mature student to know how many years it will take to go back to school based on how many credits transfer over.

5. Online Schools

Online schools are becoming ever popular amongst mature students because they allow them to maintain their full-time job and save time driving to and from a bustling campus. Some online programs are highly legitimate, offer high-quality teaching staff, and provide students with excellent job opportunities upon graduation. However, some online schools are not accredited or only partially accredited; meaning that the students may spend a bunch of money only to find out that their degree is not valid. Perspective online students should investigate the current and future accreditation of any program before signing up or paying tuition (READ: “Extra Curricular Activities For Your College Resume”).

Bottom Line

Students who want to go back to school at any age are encouraged to do whatever it takes to achieve their dreams. However, before making a commitment to simultaneous full-time work and part-time study, students are encouraged to go through a checklist that will help ease the transition back to school and ensure success in the job market upon graduation.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.

College Scholarships 101: Burgers and Donuts?

Tips from an Irvine College Consultant: College Scholarships 101

There are dozens of scholarships out there that students don’t even think about. Most of these scholarships offer relatively small amounts of money but there’s no reason why a student can’t apply for, and receive, 50 $1,000 scholarships. Most students think that scholarships are very hard to obtain and should provide a large amount of money, making it a black-and-white situation. However, there’s a huge gray area where students can find tons of micro scholarships (scholarships under $1000 or so) to help them pay for their university studies (READ: “Tips From an Irvine College Admissions Consultant: Online College Courses”).


1. Dunkin’ Donuts

That’s right, Dunkin’ Donuts offers college scholarships! Students can apply for a scholarship if they can demonstrate that they are “well-rounded”, have a good academic record and are currently working part-time. $1,000 from Dunkin’ Donuts certainly wouldn’t hurt! Learn more here: Dunkin’ Donuts Scholarship

2. Burger King

Burger King offers large scholarships for high school seniors and smaller, $1000, scholarships offered by franchisees. The Burger King Scholars Program judges students based on their academic record and participation in their community environment. The minimum GPA for the scholarship is 2.5, which makes it a lot easier to obtain then some merit scholarships. Learn more here: Burger King Scholarship

3. McDonald’s

The Ronald McDonald House Charities and Scholars Program offers a maximum award of $5,000 to be given to high school seniors who are in need of financial assistance. Applicants need to demonstrate leadership and community involvement but also have a decent academic background. Learn more here: McDonald’s Scholarship

4. Denny’s

Denny’s offers more than just pancakes to potential college students. The Denny’s Hungry for Education Scholarship advertises itself as being multicultural and assists students from elementary through college to help them with their academic endeavors. There could be as much as $200,000 going to multiple students from elementary school all the way through college so this is a great opportunity for students looking for financial help. To be eligible, an applicant must be a citizen or current resident of the US and they can use the money for tuition, fees, and other school supplies. They must also have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA. Additionally, students need to write a 300 word essay in high school or a 500 word essay in college about how Denny’s can impact childhood hunger in their communities. Learn more here: Denny’s Scholarship

5. Carl’s Jr.

Carl’s Jr. formed the Carl N. and Margaret Karcher Founders’ Scholarship, which offers a maximum award of $1000 and is offered to high school seniors. The catch is that applicants must reside in one of the states that Carl’s Jr. operates; California is included. Applicants will be judged based on their academic achievements, community involvement, current work experience, and goals for future education. Carl’s Jr. will also consider financial need and personal family situations. Winners of the scholarship can use the money at any accredited two-year or four-year college or vocational program. Learn more here: Carl’s Jr. Scholarship

Who would’ve thought burgers and donuts could help somebody pay their way through college? But the reality is there are so many scholarships out there that students just don’t think about. Some of them are based on merit and others on financial need but there’s more than enough money out there to go around for students who take the time to invest in a short essay or online application.

Check out even more food-related scholarships here: ScholarshipMentor


tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.




Coping with Rejection: College Notification Letters

College Notification Letters: Tips On How To Cope With Rejection

college_notification_letters_rejectionCollege notification letters are due to arrive in a few short weeks. Most high school seniors are on edge at this point in the year, hoping that they were accepted to their first choice school. Although most students will get into college somewhere (especially if they seek the guidance of one of our Irvine college admissions consultants), they will also receive a rejection letter.

Students are advised to think about reasons why they may or may not be accepted to a particular university before they open their letters so as not become overly discouraged.

1. The statistics were against them

If the student applied to a university with a less than 10% admittance rate, the reality is the statistics just weren’t in their favor. Searching for a specific reason as to why they didn’t get into an Ivy League or near Ivy League school is not helpful and will lead to excess frustration. Students should not worry too much and know that it’s not necessarily a reflection of them as a student or person but rather the university’s picky admissions requirements.

Lesson learned: Resilience is powerful and is actually one of the best qualities a young person can have. People will receive multiple rejections before they land their dream job or get into the graduate school of their choice (READ: “8 Reasons Applicants Fail to Get Into the College of Their Choice”).

2.  It just wasn’t the right fit

Some students apply to school because they felt pressured or because of the school’s reputation. However, many students will not have conducted extensive research to see if the university was really the right place for them to spend four years. If the admissions department feels that they are not a good fit for a student, the student is not likely to be admitted.

Lesson learned: Students who attend a school that is not the right fit for them may struggle for the next four years; they should look at the schools they were accepted to and think about which one would truly be the right place for them to flourish.

3. Similar applicants

Many universities would like to provide a diverse student body so that admitted students can gain a broadened life perspective. A diverse population is a great thing and offers admitted students more opportunities to become multi-talented world citizens. However, this can sometimes play against an applicant if their application was similar to many others.

Lesson learned: It’s important that a student is able to stand out on their college application and offer something that their peers cannot. College juniors can learn from their older peers by thinking about what would make them stand out next year. Examples would include a unique volunteer or community service experience, taking AP exams outside of the norm, and fully developing a hobby or interest that is unique (READ: “Navigating the Basics of the College Application Process”).

4. The student didn’t apply to a diverse range of schools

Students are always encouraged to apply to a range of schools. Regardless, many students apply to several schools that happen to be very similar. Students who apply only to Ivy League schools, only to large public universities, or only to small specialized schools may find that they have more rejection letters than expected.

Lesson learned: High school seniors should look at the places they were accepted to and choose one that will be the best fit for them. High school juniors can learn from their older peers by remembering to apply to a range of schools when it’s their turn. The more the merrier when it comes to college applications.

On a rare occasion a student will find that they are not accepted to any of the colleges they applied to. This usually isn’t because of the student’s grades and test scores but rather because they only applied to “reach” schools or did not choose a “safety” school. Students who find themselves in this situation are advised to sit down with their academic counselor at school as well as with their parents and review how best to spend the next 12 months. Students who are not accepted to college at all should know that they are not doomed to a life without a bachelor’s degree. Students can always apply next year, but they should think about what didn’t work out the first time around so they can remedy these issues in the 12 months that follow (READ: “Tips from an Irvine College Consultant:  International Scholarships 101”).

In short

Although getting a rejection letter is emotionally difficult and frustrating, students should be advised that resilience is one of the best qualities they can have as a young person and try to move on as best they can. Students can then look at the list of schools they were accepted to and start focusing on a positive and productive academic future.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at pr@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

Ask a Nerd! “Community College”

Ask a Nerd!

Question: Is it a bad idea to attend a community college and then transfer to a 4-year university? Should I go straight to a 4-year university?

Brief: There is not a simple yes or no answer to this question. Where you should attend college is based on what your personal educational and career goals are.


Many students in California chose to attend a community college before going to a 4-year university. In my opinion, as an Orange County college admissions consultant, It is not good or bad to attend a community or junior college before a 4-year; it depends on what you want as a student.

Top 3 reasons students attend a community college and then transfer to a university.

  1. Money! Attending the University of California, for example, will set you (or your parents) back around $15,000 a year and that’s assuming that you live at home, eat for free at mom and dad’s kitchen and don’t buy any text books. Let’s be realistic and bump it up to around $18,000 per year or a grand total of $72,000. Attending SOCCCD (South Orange County Community College District), which consists of Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College, costs about $60 per unit. (12-15 units is considered full-time.) You’re looking at about $3,600 for two years of education, add in books etc… and you’re spending about $4,500 instead of $36,000. $4,500 is a realistic number for a person who is working their way through college or who is not able to face the amount of student loan debt that they would accumulate.
  2. Work. Many students pay their way through college, which means that they need to be part time students and work part time or they need a really flexible school schedule so that they can make earning money a priority.
  3. High School Transcripts. Many students didn’t get into the college of their choice (or any college) due to lower than average SAT scores, lack of AP classes, an unoriginal entrance essay, grades or other factors. Community college is a great opportunity to raise those grades and transfer to either the University of California or California State University.

Students who attend a community college can absolutely get a great education and transfer to a fabulous university (READ: “How Should I Start My College Essays“). Although there are some advantages to starting at a 4-year (assuming money is not an issue). Students who attend a 4-year from the beginning are essentially forced to get it together and make the adjustment to university life within one to two quarters (or semesters). Students are allowed to be on academic probation (a GA below 2.0) for one, and only one, term. After that, they are done. 4-year students must take college life seriously. This reality pushes many students to make their very best effort and not waste time on non-academic distractions. 4-years also offer excellent research opportunities to undergraduates who maintain a high GPA (usually 3.5 or above) (READ: “8 Reasons Applicants Fail to Get Into the College of Their Choice“).

Students who do decide to attend a community college should look out for a few pitfalls.

  1. The “7-year Plan”. Many community college students have every intention of transferring after two years but end up spending up to seven years as an underclassman. This can be a very bad thing and most students on this ‘plan’ eventually drop out.
  2. Lack of commitment. Some community college students don’t feel the pressure to do well and end up with grades that are not transferable (shoot for a 3.0 to a 3.5 minimum in order to transfer).
  3. Not planning ahead. Community colleges offer many classes that suit the community, such as yoga and website design. As a traditional student, these classes may or may not transfer to a program at a 4-year. Check with a career or transfer counselor at your local community college to make sure that you are taking the classes that you need, and only the classes that you need.

Bottom Line: You can get a great education as a transfer student or as a traditional student; commitment, dedication and persistence are key.

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7 Reasons to Study Abroad in the UK

Why You Should Study Abroad in the UK

irvine-college-consultantDoing a semester abroad or even a year abroad can be a fabulous experience for any college student – many of our Orange County academic tutors have studied abroad. However, many American students wonder how they will get along in a country where English is not the primary language. Studying and living abroad is a fantastic cultural and educational experience regardless of any language barriers or cultural shock a student might feel. I chose to study abroad in the UK and I recommend that you consider it as well (READ: “Why You Should Study Abroad“).

1. No Language Barrier

If you’re American, there is not a language barrier when traveling to and living in the UK. The Queens English is a slightly different dialect than Standard American English but most travelers won’t notice much of a difference and certainly not a barrier.

2. An Affordable Transportation System

The UK has an efficient and affordable public transportation system. Students who want to see more than just the university town that they are living in can easily get around by train, bus, coach (long-distance bus) or on foot. Personally, I preferred the train to busses as most train stations put you directly in the center of whichever town or city you wish to visit.

3. History, Architecture, and Art

American students studying in the UK will have the opportunity to view 600 year old architecture, visit many historical sites that far outdate that of the newer USA, and visit a Mecca of art and history museums (CLICK: “Top 10 museums in London“).

Study-abroad-UKImage via timeout.com

4. International Cities

The UK is rather international these days, especially in cities like London. If you want to visit all of Europe, but don’t have the means, spend a bit of time in the city and you will likely encounter people and food from all around Europe and beyond.

5. Charming Small Towns

Live the small town experience. I lived in a small town, in which I could walk the perimeter in about 3 hours. It is very convenient to be able to get to the local café, tea shop, supermarket etc… all within short walking distance of any given university or student flat (apartment).

6. Spend Your Weekends in Other European Countries

The UK, in many ways, is the gateway to Europe. Many students that I studied with lived and learned in England but spent many long weekends on the European continent enjoying the life and culture of exciting and beautiful countries such as France, Germany and Italy. (If you stay in the big cities like Paris, Berlin and Florence, you will likely be okay with just English.)

7. Visit all the Countries in the United Kingdom by Train or Boat

The UK consists of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, all of which have different cultures and histories. Americans with a UK student visa should easily be able to visit all of these countries by train or ferry (big boat).

A Few Drawbacks

The primary drawback to studying and living in the UK is that the local currency BPS (British Pound Sterling) is so darn strong. For Americans, this means that your US Dollar doesn’t go as far as you might think. Basically ignore the exchange rate when you budget your spending in the UK. In my experience a $2 cup of coffee in the US will cost you 2 BPS in the UK. Do, however, think about the exchange rate when you plan on how much savings you might need before you go (READ: “7 Tips for Studying While Traveling“).

A Few Tips Before Arriving in the UK

Check with your bank to see if your credit/debit card will work in the UK.England uses a different system called ‘chip and pin’.

Buy a pay-as-you-go phone and keep at least 20 BPS on it so that you can make local calls (alternatively you can purchase an international plan from your current carrier).

Water is not free at cafes and restaurants in the UK, so plan to pay for it.

In smaller towns, the last train might leave or arrive as early as 5 PM so check the train schedule ahead of time.

Trains do not ‘arrive at’ they ‘call at’ but it means the same thing.

The UK uses the 24 hour clock so 5 PM is really 1700.

VAT or Value Added Tax in included in anything you purchase so the price you see is the price you pay.

tutor logo Ask a Nerd! How Should I Start My College Essays? All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at info@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

Applying to college this year? Don’t go it alone. As college becomes harder and harder to get into, it’s crucial you take the admissions process seriously. Let our Orange County college admissions consultants get you into your dream university. Our experienced consultants have a 97% success rate!