Saturday, March 12, 2011


As you read this I am either a) trying not to fall asleep while taking the SAT (this would only happen during the math section. I simply CAN NOT concentrate on math for 20 minutes. I'm working on it though since it's kinda-sorta-majorly important) b) Anxiously waiting for the SAT to be over, c) Stressing out over what I'm going to get on the SAT, d) Hanging out with friends in an effort to forget about the SAT

I've been known to ask some college questions on Twitter (such as whether or not I should talk about my blog on my applications, which got a resounding yes and makes me want to hyperventilate or just to bemoan how expensive college is) and often people give me college recommendations. Sometimes it's their alma mater or they have a good friend there or they sent a child (or two or three) there. I decided I needed to a post for all that information. Basically, this is a post where I need, WANT advice.

What do you wish you knew about applying to college? What do you wish you knew about college?

Any advice is so greatly appreciated. Also feel free to leave college recommendations, and scholarship info. But let's keep it realistc. I don't think there's any point in suggesting Harvard because my GPA is higher than a 3.0 but lower than a 4.0. Dartmouth is out not only because of grades but because it's in a rather remote area. I don't know much about what I want in my college experience but I do know 5 things

1. Medium-Large student body (preferably with school spirit. I really like sports but I can deal if school spirit is lacking).

2. Suburban or city. NO RURAL

3. DIVERSITY (if the school only has 4% AA and 2% Latinos I can't do it. I would love to be at school where there are many Asian students and Muslims and Jewish kids because I've never been around that kind of environment on a daily basis).

4. Service opportunities. Giving back is a big deal for me so the school needs to have more than one service club, even better if it actively encourages its students to go out there and do something.

5. Excellent study abroad program. I haven't yet figured out how I'll pay for it (unless it's DukeEngage which is probably one of the greatest programs I've ever come across because it's service and traveling) but I want to have that option.

Bonuses: Field hockey team and I really really really don't think I can handle a school that requires 3 years of math. Preferably no math requirement, but I can deal with 1 year.

So I already hinted a bit at one of my dream schools but I refuse to deluge those details. why? I'll be mortified if I don't get into my dream schools and it wouldn't be fair for me to post the schools I don't really want to go to. Believe me I have a lot of reach schools and based on my GPA I'm probably in for some disappointments. But I'm going to try!

March 19-27 is my spring break and I'm going on a college road trip. Any recommendations of questions I should ask? I don't want to ask questions that could easily be found by searching their website.

Hmmm any more details needed? Oh! I have no idea if I'm going to go into politics/international relations or publishing. I do know that (at the moment) I want to major in International Relations and minor in something that I could use for publishing (marketing, English, not really sure what would be helpful right now).

But enough about me. This post is also going to contain my list of Diverse College Reads. That way, if by some off chance, a teen is scouring my blog and wants a list of books about/set in college, she will find the list and some advice :) I think that books about college students counts as YA and I know that I'm not the only one who wants to see more of these books. College is the great unknown and I think it's ripe for writers! It could be a really fun, challenging topic. I've seen a few more college books popping up, but to my knowledge, none of them feature a main character (or even secondary character) of color. So prove me wrong, leave lots of recommendations :D Some of these books have to do with applying to college and all that stress, and a few others talk about options besides college, which I deem as relevant to Young Adults.

About the College Process

Good Enough
by Paula Yoo

She's So Money
by Cherry Cheva

What Can't Wait
by Ashley Hope Perez

The Latte Rebellion
by Sarah Jamila Stevenson

Efrain's Secret
by Sofia Quintero

by B.A. Binns

Sunrise Over Fallujah
by Walter Dean Myers

Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa
(the summer before college) by Micol Ostow

So Punk Rock: And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother
by Micol Ostow, illustrated by David Ostow

Set in College

Beta Gamma Pi
series (Work What You Got=1st book) by Stephanie Perry Moore


  1. When I was first getting published (5-6 years ago), I was told, "There's no market for YA fiction set in college." The thinking was that high school teens only want to read about high school, and kids in college read adult books, not YA. So I was strongly advised to make my MC 17 instead of 18! This could be why there's not more YA set in college. Another assumption that the publishing industry makes about its readers...

    What I would have liked to know about college: That I was going to learn way more outside of class than I would ever learn in it. So it's good to find a campus that fits your personality and social needs as well as your academics. From your want list, I think you've got this covered.

    Best of luck on the SATs!

  2. I hope you survived the SAT’s! Good luck with your college crawl.

    I only applied to big universities due to my interest in science in high school, but liberal arts colleges are more focused on teaching and undergraduates. I was happy at my big name universities, but you have to be a self-starter. It’s a sink or swim atmosphere.

    I learned more about liberal arts colleges when my husband got a job teaching at Bowdoin College. He also was a product of big name universities (Oxford and Harvard) and has been favorably impressed with the quality of teaching and individual attention undergraduates get at liberal arts colleges. This is his 14th year at Bowdoin, and he’s now chair of Asian Studies. His courses often focus on racial issues and human rights. There is also a department of Africana Studies. During his time, Bowdoin has worked hard to attract more PoC’s: students, teachers and staff. He said the students of color at Bowdoin are about 20%. My husband is British and ¼ Chilean, but his field is Japanese politics. His courses are cross-listed in Asian Studies and Government. Every year there is a writer/novelist in residence.

    Brunswick is the biggest town in Maine with 22,000 residents, including many authors. The campus is in town so you can walk to the bakery, ethnic restaurants, churches, shops and an independent bookstore, run by the same guy who started it over 30 years ago. Plus campus has a bookstore and there’s a still open Borders at the shopping center. Students are encouraged to volunteer in public schools and get involved with community service. Brunswick is ½ hour from Portland, the biggest city in Maine, and 2 ½ hours from Boston. Maine is very white, but there is a community of Sommalian immigrants. We love it here and the students seem happy too. Bowdoin gets the top ratings for campus food!

  3. Our boys are going through the college search, too, so my thoughts are with you, dear Ari.


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