College Road Trips: New England

Ever wanted to visit the New England area? Have you considered going to school there? With its varied nature and vast colonial history, New England is considered one of the most beautiful areas in the U.S. 

Not only does it offer panoramic mountain views and historical insight to the birthplace of America, but New England is also home to some top schools that you won’t want to miss!

Check out our itinerary for a College Visit Road Trip to New England!

Dartmouth College | Hanover, New Hampshire
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #12

We start our trip at Dartmouth College, a private institution located in rural Hanover. Considered much more than just an academic hub, students say it is an immensely diverse institution. Even the Greek system, which is the main source of social activity, is described by one student as having “a very large percentage of students involved which makes the Greek houses quite diverse and representative of the student body as a whole.”
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Dartmouth College

Williams College | Williamstown, Massachusetts
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” #1

A little over two hours heading north, you will come across Williams College. This private institution sits at the foot of Mount Greylock and the school even has a Mountain Day in October where students hike the mountain. Recognized as the first in the U.S. to wear caps and gowns at graduation in 1887, Williams College has popular majors in English Language and Literature, Mathematics, and Economics.  
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Williams College

Amherst College | Amherst, Massachusetts
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” #2

Next, drive a little over an hour to Amherst College. Known as the “singing college” due to its numerous a capella groups, Amherst is an academically demanding school with an open curriculum (which eliminates core requirements). Located in a small town, the area is geared towards college students and there are endless opportunities for campus involvement. You can also check out the University of Massachusetts at Amherst!
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Amherst College

Worcester Polytechnic Institute | Worcester, Massachusetts
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #59

About an hour away from Amherst college is Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Considered a “close-knit private school grounded in scientific education,” WPI is a highly hands-on research university that is reputable amongst engineers. Classes here run in a quarter system  which forces faculty to only teach the most important material and student grading system encourages cooperation instead of cut-throat competition.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to WPI

Harvard University | Cambridge, Massachusetts
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #2

The next school on our road trip needs no introduction. About an hour away is the famous Harvard University. Located just outside of Boston, so students are a skip away from big city activities, Harvard is recognized for its top-ranked business school, medical school, and law school (to name a few). Renown for being very selective of its students, you will find top academics and a hub for the country’s most promising youth.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Harvard University

MIT | Cambridge, Massachusetts
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #3

Just a five minute car ride from Harvard University is Massachusetts Institute of Technology (or MIT as it is most commonly known). MIT focuses on scientific and technological research with a great emphasis on problem solving and “how to think.” Undergrads also have incredible research opportunities with some of the nation’s leading professors.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to MIT

Brown University | Providence, Rhode Island
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #14

An hour away from MIT is Brown University. Emma Watson’s Alma Mater, Brown provides an Open curriculum which means students take the responsibility of designing their own courses of study. A lot of students, Watson included, decide on this university because it doesn’t have general requirements and allows students to build their own “academic journey.”
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Brown University

Yale University | New Haven, Connecticut
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #3

On the last stop on this road trip, you will drive almost two hours to New Haven, Connecticut and visit the reputable Yale University. Known as a prominent research university, Yale places “unparalleled focus on undergraduate education” and they require all professors to teach at least one undergraduate course each year. Students also comment on the seemingly endless resources they are given for learning in and out of the classroom.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Yale University

From beautiful countryside to an impressive menu of top schools, New England is a perfect destination for nature, sightseeing, and college touring!

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College Road Trips: Upper Midwest

Looking to do a road trip this summer? Wanting to knock out some college tours as well? We got the perfect trip figured out for you! 

Take the scenic route through the upper midwest and tour some of the finest schools in the area!

Washington University | St. Louis, Missouri
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #19

Our first stop is this private institution known for its range of academic fields. In the heart of a sports-fan city, Wash U offers a suburban setting and is also home to the distinguished Kemper Art Museum, which holds works by Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock. Known for its location next to well-respected medical facilities, Wash U can be a great choice for students interested in medicine.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Washington University

University of Chicago | Chicago, Illinois
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #3

Next, drive 4.5 hours to the windy city and tour the University of Chicago. Another private institution, this university is also considered a research institution with popular majors in Biological Sciences, Mathematics, and Economics. Located in the urban Hyde Park area, this used to be former President Barack Obama’s home where he also taught at the University of Chicago Law School for 12 years.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to University of Chicago

Northwestern University | Evanston, Illinois
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Universities” #10

Forty-two minutes away is another great institution. Northwestern University is a private school that focuses on experimental learning through their co-op programs. Through these programs, students “alternate rigorous classes with full-time work in career-related jobs for six months.” Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, Northwestern is also home to an observatory, Alice Millar Chapel, and the beautiful Shakespeare Garden.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Northwestern University

Grinnell College | Grinnell, Iowa
U.S. News & World Report “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” #11

Finally, just under 5 hours heading west, is Grinnell College. This private institution stresses self-governance and the ‘“very supportive” student body has the power to make change on campus. Set in a rural 120 acres, Grinnell still maintains a busy social scene with weekly events and cultural activities. This school also has high ranks for number of students who join the Peace Corps.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Grinnell College

This road trip is going to be epic! With a variety of schools and cityscapes, this is a one-of-a-kind trip that will give you a varied feel of campuses. So, get your bags packed, your visits booked, and your camera ready for an amazing College Road Trip!

College Road Trips: Tennessee

Looking to visit some colleges during your summer break? The Scholar Blog has broken down the logistics so you can hop straight on the road!

Check out some of the best schools of the south on this quick Tennessee trip!

Hendrix College | Conway, Arkansas  
U.S. News and World Report “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” #76

First on our list is Hendrix College, which we know isn’t in Tennessee, but, since it’s on the way, you can’t miss the opportunity to tour this private liberal arts college. Just down the street from Conway’s historic downtown area, Hendrix is also among the Colleges That Change Lives list.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Hendrix College

Rhodes College | Memphis,Tennessee
U.S. News and World Report “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” #51

Next, drive 2.5 hours to Memphis and tour this small, private liberal arts college. Also on the list of Colleges That Change Lives, Rhodes is recognized as a perfect location for experimental learning. With fortune 500 companies and other reputable institutions just down the street, Rhodes is also in the center of an internship opportunity hub.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Rhodes College

Vanderbilt University | Nashville, Tennessee
U.S. News and World Report “Best National Universities”  #14

After a 3hr drive from Rhodes College, you will reach the urban heart of Nashville and along with it, the “globally renowned research university” established by “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt. Located just down the street from the famed music scene the city is known for, Vanderbilt students have often stated that the school offers a unique social and academic life balance.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to Vanderbilt University

Sewanee – The University of The South | Sewanee, Tennessee
U.S. News and World Report “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” #49

Just 1.5 hours away is the final stop of this college road trip. Sewanee–University of the South is considered, among its students, an academically demanding school where “you must work hard to earn an A”. Popular majors they are known for include Economics, English Language and Literature, and Psychology; but it’s not always just about the grades. Set in rural Tennessee, this college sits on 13,000 acres, known as the Domain, and offers opportunities for caving, rock climbing, and mountain biking.
Click here to find out how to set up your visit to The University of The South

This summer is the perfect time to visit some colleges on your list, or even schools you haven’t heard of! Get some friends together, set up some visits, and hit the road to some amazing schools!

Start An Initiative

If you’ve been researching top school admissions, then you have probably noticed that top schools don’t just look at GPA and ACT scores. They want students that make a difference. But what does that mean exactly? That means they are looking for students that go outside of their comfort zone to help others. Whether it’s their fellow students, school, or community, they are looking for students that will be the next game-changers.

So, how do you become one of these students? You start thinking outside the box and take action!

Find
One of the ways to get an idea for an initiative is to find out about a problem that really interests you. As an example, consider the #PlanetOrPlastic movement.

In the May 2019 Issue of National Geographic, Editor-in-Chief, Susan Goldberg, wrote about the growing impact of plastics in our oceans. In her article, Oceans of Debris, she writes:

“Most of us won’t see microplastics’ harm at the level that scientists do. But with about nine million tons of visible plastic waste washing into oceans each year, we see clearly how it’s hurting turtles, seabirds, whales, and many other species. Isn’t that reason enough to join the global effort to reduce plastic waste?”

Think
Goldberg’s closing remark makes you stop and think. How many times a week do you alone go through disposable plastics? How many times a year? And now multiply that by the amount of people residing in your city alone. When you are impacted by a movement like this, what is your initial reaction? “I need to learn more!” And “I want to be a part of the solution!”

So you do the research. You learn more about plastic waste and take the pledge to reduce it at natgeo.com/plasticpledge . You call up your friends so that they know how to do it too. Maybe you purchase a reusable shopping bag or a portable metal straw and start making the decision to go as plastic-free as possible, but is that enough?

Act
It’s time to take action and to do that you have to come up with a plan! How can you, your friends, even your school and community get involved? Here are some initiative ideas:

  • Start a local beach clean up
    • Get some friends together and as you grow your group, make a competition out of it. The group who picks up the most trash wins!
  • Plastic-free at school
  • Get together with friends, teachers, or even meet with the school principal and talk about how you can reduce disposable plastics at your school.
  • Create other items out of plastic waste
    • Turn trash into art! Bring this idea to your art teacher and find ways to reuse trash. Perhaps you can make jewelry out of plastic straws, sell them, and donate the funds to research for the #PlanetOrPlastic movement.
  • Spearhead the #PlanetOrPlastic pledge at your school. Educate others and lead the initiative by having students sign up to take the pledge to not use single-use plastics.

There are limitless options when you consider starting an initiative that can produce a positive impact for your community. You just need to find what you are passionate about and run with it! Do you love writing, but can’t seem to find a creative writing class? Start a club and get other kids involved. Perhaps you show your interests to your principal and get a class started. Live somewhere more rural where it’s not as easy to get to your local library? Read about the Little Free Library Movement and come up with a plan to get one in your neighborhood.

It all starts with the first step of finding out about the problem, thinking about how to help, and acting on it. Remember, big change starts with small steps. Perhaps we will be reading about you next on National Geographic!

Community Service Options for RPS Students

You’ve probably heard about community service in the past, but have you ever stopped and asked, “Well, what exactly is community service?” Community service is work done by a person or group to help others and better the community. This is done for free and it involves giving up your time and effort for a helpful cause.

Perhaps you’ve heard of community service because it is a requirement for an extracurricular or a scholarship, but community service can be so much more to you than just fulfilling a prerequisite on a form. It is a way to give back to others and to learn more about the people in your community. It helps your personal growth and also helps you develop some work experience for future jobs and internships.

It is really important that you make a long-term commitment to an organization. This allows others to be able to depend on you and know that you will sustain your involvement. They can count on you because of your dedication. The more time you give will likely make the work more meaningful for you, as well.

Here are some community service options for Rogers Public Schools Students:

Arkansas Public Theatre
Ever been interested in theatre production? Volunteering at Arkansas Public Theatre is a great way to get involved in the arts. Whether it’s as a stagehand, usher, or the star of the show, giving your time for the arts can help bring culture to the community and support local talent.

Rogers Animal Services
Are you an animal lover? The Rogers Animal Services always needs an extra hand at the local shelter. Donate your time by helping clean kennels, walk dogs, and offer love to the pets that need homes.

Samaritan Cafe
The Samaritan Cafe is much more than a “soup kitchen”. Their main focus is treating everyone as guests and making them feel like they are having a meal in their own home. Volunteers are always needed to help prepare food and serve it in a loving way that follows their mission.

Saving Grace
Saving Grace is an organization that offers a transitional housing program for young women. You can contribute by offering mentorship, answering phones, or working as cleaning crew.

Rogers Public Library
Are you a book lover? Contribute at the Rogers Public Library by offering your time in the children’s and teen section. Whether it’s putting books back on the shelves or recommending one of your favorites, you can share your love of books to fellow patrons of the library.

Habitat for Humanity of Benton County
If you’ve heard of Habitat for Humanity, then you know they help build homes to eliminate poverty housing. Donate your time or find ways to score materials for upcoming projects for this organization.

More Opportunities:
Check out these other sites that list more opportunities and ideas for community service.

There are many community service needs in Rogers that require volunteers. Be proactive and stop in or start calling the organizations that interest you and ask them how you can help. Then, get ready to make new friends, get some work experience, and make a difference. All it takes is a bit of your time and a lot of heart.

New High School Seniors’ Summer To-Do List

This is it! It’s the summer before your senior year! There is so much to do this summer to get organized for college applications. Here are the top five items to work on this summer as a new High School Senior!

1.Narrow Down List
This is the time to do your final online research of colleges. Consider how far away you are willing to go to college. Take into account, whether or not you want to go to a college in a suburban, rural or urban area. Determine the size of campus or student population you prefer. Keep in mind that student/faculty ratio can be an indicator of how much access you will have to faculty on that campus. A lower student/faculty number can mean that you have opportunities to know your professors better. This can be helpful if a professor knows that you are interested in a certain topic and then recommends you for a research project in that field. Be sure to sit with one of your parents to do the net price calculator for each school you are considering. This will give you a fairly accurate idea of the cost of each college. Keep a spreadsheet that captures all of the costs and other information you need for each college. Track the deadlines, the number of recommendations and whether or not an additional essay is required.

2.Teacher Recommendation Letters
Put together a list of teachers who teach core subjects and whose class you have taken. Perhaps you have consistently done well in their subject or they have been great mentors to you? These are the teachers you need to reach out to for recommendation letters. Reach out to them and ask if they are comfortable writing a recommendation letter for you. Provide them with some information about yourself and your college career goals. (Fill out the RHA Recommendation Form and then make copies of it for each of your teachers. This will give them more information about you and help them be able to write a stronger letter of recommendation.)

3. College Application Essays
Look at the Common Application essay prompts for 2020. Draft some outlines for a few of the ones that resonate with you. Use this summer to do several drafts of one or two of the prompts. You should also prepare a 300 word essay on why you are interested in certain colleges if those colleges require this supplemental essay. Re-visit the website. Read about the mission and philosophy of the college. Determine if there are professors with whom you would love to study. Find out more about their research. While you can ask others to help edit your draft, remember that this should be in your own voice. The essay should convey your unique perspective on the world and/or give the reader a sense of your personality and, perhaps, what is important to you.

4. Community Service
It is really important that the community service work you do involves you putting in time long-term on an issue or place of need that you are passionate about. Do not spread yourself thin. Focus your time on the area or issue that you care deeply about. You may be making an impact on a few people, one person at a time or working in the Humane Society with a consistent schedule, building relationships with others. Remember that community service can be helping out an elderly family member or neighbor or getting involved raising local awareness about national environmental campaigns or initiatives. Reach out to Ms. Fontaine if you need additional ideas about your community service.

5. Tour List
Once you have your list of colleges narrowed down, it’s time to come up with a plan to tour those schools! Get together with your parents and start mapping out a road trip plan. Google “name of college visit”. Register for an information session and campus tour on a date that works for you.  You can also look at the RHA website calendar to see if they will be visiting the colleges you are interested in. If you are able to, sign up in advance!

There are plenty of things to do this summer (even just reading a few great books is great) so you can get ahead of the college application process! This is the time to narrow down your choices for your future education. These five items are sure to reduce your stress during your last year of high school!

New High School Sophomores’ Summer To-Do List

It’s summer and you are now a rising sophomore! Don’t wait until senior year to start preparing for the college application process. Actually, the earlier you prepare, the better! Check out this list of the top 5 things to do this summer as a rising sophomore!

1. ACT / SAT Prep
As a sophomore, you will probably start taking ACT / SAT practice tests at school or take the real thing by the end of the year, so this is the perfect time to start getting to know the sort of questions that will be on the test. Pick up an ACT / SAT Prep book for your local bookstore or library. Set an alarm and time yourself as you complete each practice exam. Go online to Khan Academy for SAT and AP tutorials (among other things)!

2. Find Your Field
This summer is the perfect time to start thinking about what interests you for a future career! Perhaps you enjoy writing and literature? Would you like to be a writer? What would you like to write — speeches for political candidates, marketing information to sway consumers to buy a certain product or technical writing that would allow you to take technical information and make it more accessible for lay people? Have always looked forward to you science classes? What subject did you most enjoy learning about? Think about how you spend your time when you have free time. How might that pastime lead to a career? There are so many career paths out there and this summer is the best time to start researching which one of your interests can lead to a career! Talk to people who work in different career fields to find out how they prepared for the work they do.

3. College Research
Start thinking about college. What are the requirements for admissions? This is a great time to start researching colleges and their admission requirements! Perhaps you are looking at a college on a different coast? Would you be comfortable living far from Arkansas? Or maybe you are researching a top school that requires a 4.0 and a teacher recommendation? This information is perfect to know as a sophomore so you can start working on your GPA and thinking about which teachers would provide the best recommendation for you.

4. Community Service
Not only is community service good on a college application, but it is great for you too! Top colleges are looking for students that go above and beyond what their peers do in their free time. Community service is also a great way to research the field you are interested in! Perhaps you are interested in theater studies? Volunteer at your local community theater and learn about management and behind the scenes. Interested in Veterinary sciences? Your local shelter is sure to have volunteer opportunities and even connections with local vets. There are so many places in need of community service and what a great way to spend a few hours a week during your summer!

5. Extra Tutoring
This summer, it’s time to kick your academics into gear! The number one item all schools look for in regards to admissions is academics. So, if you’ve noticed you need extra help in a particular subject, this summer is the perfect time to get some extra help! Perhaps you need a math review? Or you want a higher grade in English next year? Check out some subject help books from a bookstore or library or perhaps visit your local community college or high school for some summer learning programs!

This summer is the perfect time to prepare for the college application process! Whether it’s with community service, research, or getting started on the books for next year’s English class, there are so many things to add to your summer to-do list now that you are a new sophomore!