Fun Facts about Gina Claypool

Fun Facts About Gina Claypool

1. I have an adorable daughter named Jemma.  She’s the cutest baby in the world. I’m not biased: she really is the cutest baby in the world.  As far as I know, she already knows how to ace the ACT and SAT, too, because I told her to listen while I was still pregnant.  Since she can’t tell me otherwise, I assume her baby babble is all grammatically correct.

2. While I do love chocolate, if given a choice between a chocolate and a fruity dessert, I will usually choose the fruity one.  No question if it’s lemon.  Yes, I’m the weird kid who likes the lemon Starbursts.  Chocolate might earn you brownie points with me (har har — get it? Brownie? Like chocolate?), but fresh fruit or lemon desserts are even better.

3. I love puns! The stupider the better! For example, after I explained the volume of any right prism is equal to the area of the base times the height, a student asked me “even juvenile prisms?” I laughed.  As a child, I used to make up my own jokes, and they rarely made sense, so I have a soft spot for dumb jokes.  Don’t be surprised if I crack myself up in class.  You aren’t obligated to laugh.  Really.

4. I used to be a camp counselor at Camp Chief Ouray.  I love hiking and camping (and doing arts and crafts like tie-dye and shrinky-dinks).  As a camp counselor (and as a new mom), you get exposed to some gross stuff.  I’m not sure which direction the cause and effect goes, but I find poop humor hilarious.  Especially poop puns.

5. I love to watch sports! I’m a big fan of college basketball (go Jayhawks!), but I enjoy watching football (college or pro) and baseball, too.  As a kid, I played basketball, soccer, and softball, but I never played volleyball or field hockey.

6. I don’t have a favorite color.  I really like red, and I really like green, but I don’t really like red and green together unless it’s Christmas-time. 

7. I like to sing, and when I can, I like to participate in community theatre.  The Kansas City metro has a great theatre community, and there is always a great show to see.  Go support the companies at Theatre in the Park (Guys and Dolls is this weekend), The Barn Players, and The White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center (Spamalot in July!).

8. My first job out of college was as a Project Engineer for RTS Water Solutions.  I got to travel the country to do water audits.  In other words, I got to count a lot of toilets and sinks.  I used to do a quick audit of ever public restroom I used out of habit.  If you ever have a question about sink flow, toilet valves, or waterless urinals, I’m the gal to ask.

9. I am blessed to have a father who passed on his love of math, logic, and numbers.  Nearly every day (except on the day I did), my dad would ask if I had learned binary at school.  When I turned nine, my dad made a birthday banner that read “It’s your birthday, oh what fun! Today you’re the square root of 81!”  It’s no wonder that I love to teach math so much!

10. I’m equally blessed to have a mother who instilled in me a love of reading and words.  My mom not only proofread my papers for school, but she explained to me why I should make the changes she suggested.  I credit her for my good grammar and spelling.  My mom would also read aloud to my sisters and me long after we needed her to (and she’d do all the voices – the best!).  To this day, I read nearly every day.  Much to her chagrin, I do not enjoy her favorite author.  If you’re into accurate historical fiction, though, check out Dorothy Dunnett!

Now you know a little more (than you ever wanted to know) about me.

Gina Claypool is a Tutor at Get Smarter Prep.

University of Kansas – Tutor

Name: Gina Claypool
College: University of Kansas
Major: Mechanical Engineering

1. What first drew you to The University of Kansas?

The campus is beautiful — especially in the fall with the vibrant colors of the leaves, and in the spring when the whole campus is in bloom.  I’m a die-hard KU basketball fan, so being able to attend the games was a bonus.  Plus, with in-state tuition and academic scholarships, KU was by far the most affordable option for my family.

2. What other colleges were you considering?

Bradley in Peoria, IL, and Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO.

3. How was the adjustment from high school to college?

Socially, it was rough.  I was a camp counselor in Colorado over the summer before I started college, so I missed orientation, traditions night, and all the other events that KU put on to help students get acclimated to campus.  As a result, I didn’t meet a lot of people before classes started, and my roommate and I weren’t exactly friends.

Academically, the transition was great! I scheduled all my classes back to back in the mornings, so that it would feel more like my high school schedule.  Since I had all my classes in the mornings, I was able to spend the afternoons working on assignments.

4. What was your favorite class? Why?

I enjoyed a lot of my classes.  I had some great English honors classes (105 and 205), and I also enjoyed my prose fiction writing class.  Another class I enjoyed was my Sociology class my freshman year, and my Environmental Policy class my senior year.

5. What clubs or groups were you involved in?

Some of the groups I  got involved with was a choir at KU, called Genuine Imitation — the pop acappella group on campus.  I danced with the KU Swing Dance Society, watched basketball with Neil’s Atomic Fireballs and Buddy Hawks (camping groups), and taught math through the Kansas Algebra Program.

6. Anything else you want to tell us?

Even though I had a hard time meeting people my freshman year, things got better.  Since I was in a specialized major, I had most of my classes with the same core group of about 20-30 students.  Studying in the engineering library can actually be fun!

7. In one sentence, what do you love about your school?

I love the opportunities that the University of Kansas offers to students with all different interests, backgrounds, and life goals.

Gina Claypool is a Tutor at Get Smarter Prep.


Preparation is the Key to Success

Whether you’re taking your ACT, SAT, AP tests or your History final, when it comes to education and testing, preparation is the key to success.  Here are some ways to be prepared for any class or test:

1)      Get organized.

Have a dedicated binder or folder for each class you are taking.  File each class’ notes followed by the assignments related to that material.  By keeping your school work organized, you will be able to refer back to your class notes and materials to review the concepts.  When you finish your assignment, put it in the appropriate binder to avoid forgetting to take it with you.

It’s also a good idea to keep a calendar at the front of your binder with all your assignment due dates written down.  For long term assignments, set a reminder to go off on your smart phone 2 weeks, 1 week and 3 days before the assignment is due to avoid procrastinating on the project.

2)      Put pencil to paper.

While you’re in class, take notes.  When you do your assignments, take notes and show your work.  There’s no point in taking notes if you can’t understand them later.

3)      Prepare your materials.

When you do your homework, find an uncluttered work surface, and organize your materials before you begin.  Have a pencil (or two) and an eraser handy.  Make sure your calculator batteries are working.  Get some scratch paper.

4)      Give yourself some time and some quiet.

I know you’re busy.  Volunteer hours and extracurricular activities don’t leave as much time for homework as you might like.  Write a homework appointment in your schedule, and don’t stand yourself up!  By setting aside time for homework each day, you won’t overbook yourself.  (Share your calendar with your parents, so they know not to schedule activities over your homework time)

When it’s time to do your assignments, turn off the TV.  Turn off the ipod.  Silence your phone.  Focusing on one thing at a time is a lost art in our multi-tasking, over-stimulated culture, but focusing on one task at a time and eliminating distractions makes you more efficient.  Because we aren’t used to focusing on one thing for an extended period of time, this might be hard for you at first.  Try this: set a timer for 15 minutes, and work diligently during that time.  When the timer goes off, set another timer for 5 minutes, and take a break.  Repeat.  When focusing for 15 minutes gets easier, gradually increase the work time by five minute increments.

Since everyone has a different learning style, your best method of preparation might look a little different than this.  You can learn what your learning style is and learn how to best apply that style to all your classes throughout high school (and on into college) with Get Smarter Prep’s Study Skills class.  Study skills like time management, organization, and homework planning will serve you throughout high school and college, and will even be great skills when you enter the work force.  Study skills also cover speed reading, reading comprehension, and writing skills.

Do you want mad study skills?  Check out our Study Skills class!

Gina Claypool is a Tutor at Get Smarter Prep.

Summer College Prep

Spring is in the air!  Prom is just around the corner, and finals are getting closer.  After finals, comes summer.  For many students, this means swimming pools, barbecues, camping trips, and general relaxation.  For the class of 2014, however, summer is the ideal time to write essays and complete college applications.

Imagine, if you will, going back to high school in August.  It’s your senior year.  You’re the top dog on campus.  It’s your last chance to participate in pep rallies, school plays, and high school sports teams.  Your friends start to ask you where you’re going to school next year.  Your teachers start to ask you where you’re going to school next year.  You still don’t know where you want to apply.  Your friends start to get acceptance letters.  You start to freak out.  Now, in addition to homework, tests, and all your extracurricular activities, you need to find time to complete your college applications.

Now imagine going back to school in August.  It’s your senior year.  You spent part of the summer deciding which schools would be a good fit for you next year.  You honed your essay writing skills.  When college applications were available on August 1st, you were ready to go.  By the time school started, you were well on your way to completing your applications.  Now with pep rallies, school plays, sports and volunteer work vying for your attention, you’re so glad that you have your college applications done.  By the time winter break rolls around, you already know where you’re going to school next year.  You no longer dread the question “where are you going to college?” because you know the answer.

Which student would you rather be?

Get Smarter Prep can help you navigate the college application process with ease.  Learn what majors and careers are a good fit for you.  Get help narrowing down your college list to the top schools that fit your personality.  Learn to write a college essay that admissions officers won’t easily forget.

By starting early on your applications, you not only reduce your potential stress levels, but you also have a better shot at getting the money you need for the school you want.  All financial aid has a deadline, and some aid is given on a first come, first served basis.  Plus, a lot of scholarships require an essay submission, so it is beneficial for you to have an essay you can be proud of.

You can still hit the pool this summer, but don’t forget to take a break for your college applications!

Gina Claypool is a Tutor at Get Smarter Prep.