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American college applications (Part II)

The first instalment of this mini-series gave an extremely broad overview of the general application process. This one will clear up some questions that were asked by readers through my colleagues. There are a couple of points that should be made clear, however, before this segment continues. The first is that this is a proactive thing; if you're serious about applying, you will have to bite the bullet and start visiting the websites and doing the research.

The first thing that needs to be cleared up is the SAT Reasoning Test- if you do not have an international credit card, there are ways to register here. There is a registration centre in Karwan Bazaar, which should be easy to locate, if you use Google. However, there have been complaints about the price if you do not have an international credit card. I regret to inform you that it will be more expensive registering without one, which means you should do well your first time. Finally, to make life simpler for everybody, take the SAT Reasoning Test instead of the ACT. There's more prep material for the SAT Reasoning Test and registration is loads easier.

The second issue is SAT Subject Tests. These tests, unlike the SAT Reasoning Test, have different purposes for different universities. Some universities could place you in different classes based on this test, whereas others use this as a measurement of how strong your school is in the respective subject you are taking. Most schools require two of these SAT Subject Tests, but some do require three. The registration for the SAT Subject Tests is almost exactly the same as the registration for the SAT Reasoning Test. Look at your college's application page to see how many tests you need to take, and if there are any specific ones they require. There is one interesting thing about taking the SAT Subject Tests: even though the registration information requires you to fill in which subject you want to take, you can change it on test day. For example, if you register for Mathematics Level One, but feel you are strong enough in math to take Level Two, on test day you can change it.

The final issue is the Common Application. Think of the Common Application as a huge fill in the blank document; that is what the majority of it is. Besides entering your name, ethnicity, address, etc, there are a few other things that have to be included for it to be valid. If you have not already taken a look around the Common Application, then this section is especially important. On the website, you can choose which colleges you want to send your application to. Every college has its own supplement, or additional information they want to know about you. Sometimes the supplement is more fill in the blanks, yet, on other occasions, the supplement follows a question/answer type format. Either way, you need to type the college you want to apply to in the search bar and select it. The Common Application is useful in that a lot of the information you send to colleges is all in one place- if your school is not a Common App school, you need to do the fill in the blanks process over and over again. There are essays with the Common App, one general Common App essay along with the supplement essays, and these essays are actually important, so you should get started quickly. There are also, among other things, a few forms attached with the Common App. You should take a look at these forms and decide who to send them to- they are easy to find and even easier to fill out.

One thing to note- there could be a huge list of colleges that you want to apply to on your list- but keep in mind you pay an average of $75 dollars for each application. That money is non-refundable as well. So, do your best to try and narrow down your college list to something reasonable, both financially and practically. You are trying to present yourself in the most positive, yet accurate manner and it would not be wise to waste $75 dollars on a whole bunch of universities.

The College Application process is time consuming, and since everything is pretty straightforward, most people put it off until the last minute. Most applications are due January 1st, and I omitted the date on purpose during the last article. If you start the applications on December 20, you are done for. Start now, pace yourself, and make sure you present yourself the best that you can. You do no favours to anyone if you rush through the application. Remember, college is probably the most important thing in life, and it would not be very nice if you messed it up. No pressure and good luck!

By Ihsan B. Kabir


A crusade against climate change

A little boy watched as his father ran towards their house. His lungi crumpled in his hands above his swiftly moving ankles, the father frantically made his way towards their mudhouse where they had left behind some badly needed money. The kid watched his father go inside. Suddenly, he felt the ground twitch a little. A crack appeared a feet from his tiny feet. Then he saw the house fall. This confused him how could the house fall, how could the ground fall? His mother's desperate hands pulled him away as he saw their house fall into the angry and growling river. He never saw his father again. Neither did he see a proper house again.

Events like these are neither far-fetched nor uncommon. Low-lying areas of Bangladesh are being constantly battered by floods that are eroding away land. Hundreds of people are losing their homes to the rising rivers and seas, and are making their way to the cities only to face harsher realities. In recent years, Bangladesh, along with many other countries, has been facing harsh realities of a changing world a world with increasingly ferocious hurricanes, unpredictable weather, droughts followed by flooding, and uncontrollable forest-fires. The list goes on.

The turbulent weather pattern can be easily associated with the greatest threat that we have ever faced climate change. What's more, this magnanimous threat, like many other threats in Hollywood movies, has been created by us. It has been brought about by our collective effort not the fault of any single military or any government or country. Our insensitivity towards the environment and lack of future-planning has gifted us this change.

Climate change is any change in weather. Nowadays, however, it is used to refer to climate change caused by humans. Since the industrial revolution, we have spilled out tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, without knowing what may be its consequence. This, of course led to global warming, and is currently leading to a rising average temperature. Sea levels are rising, weather is becoming erratic, crops are dying, ice is melting, permafrost is melting, and so on.

Unfortunately, although we know and seem to be talking about it, we honestly aren't doing much to prevent it. Carbon dioxide levels are still increasing rapidly and are now well above 350 ppm (parts per million), which is thought to be the tipping point. If we don't get back to 350 soon, the effects will be irreversible.

This December, in Copenhagen, there will be a conference amongst all nations in pursuit of a climate negotiation. People from all over the world are pushing for a fair climate deal, so that we can bring the levels down, so that we can save the world.

Fact remains, though most of the population has been responsible for carbon dioxide emission, innocent people are the ones who'll suffer the most. The family in the aforementioned story did not contribute to a carbon footprint, and yet, are the ones most affected. Worse, most of Bangladesh is exactly like this. Collectively, our country does not even have a negligible carbon footprint, and yet we will be one of the countries suffering most. It will be the people in the villages who will suffer first, not the people sitting in executive tables, thinking about building another coal-powered plant. At the end of the day, we'll all be on the receiving end.

Although the emissions in Bangladesh are relatively insignificant, reducing it counts insurmountably. After all, we do live quite close to the Himalayas, have the largest delta as our country and house a massive population. Every individual effort counts. Simple activities such as changing over to CFL light bulbs, turning off appliances when not using them (standby mode does use electricity), taking the plug out when not charging mobile phones (keeping the switch on without a mobile phone connected also uses up electricity), not wasting water, carrying the message to other people all over the world we can play our roles in combating climate change.

We are part of the generation that will suffer the most as a result of climate change. True, our fathers and forefathers have done their damages and us, being victims is undoubtedly unfair. But, we can still make a difference; we can still save our planet. It's time our voices get heard.

October 24th is the International Day of Climate Action. There are over 3000 registered events taking place all over the world that are uniting people, particularly young people like us to campaign against climate change. Do something yourself and add your voice to the collective shout that will reach to the ruling powers of the world to in Copenhagen this December. The world needs to see that there are millions of people who care for the planet, and ignoring them will lead to the greatest threat to existence that mankind has ever faced. It's now or ever.

Visit 350.org to find an event near you. Or, sign up for a city wide tree plantation drive at 350.org/1digreen; or join Bangladesh Youth Climate Network!

By Sudipta Saha and Sabhanaz Rashid Diya


Nature is beauty

The best remedy for loneliness is to step outside and commune with nature. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.

You know what they say; Great art picks up where nature ends. And with brilliant strokes of brushes and intricate us of colors Md. Abu Selim has depicted the beauty of nature on his canvases. Solo painting exhibition of 23 painting of the artist was inaugurated on October 8 at the Galarie Zoom of Alliance Francaise in the city. Graduating from the Fine Arts Institute of Dhaka University Md. Abu Salim has been organizing exhibitions with the painting of children. “Nature is beauty” is his 9th solo exhibition where the artist unveils nature with a unique perspective. To portray nature the artist picked up the elements from our life and surroundings. A little bird whispering to a fair maiden, a weary walking alone on the swirling path through the evergreen meadow, play of light and shadow with the blooming flowers in a flower vase these may be some simple subjects but through the artist hand these transformed in to some magnificent forms. Provakar, a student of Dhaka University, can't help himself expressing his mind about the painting, “Life of Bangladeshi people are simple and Md. Salim's paintings reveals our simple life in the most glorious way.”

What is nature? Is it the things which surround us? Is it the inner core of a human which makes us the person we are? Is it the sophisticated inanimate objects which leave us wondering about their existence? Nature is all of these things and nature is simple, modest and humble. Md. Abu Salim shows us all the shades of nature. The exhibition will remain open for all till October 21. So if you have some time to drench yourself with some excellent work painting this exhibition is a must go for you.

By Zabir Hasan
Venue: Alliance Française, Dhaka.



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