CollegeEducation

High school seniors all over are going through the same struggle right now. That’s right, college applications and interviews! As the deadlines start rolling in, many colleges start offering interviews which mainly take place between January and March. Here are the key aspects of what to expect:

First Contact

You get an email greeting you. Your interviewer has been assigned to you and introduces his or herself. They then ask for a place to meet, and may already have a suggestion. In my experience, all the interviewers had day jobs (one even worked at Goldman Sachs) and are really busy. They’re accommodating you because they’re alumni to the school you want to apply for. That’s why you should schedule a time that you definitely won’t be late for. Make sure you can get to the place on time. Sometimes it’s the college itself, sometimes it’s at Starbucks. Wherever it is, be polite and be quick to respond.

Preparation

Now that you know who your interviewer is, it’s time to do some research. Besides knowing as much as you can about the school, find out more about the person who is interviewing you. Can you find out what they’re doing now, what they majored in, or what year they graduated? It gives you a sense of what their experiences were like, and you can ask more informed questions during the interview.

Remember to dress appropriately for the interview. No chipped nail polish, graphic T­-shirts, or skin-baring outfits. It is pretty common to see seniors wearing collared shirts because they had an interview that day after class.

If it’s a webcam interview, which is an option for many colleges, make sure to be dressed appropriately and have decent lighting. Try to be in a room that wouldn’t be too noisy or that has too many distractions in the background.

The Day Of

Even though you’re really nervous, it’s alright. At this point, you should have practiced answering potential questions and have written your own for the interviewer. You are prepared! That’s why you can look your interviewer in the eye in a friendly, relaxed manner and that is why you have a solid and comfortable handshake.

The interviews themselves have a similar pattern. “Tell me about yourself. Tell me why you want to attend this college. Tell me what you know about this college. What makes this college the one, and not another college?” Try to come up with answers beforehand.

Then they turn the tables over to you. “Do you have any questions?” This is where your research comes in. Ask about a club you might be interested in, or about living options and the main benefits your interviewer got out of attending that college.

Follow Up

Yes. You have to do one more thing. The Thank You note. Remember, this person took time out out of a busy schedule to talk to you. The least you can do is show your respect. Try to reference things you talked about in the interview so they can remember you out of all the other students they’ve interviewed. It shows you’re interested, and you’ll stand out.

Applying for colleges is rough, and doing interviews for them can be scary. It’s alright, everyone feels that way. With enough practice and information, you can become comfortable with the process. Good luck!

Image: Gratisography

EducationSkills

Networking isn’t the easiest thing to do. However, after many awkward moments and trying new approaches, we learned that networking does get better with practice. After many events and opportunities to network, we have taken notes about what worked and what didn’t for us and put them together in a handy infographic. Take a look and happy networking!

Education

You’re in! After months and months of studying for the SATs or ACTs, maintaining your grades, filling out applications, writing essays, asking for recommendations, and impatiently waiting, you have finally earned a spot in one (or a few!) of the schools from your college list. Even after all that work, the hard part still may not be over. Unless you already know exactly where you want to attend school and have no doubts whatsoever, picking which college to attend can be a very stressful decision. When I was picking between a couple of schools, I visited them both again so I had a fresh perspective. Of course, I ended up transferring colleges, but I learned a lot from that experience and have a better idea of what to think about when deciding on a college.

These are the critical factors to consider once you have been accepted to college…

What Do You Want to Study?

This can be a tough question. You don’t have to declare your major until the end of sophomore year, and unless you have a direct path you want to follow, you should spend your initial semester exploring new topics and being open to a major you might never have thought of before. However, it is important that you take a look at all of the classes and majors offered at each school to be sure that there are at least three topics of interest to you. Think about which professors you would want to learn from, the types of classes offered, and the major requirements. These classes will be a major time commitment when you are at college, so choose a school that has departments that best correlate with your interests.

Visit the School Again

You might change a lot in the time between when you first visit a school and just before you graduate high school.

Talk to Current Students

If you visit the school again, be sure to talk to as many students as you can. Most students are willing to offer their opinions and advice. Ask lots of questions about their experience at that college to get a feel for if it will be the right fit for you. If you don’t have the opportunity to visit the school’s campus, read up on college blogs to get a sense of what the students are like. You may even be able to reach out to the school to see if they have the phone numbers or email addresses of students who would be willing to share their experiences at that college. It will be helpful to hear real life situations to see if you relate or not.

Talk to Alumni

Speaking with people who have graduated from a school you are looking at can be very helpful to see what their experiences were like, as well as what they are currently up to. Maybe one alum has a job somewhere you would love to work, or in an industry that fascinates you. You’ll get a very honest opinion from alumni because they have completed their schooling and have had a couple of years to reflect on their experiences.

Small versus Large

You probably thought about this when you were first creating your list of schools to apply to. I encourage you to think about this again. If you applied to both small colleges and large universities, take a moment to think about the environment that you learn best in. Do you prefer a smaller class size where you can get more attention from the professor, or do you enjoy being surrounded by hundreds of interesting classmates with a variety of opinions and experiences? The size of school really does have an impact on both your educational and personal experiences.

Financials

College is expensive. Period. If you received Financial Aid or Scholarships, congratulations! That’s amazing. However, if you did not, thinking about the cost of college is very important. Not only is the tuition an important aspect of this budget analysis, but also think about travel costs to and from college to home, food costs, and living expenses when you are living on your own. These vary for everyone, but the little things do add up and can play a crucial role in your decision making process.

Career Services

Let’s face it, you probably want a job when you graduate. Or an internship for the summers while you are still in college. Or maybe even a part-time job while you are attending school. Do some research and figure out which schools in your ‘Accepted List’ have strong and well-connected career service centers. These college career service departments usually have their own websites. Take a look and find out whether the school will help you with interviewing, job placement, and resume writing.

Extracurriculars

What kinds of clubs and organizations are available on campus? Do some research to find a couple of clubs that you might want to join on your first day. Are you playing sports or want to play a club sport? You should make sure your school of choice offers that. Have you always wanted to be a part of student government? A language club? Volunteer services? Browse through all of the offerings and think about what you might want to be a part of.

Study Abroad

Most schools offer study abroad, and many have incredible programs. Instead of asking generic questions such as, “Do you have programs in France or Spain?,” ask specific questions that will actually affect you. “Which study abroad programs are best for the topic/major that I am interested in?” Certain study abroad programs are stronger than others in certain departments, and you want to make sure your school can provide those options and assistance when the time comes to apply. Some schools have reputations built around their study abroad programs. If traveling and studying outside of the U.S. is important to you, then you should pick the school with the strongest study abroad program.

Personal Preferences

There is no question that you have personal preferences when it comes to which school you want to attend. Maybe you applied to a wide variety of schools so that you would have many options to choose from. If so, then this is very critical. Think about the things that really matter to you, besides the educational aspect. Do you want a campus or a more urban campus? Do you want to be in the suburbs or the city? How far do you actually want to travel to get home for the holidays? Does the school attract a certain type of person? Are there exclusive groups? Do you want to be at a school with or without a Greek system? To be taught by T.A.s or not to be taught by T.A.s? There are many small decisions that go into making the overall decision, so do not overlook your personal preferences.

Act Now

Don’t wait until the day before you have to commit to a school to think about these decisions. If you do, you will feel rushed and may make a decision you will come to regret. While you can always transfer, do you really want to do the entire application process all over again? Take it from me, it’s not fun.

SkillsSpotlightTravel

Welcome to the second installment of Dizzy Bats: Road to LP. By now, you all know Connor Frost, manager and lead singer and guitarist of Dizzy Bats. Dizzy Bats plays their first show tonight in Los Angeles to kick off their West Coast tour! In honor of their West Coast tour, Connor gives an in-depth look at what it takes to put a tour together, how to book venues, and shares photos from their Fall 2013 tour. 

tour poster

 

What goes into planning a tour?

There is a ton of planning and coordinating that goes into booking a tour. When booking the first couple of tours, you email a ton of venues in hopes that just a few get back to you. Depending on the venue you may have to get in touch with local artists in that particular town to fill out a night of music, or if you’re lucky, the venue/talent buyer will be able to fit you in on an appropriate night. Once you have a couple of shows locked in, then you can start to work from those dates and route your tour. You obviously want to limit the amount of miles you put on your vehicle, so you do your best to come up with a route that makes sense. Promotion is also crucial, namely getting on local radio to promote your music and show. Finally, lodging is the last piece. Most of the time you try to pick cities that have a friend or two, and thus, you have a place to crash.  That said, couch surfing and sleeping in the car are always options.

How do you determine where to tour?

It depends on what you are looking to do. If you’re a band starting out like we are, generally it makes the most sense to stay as close to home as possible and expand out your fan base in a concentric circular fashion. However, I myself have used touring as an excuse to travel to cities that I simply want to see, or to places that have warmer climates. It’s easier to do that when it’s just a solo tour because expenses are not as high. We also tend to pick cities where we know people so that we can A) have friends come out to a show and B) have a place to stay afterwards.

How do you book venues for each city?

I almost exclusively use this one website, indieonthemove.org, which is an absolute savior. They have a large and detailed database filtered by cities, ratings, etc. Once you’ve been on the road a few times, you start to make connections with venues you’ve played at and bands that you’ve billed with, so you can start booking shows through those contacts. It becomes much easier to book tours after you’ve been on three or four of them.

How much do you practice before touring?

It’s hard to quantify. It’s become a part of my everyday life, something I’m constantly doing and am completely immersed in, so I don’t think about it all that much. Before I hit the road I might run my set a few times I guess. For full band tours, we stick to practice once or twice a week which has seemed to work.

When on tour, do you still practice?

I consider writing to be practice, so yes!  I also see each show as an opportunity to better myself as a player and performer, so I also see that as a very important form of practice. If you’re talking about a set routine where I run my set, then no. I like to keep it fresh for the performance.  I do warm up vocally, however. For full band tours, we will literally sing our parts on our way to the show; usually not the whole set, but songs that we think need more attention. We’ll also go over game tape and talk specifics.

Why is touring important?

It’s not necessarily important for everyone, it really depends on what your goals are musically. For us, I believe touring is crucial for the expansion and growth of our fan base.  The internet is a wonderful tool for band development, but there is something magical about the live experience and personal connection that it provides for performer and listener that can’t be replicated on a computer. It’s the one true way to connect to a potential fan, and I don’t think that’ll ever change, which is a beautiful thing. Additionally, crafting and developing your skills as a performer is extremely important and can only be improved through playing and touring. I used to get really nervous before shows, but now that we’ve played almost one hundred shows in our tenure, it’s become second nature.

What is your favorite part about touring?

Meeting new people. When a stranger comes up to you after you’ve played to introduce themselves and compliment you on your set—there’s nothing more amazing that. That, for me, is why I do this.

How do you determine your set list?

It depends on whether or not it’s a full band or solo tour. For a full band tour, we like to mix it up with a different order for each show, and for solo gigs, I generally just play our newest songs. It keeps it fresh for me and I can see how the audience responds to these young tunes.

How do you budget for a tour?

Eat cheap, come up with a feasible route, and crash with friends.