Claremont McKenna College

Name: Linden Schult
College: Claremont McKenna College
Major: International Relations

1. What first drew you to Claremont McKenna?

When I started researching colleges, I was interested in a small-to-medium-sized school (I wanted to have smaller class sizes) and a warmer-weather environment (I didn’t want to have to trudge through snow to get to class). Claremont McKenna was the right size – a smaller school with the benefits of the larger Claremont Colleges Consortium – and had beautiful weather.

2. What other colleges were you considering?

The other school I seriously considered was the University of Virginia, but I also looked at Johns Hopkins, Occidental, Pomona, Stanford, University of Oklahoma, and many more… a wide variety of schools!

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

Academically, the adjustment was pretty easy. I enjoyed having 2-4 classes a day rather than 7, like in high school. I also loved signing up for classes that were interesting to me and fit with my major, rather than taking a set program of classes like in high school. Socially, it was strange at first to meet so many people at once. I had gone to school with the same people for years and years, and then I arrived at CMC and did not know a single person. That quickly changed, however; as soon as I arrived, I started meeting people right away! Since everyone was new, it made it all quite easy. I also went on a Wilderness Orientation Adventure in Big Sur, with a group of 9 freshmen and 3 senior leaders. It was a great opportunity to get to know a few students really well before diving into the bigger group during on-campus orientation.

4. What was your favorite class?

My favorite class was Politics and the Military in Latin America taught by Professor Camp. It was absolutely fascinating and I loved it.

5. What clubs or groups were you involved in?

My favorite activity was my year as the Resident Assistant for Wohlford, one of the North Quad dorms. I also taught a First Aid Class for American Red Cross Certification, was a member and Co-President of the Women’s Forum, was a Community Service Representative for my dorm, and played on the Claremont Serpents Field Hockey team, among other things! As this list shows, it is easy to get involved in a variety of activities.

6. Anything else you want to tell us?

Claremont McKenna is a wonderful school and I highly recommend it. With the small class sizes, it’s easy to get to know your peers and your professors (professors will even invite classes over to their homes). The campus is beautiful, and that combined with the wonderful Southern California weather leads to lots of fun outdoor time!

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


Linden Schult is a Tutor at Get Smarter Prep.

Fun Facts about Linden Schult

1. Linden will choose a warm vacation over a snowy vacation any day! She loves to scuba dive, hike, and just generally explore beaches, jungles, and other warm climates. She has pretty bad allergies, but loves being outside anyway.

2. She likes doing puzzles. She is currently working on one that features Monet’s La gare Saint-Lazare, her favorite painting.

3. Her favorite social media platform is Twitter.

4. Linden prefers dogs over cats.

5. She tied for first (but lost in a tie-breaker) in this year’s Over-Under Chiefs Challenge.

6. She studied abroad in Argentina, and she’ll never turn down a good empanada.

7. She loves a good game of Monopoly (preferably the original version, Kansas City version, or Surfing version).

8. Linden loves holidays – Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving – all of them.

9. She also loves fireworks (on the Fourth of July, at a Royals game, anytime!).

10. According to this Buzzfeed quiz, Linden’s Harry Potter character is Ron Weasley.

Linden Schult is a Tutor at Get Smarter Prep.

Asking for Recommendations

Many colleges require two recommendations; some even require three! Additionally, while a college may not require a recommendation for admission, it may require one for scholarships.

A recent article on the College Admission Book website gives three key pointers for asking for recommendations:

* Ask in person. No emails. A personal request is most thoughtful.
Do not ask for more recommendations than you need. Pick two teachers and use the same two for all your applications.
* Say “please” when you ask and “thank you” when the teacher agrees.

There are three more pointers I would like to add to their list:

* Choose your recommenders wisely.
* Make sure to send them a hand-written thank you note after they have written your recommendations.
* Let them know which college you decide to attend.

Recommendations are also important for internships and jobs. Future employers want to know that that information on your resume is truthful and true to your real life experience. They want to know not only if you are qualified for the job, but also if you will be a good person to have around the office. Different jobs and industries place differing levels of strength on the resume versus interpersonal skills. For example, a human resources manager works with other employees all day and needs to have strong communication skills, whereas a forest fire lookout does not interact with people as frequently. If you would like to know more about which jobs would be suited to your skills and interests, a good resource is our Career Assessment!

Although asking for recommendations can be intimidating at first, by following these simple steps you will get the hang of it in no time!

Linden Schult is a Tutor at Get Smarter Prep.

Springtime for Sophomores

Seniors have heard back from their schools and are finalizing their college choice in preparation for the May 1 deadline. Juniors are taking the ACT or SAT, SAT subject tests, and AP exams. Those two grades have clearly defined paths to college, but what about Sophomores? While spring of sophomore year seems far away from applying to college, there are three things you can do to strengthen your future college applications.

1. Take an ACT and SAT practice test and determine which test is a better test for you.

We recommend that the students take both an ACT and an SAT practice test near the end or just after their sophomore year. That way, you go into fall of junior year with a plan. Are you in range to be a National Merit scholar? If so, you can sign up for one of our summer classes in preparation for the PSAT. Do you play a winter sport and a spring sport? Another great reason to prepare in the summer and take one of the fall tests! Every student is different. Taking a practice test at the beginning of the summer ensures your student has time to decide which test and test date is best!

2. Finish the year with your highest possible grades.

Yes, this seems like an obvious one, but it really is important! If you have a bad test day, you can retake your SAT or ACT or driver’s license test, but once sophomore year is over, you are locked into those grades. Grades are a key piece of college admissions puzzle, so it is crucial to do your best.

3. Take advantage of the summer.

While it is tempting to spend the summer relaxing before the stress of junior year, you post-sophomore year summer is a great time to get a jump start on college. You are interested in botany but your high school doesn’t offer it? Take a course at a local college or community college. Not only will it look great on your resume, but it will be really interesting! Want to start saving money for college? Get a job! Jobs look great on your resume and give you a great opportunity to make business connections. An anecdotal example: my grandfather worked as a delivery runner for a law firm one summer; after graduating law school, he was hired by that same law firm! Too busy to have the set schedule of a job or class? You can always volunteer, write a paper to submit to your favorite magazine, research colleges, or take test prep!

Most sophomores have no idea where they might want to attend college, and that is perfectly okay! Following these three steps will ensure that when they do choose where to apply, they will have the highest amount of possibilities.

Linden Schult is a Master Level Tutor at Get Smarter Prep.

Changes Coming to the SAT

Earlier this year, College Board President (yes, there is such a thing) David Coleman announced in a letter to College Board members that it was time to update the SAT. As Coleman wrote in his letter, “the College Board has a responsibility to the millions of students we serve each year to ensure that our programs are continuously evaluated and enhanced, and most importantly respond to the emerging needs of those we serve”. Although it does emphasize that the SAT should stay current, this cryptic (a great SAT vocabulary word!) message does not foreshadow what those changes might be.

The SAT was first administered in 1926 (check out this website for sample questions from the 1926 test!). Since then, there have been many changes to the test. Most recently, in 2005, the Writing section was added and analogies were removed from the Critical Reading section. With the Writing section, consisting of an essay and questions about grammar, came an additional 800 points, boosting a perfect score to 2400 from 1600. In the Critical Reading section, the College Board removed the analogies, opting to test vocabulary with fill-in-the-blank sentences. After years of WordMasters analogy practice, I was sad to see the analogies go, but at least I learned some great words (my favorite- jalopy)!

What will these changes mean for GSP students? While we cannot predict what they will be, we can ensure you that we will help your students achieve their goals!

Linden Schult is a Tutor at Get Smarter Prep.

The Super Bowl and Test Prep

The Huffington Post Blog had an interesting post by Nancy Berk, Ph. D., titled “College Admission Tips to Learn From the Super Bowl.” It is a terrific, and timely, read, and we hope everyone gets a chance to check it out.  While all ten of her lessons apply to college admissions, a two of them apply to test prep as well.

Lesson 4: Have a strategic game plan.

Should you take the ACT or the SAT? The GRE or the GMAT? Is a standardized test required for entrance at the school(s) you are interested in? We strongly recommend you take a practice test before starting so that you can see which test fits your strengths. We offer free ACT and SAT practice tests every Saturday at our office – sign up here! For other testing, give us a call!

Lesson 2: Know the rules of the game. Do your research. Ask questions. Talk to those who’ve been there including college students, their parents, teachers and coaches.

Is there a guessing penalty on your test? How much time do you have for each section? Familiarizing yourself with the structure, timing, and scoring of your standardized test will help you feel more comfortable and confident.

Do your research, take a practice test, and learn the rules of the game!

One more important lesson: don’t wait until the last minute!

Author Linden Schult is a Master Level Tutor at Get Smarter Prep.