UWC Atlantic College

The Uncommon Common App

When most people are first introduced to the Common App, they are told quite forcefully that this means the same application is going to be submitted to all universities, hence the name ‘common’ app. That, it turns out is not quite the case.

There are a number of possible reasons people use this. The most vehemently opposed reason is simply because people want to submit different things to different colleges for whatever reason. If anything, I find that it is quite reasonable to want to submit different essays. And even to have different activities. The simple fact is that you might want to emphasize and highlight different things in your application to different universities. Certainly, it doesn’t really help your workload given the mountain of things the Common App already requires, but it is a legitimate choice.

On the less objectionable end of the scale is perhaps the situation faced by people who submit applications early. Since your early application is then locked, it is equally logical that you may have new thoughts and ideas come the deadline for your other colleges.

Regardless of the reason, the possibility to do so is readily available. If anything, it is provided by Common App themselves. You simply create ‘alternate versions’ of your application, select different colleges for the respective versions and submit as you usually would. Of course, one must be careful that the right version is submitted to the right college and to keep track of all the various versions. But that’s no reason not to do it if you have the need and have the ability to manage yourself.

Let the refreshing begin!

Tonight/Today/This morning/This afternoon is the time when hundreds of people will be quietly sat around their computer with their finger over the refresh button as they await the release of IB examination results for May 2012. Results are retrieved online with different schools having different release times. Interestingly, some students have been notified by their school of their results, which seems to suggest that schools have already had access to the results of their candidates.

Global statistics have been released by the IBO (see here). Notably, “On average, Diploma students scored 29.83 with 109 achieving the maximum score of 45 points.”

6 ways to proofread an essay

University applications, an IB Extended Essay, coursework and even blogposts; sometimes I feel like I am really just an essay-generating machine. But thankfully, this has helped me improve my writing skills quite a bit. Even better, almost all of these were done digitally, which gave me more ways to double-check my essays before publication/submission. For those who’ve yet to discover some of these gems, here are 6 ways to proofread an essay:

1. Spell-check
This might sound obvious, but it really is a marvel of modern technology that you can do this. A simple way of making sure that everything is spelt correctly. It looks bad to anyone reading an essay, especially when it is submitted digitally, if there are spelling mistakes. What does it say about you when you can’t spell properly even when given spell check?

But beware, just because a word is spelt correctly doesn’t mean it’s the correct word. “I feel a lump in my throat” and “I felt a lump in my throat” aren’t quite the same sentence, even if they are spelt correctly.

Norway: Part 1

After many goodbyes and farewells at the formal conclusion of my high-school life, I promptly set-off for Norway, where I spent about two weeks. I, along with a group of above a dozen other AC students managed to land at Oslo Gardermoen airport despite a lost passport, two lengthy full-security bag checks and a lot of running from one place to another. After a (relatively) short train journey and a car ride, we arrived at Jacob’s (Norwegian co-year of mine) where we were more than happy to crash after a few sleepless nights signing yearbooks, or sleeping at Heathrow as was the case for a few first years.

The next two days were surprisingly lazy, consisting of a bunch of games in Jacob’s garden as we enjoyed the Norwegian sun, a lot of brilliant food and a trip to the beach somewhere along the way. I don’t know what got the better of me, but I somehow found myself atop a 10 meter diving platform, committing myself to launching off it. It’s probably relevant to note that I’ve never dived off anything taller than 3 meters and even then, (some 5 years back?) emerged with a sore back. 10 meters is a long way, but the scariest thing is the 3-4 seconds before you hit the water. It was enough time for me to wonder what exactly I was doing before I plunged into the water; or in the case of Oli (my Welsh roommate), to scream f*** 4 times. Let’s just say I probably won’t be diving anytime soon =D

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And we’re back!

Wow, it’s been a long time since my last post. IN fact, this has been the longest hiatus from blogging since I started back in October 2009. Although I continued blogging during trips overseas, debate championships and even my IGCSEs, the final IB exams were unfortunately, successful in removing my fingers from the keyboard. Thankfully, IB Exams are now over and all that remains is waiting for the results.

In the end-of-year melee at AC, what with yearbook signing and goodbyes, I decided not to post anything. Then it was off to Norway for a short holiday, much-needed after a two-year slog at AC. Then some friends visited Hong Kong, and I became a de-facto tour-guide. After all that, I finally had time to catch-up on a bit of sleep (two years worth), unpack and generally get life back in order.

Thankfully, all that is now dealt with. So let the summer begin!