Tag Archives: university

The Road to College Admissions

Lost for where to start your journey to attending a top U.S. college? Wondering if you’re behind your peers? Confused about what step comes next?

We have a map to help you find your way. There are steps you can take all four years of high school to improve your candidacy for a top university acceptance. With hard work and the right guidance, you can make it to the finish line! 

This guide walks you through each high school semester, but don’t forget to take advantage of those summers, too! Even if your teachers or peers aren’t thinking ahead, summer break is the perfect opportunity to set yourself apart.

Here are some suggestions for your superstar summers:

  • Rising Freshman Summer: Reach out to friends and look at the list of clubs you can join. You can also brush up on fundamental subjects.
  • Rising Sophomore Summer: Practice target skills, take a class at a local community college or online, build good writing and study habits, and explore extracurricular and academic interests.
  • Rising Junior Summer: Take more advanced courses in subject areas that most interest you. Start participating in camps or competitions. Start narrowing down your list of schools and majors. Prepare for standardized tests.
  • Rising Senior Summer: Apply for competitive summer programs, internships, and hands-on opportunities to set yourself apart. Begin the actual college applications.
  • Final Summer before college: Some schools offer bridge classes to help you adjust to college workloads. Otherwise – spend time with your family, check off any bucket list activities in your hometown, and get excited about your new home for the next few years!

Navigating the college application process can be challenging – that’s why we recommend speaking to a college counselor. Empowerly connects you with a team of college admission experts, handpicked based on your interests & goals. Whether you’re looking to develop your extracurricular profile or need support with summer programs or college applications, our counselors can boost your admissions chances to your dream college. 

Learn more about Empowerly here or call +1(800)491-6920.


An International Student’s Concerns

COVD-19 has caused worldwide concerns in the higher education space, especially in the middle of the ongoing decline in the number of international students studying at American universities. They are losing billions of dollars as reported in the March 2020 report of ‘NAFSA: Association of International Educators.’ There has been discussion on how it has impacted schools, colleges, next admission cycle, financial funding, how teachers are told to teach online. Most of the universities have moved to online teaching.

Some, like Boston University, are considering the possible postponement of their Fall 2020 semester, which will again put International students at higher risk because if they are not enrolled for a specific number of credits during a semester, they will not meet the visa regulations, initiating possible deportation proceedings against them. However, these are not the only challenges international students are going through, there are many more things we need to think about as we move forward. 

Take financial insecurity. Many of my American friends don’t know that International students are only allowed to work on campus for a limited number of hours to support themselves financially. These hours are further reduced during the summer semester for international students. Due to this unprecedented situation, international students are worried about how they will earn their livelihood and pay their bills with campuses closed. 

Traveling is extremely expensive at this point. Canada, India, and many European countries are on complete lockdown. International travel is expensive, and that is why international students choose to go annually or biannually.

Someone I know can afford tuition fees, but they depend entirely on their on-campus cafe’s job to pay bills. In these extremely uncertain times, the educational institutions are doing their best to offer most of their classes online, providing free food, supplies, and virtual support, but this is a temporary solution. International students have sustained the economy of American Universities and though international students may not be citizens or permanent citizens, they pay similar kinds of taxes on their income; another contribution to the US economy that has been impacted.

I have been worried about my friends and family. I am not at home to take care of my parents, and to seek solace, I have been talking to other international students. I realized that I am not alone, we are all stressed. One lost their family member, a few have economic challenges, my friend’s elderly parents are alone without any help. We do not know if traveling is safe, from both, an immigration and health point of view. 

Many students have invested their hard-earned resources for a dream to earn their degrees from America. University of Chicago’s Business Professor and Economist Anil Kashyap and Jean-Pierre Danthine at the Paris School of Economics are predicting a massive recession that will likely hit the job market shortly, which would be again detrimental for international students trying to find a job. Graduate students who are joining US schools from Fall 2020 also see an uncertain future because after they graduate in two or five years, depending upon what degree they are pursuing, may not have a stable economy waiting to welcome them. 

This situation is of global concern and everyone should take steps that are guided by morality and compassion. The American economy has benefited immensely from the contribution of immigrants. Far from home, they don’t have much direct physical support, unlike most other students, and everyone should come forward with a different approach to meet our challenges.

Saurabh Anand is an international Ph.D. student and a Graduate School Research Assistantship Block Grant (GSRA) fellow in the Department of Language and Literacy at the University of Georgia. A version of this article was first published in Duluth News Tribune.

A Lesson in Mindfulness at Yale University

A Toast to your Good Health

Some sixty people gathered at the Yale University Art Gallery on a summer afternoon to mindfully gaze at a single painting. It was the only one in the vast space. They stared and stared at a James Turrell print – the white, rectangular coffin-like box at the center of the frame was engulfed by varying shades of grey and black. It was bleak, and I wasn’t connecting with the artist. 

But then, standing by were Anne Dutton, teacher of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course at the Yale Stress Center, and Danielle Casioppo, a Health Educator for Being Well at Yale. Turrell’s ‘Shanta’ is the culmination of a five-week, drop-in session of mindfulness in art. 

Extensive research has established a strong link between meditation and neuroplasticity – the ability of our brain to change in response to something that we do and experience. In a 2008 paper titled Buddha Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation, authors Richard J. Davidson and Antoine Lutz point to several studies, including one which registered a stronger activation in regions of the brain of expert meditators – with an average of 19,000 hours of practice – compared to beginners.  

Intimidating data like this can leave many of us staring with longing and trepidation at the summit from base camp. But here’s some astoundingly good news: Harvard researchers in 2011 discovered a staggering link between short-term mindfulness practice and a change in brain physiology. The researchers took magnetic resonance images of 16 newbies before and after they enrolled in an eight-week MBSR program. The result? An increase in grey matter within the left hippocampus, compared to the control group of 17 individuals. After just eight weeks of practice, the brains of MBSR participants underwent a positive change in regions involved with learning and memory, the regulation of emotion, and perspective taking. 

Here I was, staring at a Turrell. 

“My work is more about your seeing than it is about my seeing, although it is a product of my seeing. I’m also interested in the sense of presence of space; that is space where you feel a presence, almost an entity — that physical feeling and power that space can give,” Turrell states on his website.

Are there techniques to help broaden one’s perception? I was about to find out. 

The group’s goal was to apply mindfulness methods to heighten awareness, to pay attention in a particular way, and to be undistracted by all other stimuli. 

To achieve this, we began with a body scan led by Danielle. From the toes to the head, you direct your awareness to specific parts of your body to identify tightness or discomfort. You mentally relax the area and somewhere along the way, you start to relax. Anne then had everyone focus on the breath – the sensation of the in-breath and out-breath.   

At the end of this exercise, we were ready to view the art again. Some reactions from the participants:

  • The box looked less like a coffin.
  • The art itself had gained awareness – it was reaching out to the viewer from the frame.
  • The participants reflected in the glass had become a part of the work.
  • After meditation there is a feeling of being unconfined. The little white box was now quite lovely.

There are so many ways of looking at art. At experiences. At life. At each other. At ourselves.  

“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are,” Anais Nin reportedly said. 

My afternoon at Yale culminated with my seeing the box not solely as a coffin, but as a drawer jutting out from the grey wall. A space opening up for me to fill with color – possibly kites, possibly scarves, injecting joy to the image. 

Both formal and informal mindfulness practice have three components, Anne told me.

  • Attention
  • Intention
  • Attitude – acceptance of an experience. You don’t have to like the experience – resisting it creates stress. It’s a bit like me becoming more open to the Turrell piece. 

I then asked Danielle if she could give you a simple, daily mindfulness practice that will fit into your busy life. She came up with this – but first, she offers some guidelines.

  • Do one task and one task only. For example, listen to the sound of water as you pour yourself some tea. Feel the warm cup in your hands. Be aware of these simple sounds and sensations. That means no texting while drinking tea, for instance. Don’t put your mind on autopilot all the time. 
  • Be aware of what you are thinking. “You don’t have to believe everything you think. You don’t have to act on everything you think if you don’t want to,” she says. 

And now, the practice. 

  • Start with one minute of observing your breath, once a day. In-breath. Out-breath. You can do this sitting or lying down. When the mind wanders, “gently, kindly, bring it back to the breath,” Danielle advises. 
  • After a week, increase your practice to two times a day, one minute each in the morning and before bedtime.
  • During the third week, you could do two minutes two times a day, or three minutes once a day. 

“You are giving yourself permission to pause and just be with your breath, your body, your cup of tea, your spouse, your child, your friend, nature – be fully present with that other entity. Allow the time to mono-task. Doing that is so good for our brains, our emotional self,” Danielle says. “That’s how we get so much more out of life.”  

Today’s toast comes hot off the stove

Sujata Srinivasan is an award-winning Connecticut-based journalist with the nonprofit Connecticut Health Investigative Team. Web: www.sujatasrinivasan.com. Twitter @SujataSrini


Anyone Can Become an Entrepreneur

With a billion people becoming connected via smartphones with the computing power of supercomputers, India has the ability to build a digital infrastructure that is as monumental as China’s Great Wall and America’s interstate highways. There are opportunities to create dozens of new companies as valuable as Reliance.

Just one thing could hold India back: That the people who should be availing themselves of these opportunities continue to believe that entrepreneurship isn’t for them but is the domain of young college graduates like those from Silicon Valley.

The reality is that even Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurs aren’t young and don’t have special backgrounds. They merely saw an opportunity and seized it. Anyone can become an entrepreneur.

I know, because I made the same transition.

I was 33 years old. I had developed a revolutionary technology at First Boston, a New York-based investment bank, and IBM offered to invest $20 million in it — provided that we spun the technology off into a new company. I was asked to take the job of chief technology officer.

I didn’t come from an entrepreneurial family and starting a business was something I never even thought of. My father was an Indian government official; my mother, a teacher. I had no entrepreneurial aspirations and had a wife and two children to support. Taking this position would entail relinquishing a great job that paid a hefty six-figure salary, for a startup that could easily go out of business and didn’t pay well. So it wasn’t an easy decision; but I took the plunge.

Our startup, Seer Technologies, grew to 1,000 employees and had annual revenue of $120 million in five years; then we took it public. The IPO was fun, but the experience thereafter was like a nasty hangover. The excitement had gone. Sick of the big-company politics and the obsession with meeting short-term revenue goals, I wanted out.

Microsoft tried recruiting me, telling me it would offer stock worth a fortune, but I couldn’t stomach the thought of working for another big company. So I chose to start my own company again. Having tasted entrepreneurship, I had become unfit for the corporate world, and there was no returning to it. My only regret was having wasted so much of my life in it. I was 40.

Some people say that my transformation was a fluke; that entrepreneurs are born, not made. They also say that successful entrepreneurs are young and have special entrepreneurial traits. Research — including my own Duke and Harvard team’s — says otherwise. But my health suffered due to the stress of running my second company, and I had to switch careers. I still didn’t want to go back to the corporate world; so I became an academic. And the question of what makes an entrepreneur is one of the earliest I researched.

My Duke and Harvard team researched thousands of American entrepreneurs. We found that the majority, like me, did not have entrepreneurial parents and entrepreneurial aspirations at school or university. They’d started companies through tiring of working for others; they’d had a great idea and wanted to commercialise it; or they’d woken, one day, urgently wanting to build wealth before retiring.

We found that 52% of entrepreneurs surveyed were — just as were Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Naveen Tewari, and Vijay Shekhar Sharma — the first in their immediate families to start a business.

While in college, only a quarter had caught the entrepreneurial bug, and half hadn’t even thought about it by then.

Family entrepreneurship, prior interest, and extreme interest, then, hadn’t heavily influenced their successes. So what had? Tertiary education — though not which university they’d graduated from — provided a huge advantage.

But what about all we hear of IIT graduates’ dominating Silicon Valley? It is a myth. My research team found that only 15% of the Indian immigrant founders of tech and engineering companies were IIT grads. Delhi University graduated twice as many Silicon Valley company founders as did IIT-Delhi, and Osmania and Bombay universities both trumped nearly all of the other IITs. Education matters but not the school.

We also found that, in the tech world, older entrepreneurs are not the exception but the norm. The average founder of a high-growth company had launched his venture at 40. Most were married and had, on average, two or more kids. They typically had six to 10 years of work experience and real-world ideas; they’d simply tired of working for others and wanted to rise above their middle-class heritage.

There is no real difference between Indian entrepreneurs and American ones. So if anyone tells you that you’re too old to be an entrepreneur or that you have the wrong background, don’t listen. Go with your gut instincts; pursue your passions. You’ll come to wonder why you wasted your time working for your idiotic boss.

Vivek Wadhwa is a distinguished fellow at Carnegie Mellon University at Silicon Valley and author of The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future

This article is published with permission from the author.

Chabot College: Spring Session Begins January 14th

Chabot College is a learning-centered institution with a culture of thoughtfulness and academic excellence, committed to creating a vibrant community of life-long learners.

Chabot College is a public comprehensive community college that prepares students to succeed in their education, progress in the workplace, and engage in the civic and cultural life of the community. Our students contribute to the intellectual, cultural, physical, and economic vitality of the region.

The college responds to the educational and workforce development needs of our regional population and economy. As a leader in higher education, we promote excellence and equity in our academic and student support services. We are dedicated to student learning inside and outside the classroom to support students’ achievement of their educational goals.

The colleges’ vision and mission are supported by the following collective values:

Learning and Teaching

  • supporting a variety of teaching philosophies and learning modalities
  • providing an environment conducive to intellectual curiosity and innovation
  • encouraging collaboration that fosters learning
  • engaging in ongoing reflection on learning, by students and by staff
  • cultivating critical thinking in various contexts
  • supporting the development of the whole person

Community and Diversity

  • building a safe and supportive campus community
  • treating one another with respect, dignity, and integrity
  • practicing our work in an ethical and reflective manner
  • honoring and respecting cultural diversity
  • encouraging diversity in our curriculum and community of learners

Individual and Collective Responsibility

  • taking individual responsibility for our own learning
  • cultivating a sense of social and individual responsibility
  • developing reflective, responsible and compassionate citizens
  • playing a leadership role in the larger community
  • embracing thoughtful change and innovation


Chabot College: Sign Up for Fall Classes

Chabot College in Hayward is a comprehensive community college in the heart of a thriving, diverse community where students of all ages and backgrounds can get a high quality education at an affordable price. The college awards associate degrees and certificates, and specializes in university transfer, workforce training, and lifelong learning opportunities. http://www.chabotcollege.edu/


The Secret Code: How to Study Computer Science without Majoring in Computer Science

It’s no secret that computer science is one of the hottest (and hardest to get into majors!) around these days. Here are some recent examples of how difficult undergraduate CS admissions is becoming:

As Computer Science grows more competitive, candidates for the major are being held to an increasingly high standard.

That said if, you’re a student who’s interested in computer science (but not 100% sure if it’s the right major!) or want to maximize your chances of admission to a top-tier university, you may want to consider some of these alternative majors instead.

But just how big of a difference is there between the admit rates for CS majors and ‘sister’ majors?

Well, among admitted UCLA transfer students for Fall 2016, requirements were considerably more forgiving for students studying alternative majors to CS.

25TH %

Applying to an alternate major can give students a complementary skill set, and often increase their odds of acceptance to universities where CS spots are limited. However, before you commit to an alternate major, consider the following:

  1. What percent/how many CS classes do students take with this major?
  2. What are the career prospects for this major- and how do they differ from a traditional CS degree?
  3. Will you be attending a school where you can minor in CS?

Discovering the best alternative major only takes two simple steps:

  1. Really examine: what draws you to computer science? Do you live to code, or are you simply generally fascinated by all STEM subjects?

Making this distinction is helpful. If you’re a true CS whiz and studying anything less wouldn’t cut it, then own this – and let that certainty guide your college search. And if not, you’ll have many excellent options to learn all about computers and technology without being a traditional CS major.

  1. Tap into you other passions! By choosing a major that combines CS with your other passions, you can greatly expand your major options.

Ultimately, by thinking outside the box and considering alternative majors, you’ll gain even more exciting and unique opportunities in a rapidly evolving field.