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Sociology – Study of Society, Patterns of Social Relationships & Social Interaction

It can be assessed that the study of the society, not only gives one, an insight into the social groups, organizations, and societies and how people interact within these but also how power is generated, distributed, and practiced across the world. Sociology as a discipline helps one observe and challenge the familiar world and associated everyday practices that are normalized like- objectification of women by media, contempt against a particular religion, the preference for fair complexion, over-arching patriarchy, and the like, through a new window. It not only defines the rationale behind an individual’s actions like- reasons for suicide along with how the world works but gives opportunities to change it. As a student of Sociology, one must be poised to engage in fieldwork related to social inequalities like- poverty and present alternatives to ameliorate them. The discipline thus assists the individuals with both tangible and intangible skills.

Which colleges can I apply to?

There are legions of great colleges to choose from when it comes to an undergrad course in Sociology. With a wide scope of career prospects in various sectors like- Education, the Public sector, community work, and the like, Sociology remains a popular choice among students. If you are looking for universities in the UK popular choices like- the University of Cambridge, Manchester University, University of Warwick, University of Glasgow, London School of Economics, Oxford University, and the University of Lancaster may capture your interest. However, there are other great universities too for liberal arts studies in the UK, like- the University of Birmingham, King’s College London, University of Bath, University of Surrey, and University College London (UCL) that offer a wide range of academic opportunities.

In Canada, the University of Ottawa, Queen’s University, University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia present themselves as great options.

Outside UK and Canada, many universities in the USA like the University of California, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Princeton University, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Harvard University, University of Chicago, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have well-rounded programs.

Alternatively, Trinity College Dublin- Ireland, the University of Canterbury and Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, Tilburg University and Leiden University College in the Netherlands, the National University of Singapore, the University of Antwerp the University of Stirling also attract many potential students. We can list at least a hundred other options for you but can’t, due to space constraints. Here’s your cue to Google it!

Which Subjects to take?

Sociology is an umbrella discipline and offers a wide array of programs to choose from. That is why it is pertinent to have clarity about what you are looking for. Sociology envelopes programs from various other disciplines like Economics, Law, Environment, politics, and the like, one of the many reasons it is popularly called the ‘crowning edifice’ of the sciences. Thereby, it is important to choose carefully from bountiful options like- Sociology, Media and Politics, Criminology and Sociology, Arts, Media, and Society, etc that it offers.

UCLA is deemed one of the prestigious universities in the world and offers interesting courses like- Sex from Biology to Gendered Society, Introduction to Mathematical Sociology, social data science, Environmental Sociology, Social Demography, Mind and Society, Sociology of Emotions, Sociology of Time, Death, suicide, and trauma, etc. The sociology department at the University of Sheffield provides single and dual honors courses. The single honors courses like- Digital media and society, Sociology with social policy, etc focus solely on developing expertise in a subject of interest. While the dual honors courses like- History and Sociology, Politics and Sociology help one discover how two disciplines fit together in the real world. The National University of Singapore is one of the most prestigious universities in the world and is famous for equipping students with core theoretical and methodological skills offers courses like- Making sense of Society, Social Thought and Social Theory, Practising Anthropology and Sociology, and is at a shorter distance with the home country.

 Thereby, with its interdisciplinary nature and wide academic potential, it allows one to understand all the dimensions of society while at the same time can confuse in choosing a definite path. It is, therefore, necessary for aspiring candidates to decide where they want to see themselves in the future, i.e to skim through the various courses and the associated career prospects before applying.

For someone interested in Policymaking, courses like Sociology with social policy(University of Sheffield), inequality, society and the self (The University of Queensland), etc can be good options. Similarly, a student with a penchant for gender studies may opt for Sex from Biology to Gendered Society (UCLA), Sex, Gender and Social Relationships (University of Queensland), etc. In a nutshell, it is important to set preferences according to the career prospects one finds interested in and then choose from the legions of courses that are offered.

Career Prospects  

With a major in Sociology, one learns about the intersectional aspects of society and the world like- caste, class, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, demography, morphology, inequality, and the relevance and the shortcomings of structures like- hierarchy and Power in everyday life. Thus, the subject has the scope to build up essential skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, statistical reasoning ability, and research skills, both qualitative and quantitative. Consequently, it doesn’t just shape one’s perspective of the world and give them a wider lens to look at things but also presents plentiful career prospects to choose from. A student with a major in sociology can work in sectors like- welfare, education, social research, and local and central government. With an undergraduate degree, you can work as a social research analyst, case manager, or research assistant in an NGO or non-profit organization. As a research assistant or analyst, you would be working along with the academic sociologists on social issues like labor rights, homelessness, juvenile crime, drugs, and suicide, and providing precise analysis to the appropriate government departments. You may get appointed as an Educator at National parks to assist the visitors, or at military schools, and prisons for counseling and education. However, many countries prefer their citizens or green-card holders, for government jobs.

It is important to assuage your skills and education qualification to broaden your career prospects like-with a graduation degree you can work as a college lecturer, or incorporate, non-profit, and government worlds as directors of research, policy analysts, and consultants.

As a sociologist with an undergraduate degree, you can also work with advertising, marketing, and consumer research sectors or with Environmental groups, or as a journalist. You can work as a Family Support worker wherein you would offer help and emotional support to the families experiencing short or long-term difficulties by collaborating with police and schools. There are other exciting careers too, crime scene investigation, policymaker, public relations and communication, urban planner, Human-rights officer, etc.

If you have an appetite for exploring the different dimensions of society and for revamping them, A major in Sociology is the check for you. So, go ahead and explore the suggested options and be the agent for the change you want to see in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Undergrad College Interviews: How to Prepare and Are they Worth it?

If you’ve been following the conversations on any admission forum, you may have seen a version of the question “Has anyone got an interview invite from X?” with about a dozen question marks after it. Honestly, if we were to go by the urgency in online tone it would seem like the college interview can make or break one’s case for admission to highly selective colleges! In fact, if you read a bunch of articles online about the importance of the college interview, you might very well come away thinking that the interview is paramount to a student’s success in the admissions process. Well not exactly.

While grad school interviews are a whole other ball game (more graduate schools have required interviews), undergrad interviews are not. Sure, if a student demonstrates that he or she has done the equivalent of zero research on the college in question, that can absolutely end their chances of admissions but to suggest that the college interview is make it or break it is wrong. Those admissions essays, grades, test scores, activities — now those are make it or break it.

So, do interviews really help?

The importance of interviews in the admission process varies from school to school. For few schools these interviews are of considerable importance, for some of moderate importance but for most they are of limited or no importance.

In general, interviews with admissions staff are more important than the interviews with alumni, which tend to be more informative in nature rather than evaluative. Think of it as reading a second-hand review or report (from alumni) or adding value from first-person experience (admissions staff).

Interviews are very helpful for someone who is on the bubble, where the decision could go either way. A fantastic interview with an alumnus could make a significant difference. Interviewing is a great way to show demonstrated interest, which some colleges track as a factor which impacts their yield.

So here are two reasons to do a university interview:

1. To demonstrate interest in the school. Some schools track how much active interest you’ve shown: Did you apply early? Did you visit? Did you interview? Did you open our emails and click on something? Together, these factors can have some sway over the admissions decision, although how much varies from school to school. So just doing the interview—regardless of how you think it went—counts for something.

2. To provide additional information. Maybe you didn’t do complete justice to representing your applicant profile in your essays. Perhaps you’re very impressive in person as compared to on paper. Or maybe you’ve done some awesome things since applying that weren’t in your original application. You can share these things in your interview.

How can you set up an interview?

For some colleges this process gets triggered off automatically. Georgetown sends out an interview scheduling mail as soon as a student submits Part 1 of their application, others like Yale wait for the complete application to be submitted before initiating the process. For some others like UChicago a student needs to request for an interview through their application portal.

Prepping for an interview:

Questions will fall in three buckets:

1. Why this major e.g. Why Mathematics?

Being a logical thinker, I’m intrigued by Math because of its application to almost all areas whether it is finance or operations research or data science or economics and can be applied to most real life scenarios.

Being an avid Basketball player I find myself using math to improve my game. The path the basketball takes once it’s shot comes down to the angle at which it is shot, the force applied and the height of the player’s arms. When shooting from behind the free throw line, a smaller angle is necessary to get the ball through the hoop. However, when making a field throw, a larger angle is called for. When a defender is trying to block the shot, a higher shot is necessary.

(Answer + Evidence)

2. Why Us?

Remember that this is not about why the school is awesome. The school knows it’s awesome. Don’t talk about weather, location and other such inane things instead research specifics.

– It’s not about ‘Why UMichigan?” but it’s all about ‘Why YOU at UMichigan?’ Talk about why you are perfect for each other. Talk of specifics – academic courses, clubs & organizations, special offerings particular to that university.

– Remember this is another chance to show a few more of your skills / talents / interests / passions WITHOUT being braggy

3. What are your extracurricular Interests?

It’s good to talk about your interests, showing a passion and also bringing in the values learnt through them.

Maybe there are some activities you have not mentioned in your application. You might be trying to break your school record on solving the Rubik’s Cube with one hand. Do talk about this.

Questions to ask an interviewer

Don’t ask for information that is already on the website.

Meaningful, well-thought-out questions will help you learn more about the schools at the top of your list, while demonstrating that you’re a serious student who is inquisitive and committed to excelling in the future.

– Can you tell me about the ABC and XYZ programs? I’m torn between which program of study I’d like to pursue.

– What are some exciting internships that students have had here in the past year? How have those internships have helped students academically or on their career paths? (Shows you are mature and career-focused)

– What is a typical weekend or weeknight like on campus? Are there campus-sponsored events, or do most students find fun elsewhere?

– I read about (insert popular on-campus event or tradition). Have you participated? What’s it like?

If you can ask a question based on something the interviewer has told you during the interview, it shows you have been listening. For example, if the interviewer discusses a tutoring program, you can ask the interviewer if he was involved in it, or you can ask for more details about how the program works.

Practice!

Whether it’s writing out the answers or points, writing can only get you so far. Prepare for an interview by practicing for it. Say your answers out loud to a mirror or video yourself and see what you sound like. Practice with a counselor, an alum, a friend, a parent. Practice so that you are at ease.

And remember, while these tips may be for college interviews, they apply to every interview henceforth. While it seems a while away, you will soon interview for internships and jobs and even on campus, you may interview for selective student groups – its always good to learn to present yourself thoughtfully to show them the best of who you are.

Urvashi Malik and the CollegeCore team takes pride in helping students through the nose to toes of the admissions process, including the interview process.

New Year Resolutions: Admissions Edition

Happy New Year! Its January 2018 already and wow time flies. As an Admissions Counselor I’ve been working with students for nearly 18 years now (that’s right, my admissions career is old enough to go to college!) and each January the whole CollegeCore team takes a giant sigh of relief, prays for successful results, and then, prepares themselves to do it all over again. But we also take this time to make our New Year’s Resolutions!

So we wanted to use our experience to lay out some Admissions Resolutions to go along with your goals of going to the gym twice a week or reading the newspaper every day.

Seniors / 12th Graders: I promise not to let senioritis set in!

Whether you were already accepted or if you were deferred from early applications, whether you are all in for college abroad or still in two minds about going abroad versus staying in India, don’t let Senioritis* ruin your efforts at this stage.

It’s difficult I know, you spent months on SAT / ACT prep, churned out essays and you just want a break already! Take a break. For a week. And then get back on the study horse.

For those who’ve been deferred or waitlisted, that strong academic performance is crucial to help you move your application into the accepted pile. And grades are important for those who’ve been accepted to college too! Colleges will see your final transcript, and they reserve the right to rescind an offer of admission or financial aid if they see a decline in a student’s grades. Each year we have to deal with frantic students who didn’t study and were in danger of getting their applications rescinding because of less than acceptable grades. They end up spending the weeks of summer, when they should be having fun, dealing with a lot of stress and sleepless nights, not knowing if they were going to college after all that work.

Work hard on your grades by making realistic and specific goals. Maybe you want a minimum of 38 on your IB exams or 92% in your CBSE Board exams. Be specific, make them attainable and put in the effort needed. When it’s time to hit the books, it is important to turn off the TV, sign out of Facebook, put your phone on silent, and really focus on work. Don’t get swept away by all the chatter from friends and strangers. Remember that someone else’s admissions decision is not a reflection on you. You need to put your head down and work.

*a phenomenon afflicting students in their final year of school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance

Juniors / 11th Graders: I will realize that I need to start two months before I think I need to!

It’s here. IIt’stime. You will be sending applications this year and while 12 months feels like a long time, it isn’t!

Let’s take a quick look at what is coming down the pipeline. You need to take the SAT / ACT more than once, plus the Subject Tests. So make your schedule of when to take the tests, set score targets and get studying. Remember to have a backup plan and don’t leave testing for later because knowing your test scores is essential to creating your list of colleges and that is essential for the next steps like writing essays. As scores evolve, so do lists.

Great college applications take time. Each college will have 1-5 essays to write, plus you’ll find yourself iterating on your CommonApp essay or personal statement again and again. You may need the time to think, reflect, revise, and maybe even come back to it and edit again. All of which takes time.

Moreover, you need to give your recommenders time to work on the letters because all the teachers will be inundated at the same time. AND you need to complete applications themselves. You may also want to beef up your extracurriculars but that needs time too so that it doesn’t look superficial and clearly only for the applications. All this while going to school because remember, grades are vital!

Overwhelmed? Well not if you use ALL 12 months well. So start early. Maintain a calendar and a To Do list. Stay organized to stay sane and give your best.

Sophomores / 10th Graders: I will not wait to start my college journey next year 

Because a year from now, you will wish you would have started today. We have a two part resolution for you – Explore and Act.

Start exploring colleges. You may have heard of a few of them – UCLA, Harvard, Stanford – but there are thousands of colleges in the world. Start thinking and exploring. Put social media to good use by following the colleges on Facebook or Instagram. But also visit information sessions in the city, spend time on blogs and websites to start explore the range of countries and the different education systems out there. Going on a family vacation abroad, go visit a college! At the same time, keep track, in writing, of what you like or don’t like. This will be valuable as you make your college lists but also as you write your essays.

And then act by planning out your standardized testing. You’ve heard about the ACT and SAT. In fact I hope you’ve taken the PSAT already. But many students wait and wait to dive into test prep not realizing that sometimes you need to take a test more than once and you need time to prepare for each exam so you’re successful at them. Make a plan for it and don’t stress unduly over the result of that practice test you took – you still have more time, because you took charge early and gave yourself time.

Freshmen / 9th Graders: I will think about college and plan my time out now rather than waiting till I’m older

College feels impossibly far away. I mean you just got out of middle school! But in all honesty, College is a complicated admissions process. You need to figure out what you’re passionate about in the classroom and outside of it.

We also know that starting now doesn’t mean your 10-year plan is set in stone – over the next few years you will grow and evolve – but getting started early can mean you have plenty of runway to reach your goals.

This is the stage to lay a foundation of strong habits that will carry you through successfully.

– Get Involved: Extracurriculars are a big part of not just your application but also play a large role in figuring out what you are passionate about. Start exploring your passions, step out of your comfort zone, volunteer with the less fortunate or gain leadership in something you’ve been involved in for a while. Strengthen both your application and your personality.

– Start Reading: And not just on your phone. Pick up a book, actually pick up one new one every month and start to build a habit of reading. It will help you become a more expressive person, a stronger communicator and a better writer.

– Study Hard: Grades matter now. Colleges abroad need your grades across all 4 years of high school so put in the effort and study hard.

Parents: I will remember that my child’s college experience begins with this process, and will be supportive but will also let them take charge.

You thought we would only have 4 resolutions for students? No, this is also a stressful time for parents which is why we have a resolution for you too. Recognize that this process is difficult but is also a learning experience for your child. They learn to plan, to make mistakes and to grow from them, all skills that are essential to their success in college.

So, set up a time to chat about college but don’t plague them about it every day. Don’t take over the process for them because you feel they are overwhelmed because you end up sabotaging them in the process. You can help. In fact, you SHOULD help, you know your child best. You can get excited for them but when you drop them off at the college or at the airport, they will be the one making friends, taking classes, and growing up. Help them find the place where they can make the most of their opportunities.

Don’t compare your child to Mrs. Sharma’s son Rahul who went to Harvard and get caught up in an arm’s race. Each college is unique and just because you haven’t heard of it, doesn’t mean it isn’t good for your child. You brought up your children with different values than Mrs. Sharma, each decision you made is slightly different, so why not let the college also be different instead of copying someone else? Let your kid, be a kid while they are going through this difficult time. Help them relax so that they can focus when they need to. But more than anything, remember, it’s their college decision. Be your supportive self, but let them take charge.

So happy New Year to all our readers out there. And remember, if there are ever admissions-related questions, CollegeCore Education is here to help.

Rejected: Class of 2021

Rejection

Apr 1st, 2017. You wish someone would jump out and yell “April Fools Day!!!!” but they didn’t. #IvyDay has come and gone. Your dream school has crushed those elaborate castles of whimsy you had built in your head about your lives together. And life plain SUCKS. Like SUCKS!!

Rejection 2

They built you up with posts saying “COME TO US!” only to rip you right down to this stage.

Dealing with rejection is difficult. Most students take it personally that they were turned down. Some compare it to a break up. They feel like the “Sorry we can’t offer you a place in the Class of 2021…” really stands for “You Suck” but nothing could be further from that. And we aren’t just trying to make you feel better.

Hell, check out Frank Bruni’s awesome article on this from last year – College Admissions Shocker. 

Its not you, it really IS THEM! It becomes a game of Supply and Demand really – too many students are applying and there are only a handful of seats available.

So take a little time to feel upset – you worked hard for it. But then, pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Accept that this may be the first big rejection but that life hasn’t come to a standstill. You may do incredibly well in the college you have been accepted to and that could set you on a path for success. You could perhaps even apply to your dream college for grad school (applications? AGAIN?) Really though, embrace the school that embraced you and move on.

In case you are stuck in Waitlist Limbo, check out our advice on working through the 5 stages of Grief.

Summer School? But its not even Spring!!

While winter is barely over, and Grade 12 students are in the midst of exams and preparation, it’s time to think of Summer Schools for students in Grade 9, 10 and 11!

You may think college applications are long off but unfortunately, time goes by faster than you think. Every year we get lots of people reaching out to discuss summer schools in May, but the time to apply is NOW. January and February are the best times to start planning for summer schools abroad.

But wait, even though, the trend of attending a summer program by high school students is really catching on in India and the BIG question is that is it really worth all the effort, time and money spent?

Is it becoming just about keeping up with that one kid in your class or is there a link between that an admissions? There is a lot to unpack in this article.

Well first thing to know is…

Q. What is a Summer School or a Summer Program?

A. Summer school is known to be a great way for students to pursue new interests, enhance existing talents, and build new contacts.

Q. Do they ACTUALLY act as a catalyst in gaining admission to a college of your choice?

A. In a simple way, we have parents each year asking, “If my child goes to Harvard Summer School, does that mean he will get into Harvard?” Here is the truth.

Attending a summer program no doubt indicates to colleges that you’re dedicated to studying and gaining knowledge. However, when you talk to admission officers they are of the opinion that these summer programs rarely give student that much of advantage when the time comes for them to apply to college. Yes, they do add great value to your resume/CV but understand that this is not your ticket to your desired college.

WAIT! Before you stop reading though… 

Q. Why should you consider pursuing a summer school/program?

– Summer program is the best way for students to fulfill their aspiration for global exploration and at the same time be committed to making the most of campus life. It’s a chance to figure out if they are ready.

– Explore new areas of interest, strengthen interest in a particular major and illustrate their readiness for the education system to admissions officers.

– Chance to experience what classes will be like and the level of work you will need to put in to succeed.

– Get hands on experience with international companies in form of internships which is inbuilt in some programs

– Possibility of incorporating your summer school experience in your essays

Q. What should I look for in a program?

– Is it the right time to dedicate to a summer program? AP exams are in the summer and sometimes Summer School overlaps with regular term for students. In some schools that means missing class and even exams.

– Is the school/program selective or does it take anyone who applies? If a selective program like Yale (YYGS), Boston Univ (PROMYS), Stanford (SuMAC), Princeton Journalism or UPenn LBW accepts you it is an indicator that 1) You are stronger than some of your peers 2) You are ready for a rigorous college curriculum

However, other programs that you can pay for and get in are less valuable in terms of being “an indicator” because even the admissions officers know they are not selective

Q. Do I have to go abroad?

A. No! Going to summer school abroad can cost as much as $10,000 for two weeks. Don’t waste your money on a non-selective program that won’t add too much value. Colleges are coming to us! Whether it’sAshoka’s High School Program, UChicago Summer School, Columbia University programs or MIT, the schools are coming to us and you should make the most of these opportunities.

Q. Should I go this year or next year?

A. Well, this is rather subjective and really depends from student to student. As per our experience we believe that you should join a summer program in the summer of your grade 10 and/or grade 11. The reason being that this time you are relatively free and have more time in hand as compared to when you are in grade 12 trying hard to balance your school life and college application work.

So going back to the big question, should I apply?

A. YES! Summer School is worth it if

– Your timing is right

– You can afford it

– If the program adds value to your application process either as a selective program that is an indicator or an exploratory program that allows you to show interest in a major