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Survival of the Fittest Part 2 University Apps

Registering for the October SATs generally shows an inclination towards sending in applications the same year. Early decision for most colleges end in November, but before that you'll need to go through the tedious process of applying itself. Let's break it down into sections.

Finding the college: The first thing you should consider is country. The three major choices are usually Australia, the UK and the US, with a few minorities such as Singapore, Malaysia and a few European countries. By now you should have an idea of what you want to study, so the next step would be picking your major(s) and minor(s). It's easy to think of the big names first; the Ivy Leagues, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge, etc, but you should also consider the viability of such options. MIT is a tech university. You can't study Business there. Don't laugh, people make that mistake. Find the university best for your selected major. You could go by colleges you've selected and look through their best courses to find out if your major subject is among them. Don't set your sights to cloud 9 just to find that Harvard is only first-class for law and med students. The Liberal Arts colleges are excellent choices as they have the highest international student acceptance rates. For those students set on studying a subject which would be considered a minority by most, the Liberal Arts College programs would be good to look through.

Essay: All colleges require you to send in an essay as part of your application. The Common App provided in the college website will supply the essay topic(s) and deadline. Now this is a vitally important part of the procedure. It's very possible to get a nod from the people who'll go through your application with a mind-blowing essay, and therefore you should seek guidance on how to write it, preferably from someone who was relatively recently accepted into a college/is currently studying in an undergraduate program, over your English teacher alone. Most such students have already taken help from a variety of sources, and their sample essays will let you know of the formal nature of the writing (think of your practice essays for the SATs). The English teacher meanwhile is but a single person. The university has no way of finding out whether the experience you've talked about in your essay is fact or fiction, but the general advice is to avoid taking advantage of this detail. Pull an honest attempt at being, well, honest.

Transcripts: Scream, kick and curse, but you've got to hand these in. What you were doing for the last three years in school. 9 out of 10 times, it's not pretty, mostly ‘cause the tests they give us are unusually hard to prepare us for the upcoming O/A'level exams. It's a great idea at a terrible time. An upside is that most schools actually want their students to make it in the world, so the last three years they'll help you out: going easy in the mocks, forcing you to do some volunteer/extracurricular work, even manipulating your scores. Downside: 'most'. Yeah, some talk about honesty and integrity, and don't mind screwing their kids left and right. It's easy to compliment their morals until you realise that these transcripts are just about the most important part of your application. So don't mess them up. They should be in order; they should be neat, legible, and not missing.

Recommendations: Yes, you need these too. A general recommendation from your school O/A 'level coordinator is in order, and private students should ask their teachers. You could collect recommendations from your subject teachers as well. One thing to be cautious with is how you go about this. Remember that your teachers can literally destroy your life with a single word right now. It doesn't hurt to be a goody-two-shoes and suck up to the worst of 'em the last six months of school. Don't misjudge the amount of time collecting them will take. You'll be surprised.

Deadlines They'll be here before you know it. DON'T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. Despite the foreword, 80 percent of you will, so there's no point wasting time on this. Just for the heck of it, you could TRY setting yourself deadlines for writing the essays, collecting transcripts and certificates, and running around for recommendations. At least the essays.

By Professor Spork

Into the Land of Ladies

'Ammu, do you have to go there?'
'But why...?', I whined.
'Because Ammu has to look pretty. It's Eid tomorrow.' That voice. A slight tightening of the grip on my arm as I got steered inside.

The first thing that hit me was the smell. It was a mixture of expensive perfume, rotting fruits and vegetables, and of course, fried hair. I blinked. Someone picked me up and dumped me into a chair, bribed with the rare treat of playing Snake 3D on Ammu's still-new cell phone. But this new world begged too many questions. First of all, what was this place?

It was dizzying. Mirrors on both walls made the room stretch out into eternity. There were ladies sitting in what looked curiously like electric chairs. Some of them had their hair teased up so high that it was impossible for them not to look like the bride of Frankenstein. Others had it down, covering one eye, much like the Cyclops I was so terrified of. Some of them looked deathly pale, like they had just been bitten by a vampire. I was beginning to get an idea of what this place just might be...

The Princess came in just then. I could tell it was her simply by looking. A long glittery dress, long flowing hair - she was everything I had heard of in my bedtime stories. And I knew exactly why she was here in this godforsaken land. She had come to set those poor creatures free, just like in the story! She probably had magic powers, too.

I waited, and watched as she greeted a few of her subjects. Then, to my horror, she sat down in one of those chairs, and a lady put a cloth around her neck, binding her to the chair, stopping her from escaping. The Princess was captured! Now those unfortunate creatures will never be free...

I couldn't let that happen. Not while I was here, anyway. Nobody seemed to be taking any notice of me; so I passed the fair maidens, the not-so-fair maidens and an ugly old hag or two on my way to the other side of the room where the Princess was. Her eyes were closed and there was a thick layer of slime on her face that had nothing to do with the Frog Prince. She was obviously bewitched, I thought. It was up to me to save everyone. Evil-smelling potions littered the table in front of her. That gave me a plan.

Instruments of torture were openly displayed - tweezers to pluck the women clean like a chicken before cooking (some sacrificial ritual, perhaps?), the sizzling hot hair-cooker, and a sinister contraption called an eyelash curler that was used to gouge the eyes out of unsuspecting women. I had to stop this madness!

I grabbed the first bottle from the table and emptied its contents on the Princess's face. Then I moved to the next woman, and the next. As expected, there was a huge uproar. The creatures shrieked in agony as the spell painfully wore off. The lady who had captured the Princess came charging after me, but I was prepared. I nipped her with the eyelash curler, and watched in satisfaction as she howled in pain. Nobody does this to the Princess!

Slowly, the creatures turned back to normal women, though they didn't seem very happy about it. The Princess picked me up and put me on her lap

'Where's your mummy?', she asked in a voice that was very unPrincess-like. I pointed to the next room. Ammu came in, furious, like she had just missed the season finale of her favourite Hindi serial. Apologies were hastily made, and in under two minutes, I was bundled out of the room. Once I could breathe again, I dared to ask her if the Princess was going to be all right.

'That Ayah's been telling you too many stories', she muttered under her breath.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out the last tiny bottle of potion. Rinse and Repeat, it said, though I was too young to decipher the symbols then. For me, it was a relic from a magical world called Beauty Parlour where I had saved a glittering princess and had become a hero, even with soggy diapers on.

By TheAlien4mEarth



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