What is Behind a College Application?

How big of an impact does where students attend high school have on where they get into college?

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College prep books used by current high school students.

Children in America spend about the first 18 years of their lives preparing to go to college. On average children begin pre-school by the age of three or four. After spending two years in pre-school, children move on to Kindergarten for a year, and then on to elementary school, which lasts on average for five years. After completing these five years creating a foundation to continue learning on, children continue onto middle school. Typically middle school lasts for three years and then it is off to high school for another four years.

By the child’s senior year, or last year of high school, most are expected to take either and ACT or SAT standardized test to gauge their intelligence from the culmination of the education they have received. Children then choose colleges they would like to continue their education at after they finish high school and apply to these in the Fall of their senior year. To apply, most colleges insist the students submit their standardized test scores, their grade point average, an essay or two they write specifically for the college, recommendations, lists of the various activities and clubs they participated in, the sports they played, the groups they lead, the awards they received, and more. So, how do students get involved in and participate in all of the different groups and classes they need to in order to impress the college administration of their dreams? The answer may lie within where they attend high school.

Kelly Driscoll, Academic Services Officer II for the College of Fine, Preforming and Communication Arts at Wayne State University, says that colleges do not evaluate student’s applications to university based on the type of high school they attended. Rather she says the administration bases acceptance off of what is on the application itself.

Each year at Wayne State University, around 9,000 undergrad students are admitted, and around 2,600 ultimately elect to attend.

Driscoll says that at Wayne State, and other state colleges that are similar, the administration is most interested in the students test scores and GPA. However, Driscoll warns that all colleges evaluate student’s applications differently and have varying criteria they are looking for.

Driscoll adds that if a students test scores are on the line, Wayne State looks at the supplementary information students can add such as an essay. Driscoll says she has found that BIG 10 schools, which are on the Common App, look at the extra-curricular actives, co-curricular activates and distinctions such as community service.

From her personal experience working with students both at open houses during recruitment, and then helping guide students once enrolled at WSU, Driscoll says she feels there is a prep difference between students who attended public school and those who attended private. She feels those coming from private schools had more prep to become college ready.

Click the audio player below to hear more from Kelly Driscoll.

Below are the stories of three current high school seniors preparing to select which college they will attend in the fall. One student is from a co-ed public school, one is from a co-ed private school, and the last is from an all-girls private school. All three institutions are located in the same area and pull from the same socioeconomic group.

Co-Ed Public School: Ernest W. Seaholm High School

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Ernest W. Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Michigan.

Nicole McMaster is a senior at Ernest W. Seaholm High School, located in Birmingham, Michigan. McMaster has been attending Birmingham public schools for her entire education thus far. McMaster applied to 10 colleges this past Fall. She was accepted at universities such as the University of Michigan, Villanova, Boston College and Michigan State University.

“Seaholm offers students a large amount of different AP classes and extra-curricular clubs they can participate it,” McMaster said. “Student’s then have a lot of different things they can put on their application to make themselves stand out.”

McMaster says Seaholm offers about 16 AP classes, including AP Calculus, AP US History, AP Biology, AP Studio Art, and more. She says that her school also has about 50 different clubs that students can join, ranging in a variety of topics that include community service, student congress and the LGBT club.

Seaholm students take five classes a day and on average McMaster said there are about 30 students in each class.

“Seaholm offered classes to help students do well on their standardized tests too,” McMaster said. “We had ACT classes and workshops to learn how to write college applications.”

There are around 350 students 2017 graduating class.

Click on the video below to hear more from Seaholm student Nicole McMaster.

Co-Ed Private School: Cranbrook Kingswood

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Cranbrook Kingswood in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Cranbrook began college counseling meetings during my junior year, and they allowed me to get a head start,” Michael Mclaughlan, senior at Cranbrook said. “I was able to complete my major essays before my senior year, and knew exactly where I was applying very early on.”

Mclaughlan applied to nine universities and was accepted at seven. He has committed to attend the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business this Fall.

“The main factor that helped me prepare for college was Cranbrook’s academic atmosphere, which allowed me to achieve high standards,” Mclaughlan said. “Cranbrook is a preparatory school and its entire focus is high achievement to gain admission into competitive schools, so the entire atmosphere prepared me.”

Mclaughlan said there are between 15 and 20 AP classes offered by Cranbrook and an extensive number of clubs and sports.

“Cranbrook has just about every sport and has its own hockey rink and pool,” Mclaughlan said.

Mclaughlan said he will be graduating with 205 other students, but in his daily classes, the class size is about 17.

“Cranbrook could have narrowed my college list to a fewer schools,” Mclaughlan said when thinking about what Cranbrook could improve upon. “They insist you apply to a lot and push schools you really have no interest in.”

 All Girls Private School: The Academy of the Sacred Heart

The Academy of the Sacred Heart, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Avery Henderson is a senior and the All School Representative at the Academy of the Scared Heart, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Henderson applied to 12 universities and was accepted at eight.

“Sacred Heart offers students three AP courses which are AP Literature, AP US History, and AP Calculus,” Henderson said. “But we also have groups like Student Committee Governance, HEALTH club, preform groups, sports teams and others that students can join.”

Henderson said there are 28 students in her graduating class.

“A unique aspect of Scared Heart is that is offers Project Term,” Henderson said. “The school puts together different trips, or learning experiences, that the students go on for a week and a half in March.”

Henderson said that by the time of graduation, students will have needed to complete a Project Term centered around service, one around career exploration, and one around personal growth.

“Project Term can be local or across the world,” Henderson said. “This past March I did service in Nicaragua, but some groups have gone to the Amazon, Budapest and Ireland.”

Henderson said that Sacred Heart could have improved their program for getting students ready to apply for college by not pushing back the deadlines they need things to be in by and making the process harder for students.

“I had to hire a separate college counselor because mine didn’t help me with the process at all,” Henderson said.

The Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Map of high schools and colleges in the Detroit area:

Conversation about this topic:






Play an interactive game about high school here.


Recap On Our Podcast

The podcast above has recently been created by Sarah Rahal and myself to review the book Slutwalk. Feminism, Activism and Media, by Kaitlynn Mendes. This book can be categorized as a gender studies book, and the main focus is on feminism. Aside from listening to our podcast and reading the book itself, those who are interested in learning more about this topic should take a look at this website, which lists books similar to Slutwalk. Feminism, Activism and Media, and this article, which discusses feminism in relation to social media, the main topic in Slutwalk. Feminism, Activism and Media.

 The podcast begins with both Sarah and myself introducing ourselves and the book which we will be reviewing. Following this, Sarah provides some background details on the book. After this, I begin to talk about one of the aspects of the book which I felt was very strong: its ability to incorporate quotes from those in pop culture, experts on the topic, articles and the like. During this part I quote Miranda, the blogger, on page 94 to support my point that the author brings other perspectives into the piece, not just her thoughts.

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Above is the cover to the book Slutwalk. Feminism, Activism and Media. Photo taken by Addison Wallace

Another point which I discuss later in the piece are how the author goes into detail discussing how each social media platform, including Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, WordPress and blogging have affected the feminist movement. I thought this was a really strong point as it gave readers specific details about how social media has changed the movement.

Later Sarah provides brief explanations of the various chapters in the book.

One of the last points I make is to discuss who I think would specifically be interested in this book, and in connection with that, an area that I feel is weak in the book: the pace at which it reads. I discuss how someone who is going to pick up this book is going to have an interest in the topic. However, the book reviews the whole feminist movement in detail, which made it read at a really slow pace and recap information that those interested in the topic most likely already know.

Overall however Sarah and I said we would rate the book at about a 6 or a 7 and that we obtained a great deal of information from it.

Other discussions of the book:

Here is an article analyzing the book.

Here is another article analyzing the book.


For class today our assignment was to work on creating a timeline for the first time. To do this we used a website called Knightlab. I did my timeline, or started to, on the history of the first school, which was in China.

Check out the start of my timeline here.

Creating a Twine Game

The game my group designed focuses on the topic of spring break for a college student. I was the person in my group who came up with this idea. I felt it was an appropriate topic as around this time of year college students are getting ready to go on spring break, so a game planning a spring break trip seemed fitting and timely.

I think our group’s game turned out incredibly well. We offered players the options of either staying home over break or going on a vacation. With either option we tried to provide players with a number of options as they either arrange their trip or decide what they are going to do at home. We also took great pride in adding videos, links and photos to enhance the playing experience. Our game was interactive and creative in the way it utilized media. Another key aspect of the game was to keep the various choices the players were given relevant to real life situations.

This project was my first time ever really hearing about or using the Twine platform. I found it to be a rather simple program to master. I was incredibly pleased with the game and amazed that I could create such as game by mastering just a few simple codes. It helped to take notes during class on the codes that I would need as it made the process of creating the game a lot quicker. I had no idea before learning about Twine that a game as sophisticated as the ones seen in class could be created on such a simple platform.

An issue I feel Twine could work on improving is to make the platform more compatible for multiple users wanting to work on the same project at once, but on different computers. This was an issue in our group as only one member was able to do the writing and coding at a time. The other members of the group, which included myself, spent our time coming up with the wording for the slides and finding the media to incorporate into each slide. It would have made it easier however if we all could have been logged onto the same project and worked individually instead of all together.

Another issue that I feel Twine could improve upon would be creating a better and more efficient way in which to save the project that is being worked on. My group had created our entire game and thought we saved it correctly. However, when we wanted to go in an edit a few slides, we were unable to and a member of our group had to redo the entire thing. She and I had a planned time to meet so that I could assist her in redoing the work. However she emailed me that morning that she had had extra time and had already redone the work on her own.

A good journalistic piece to write for a university publication, such as the South End, around this time of year could be tips for planning a good spring break vacation, or the advantages or disadvantages of traveling, or an important story that took place on a students spring break. This game could go along as an interactive media game with any of those types of those stories. Two articles already written on the topic focus on the history of spring break and the best places to go on spring break.

I came up with the topic of the game, found and sent Sarah (who did the coding) numerous media elements such as gifs, links and photos, and came up with the wording for various parts.

Check out my groups game here.

Anguilla: A Tourism Based Economy

Quintessence Hotel in Anguilla. Photo by Merla Smith


Anguilla is an island in the Eastern Caribbean and has been a British colony since 1650.

In 2010 Honourable Mr. Haydn Hughes became Parliamentary Secretary, responsible for tourism and sports in Anguilla and was a Nominated Member of the House of Assembly of Anguilla. Hughes was also a leading figure in the Anguilla Independence Movement, AIM, for a number of years.

“Anguilla has had a sharp but very rich history,” Hughes said.

Hughes says that Anguilla’s first inhabitants were the Arawak people and to this day Anguilla is still home to a number of sacred sites of the Arawak people.

“The Spaniards arrived in Anguilla in the 1400s,” Hughes said. “The Spaniards and later the British brought slaves from Africa, from West Africa, to Anguilla. And because the soil was very poor and the rainfall very slight, the slave owners abandoned Anguilla and the people who were left divided the properties and lands amongst themselves. And Anguilla is in a unique position where 90% of the land is owned by the people of Anguilla. It is perhaps the only Caribbean island with such as history.”

In 1967, Anguilla revolted against English rule. In 1969, there was a referendum where the people of Anguilla voted to become the Republic of Anguilla. However, British forces invaded and the island was again under English rule. In 1976 a constitution was created which has lasted until present time. However, within that 41-year period, there have been seven constituencies and two constitutional changes.

If you would like to hear a more in-depth explanation of the history of Anguilla as explained by the Honourable Mr. Haydn Hughes, click on the audio player below.

Audio of Honourable Mr. Haydn Hughes discussing the history of Anguilla.


One of the major differences between a small country or territory, such as Anguilla, and a larger country, such as the United States, is the way in which the economies work.

Anguilla has a tourism based economy. According to the CIA World Factbook:

“Increased activity in the tourism industry has spurred the growth of the construction sector contributing to economic growth… In the medium term, prospects for the economy will depend largely on the tourism sector and, therefore, on revived income growth in the industrialized nations as well as on favorable weather conditions.”

And when looking at the GDP – composition, by sector of origin in the World Factbook, agriculture makes up 2.3%, industry 21% but services make up 76.6%, as of 2016.

The increase of tourism, leading to growth in the construction sector, can be see though the new resort construction on the island. An article written by Forbes details the various large construction changes and development that is beginning to take place.

Merla Smith, an Anguillan who knows the structure of the tourism economy well, is the current general manager of a new boutique Anguillan hotel, Quintessence, set to open in 2017.

Smith says she feels there are both positives and negatives to having a tourism based economy.

“Because of the tourism industry, we have been able to send our kids to better schools, have a better educational system and better hospitals and healthcare,” said Smith.

However, she acknowledges that Anguilla’s unique economy has its downfalls as well.

“The cost of living has gone up tremendously,” Smith said. “So people not working in the tourism industry have really felt the effects of this. Individuals working in the public sector, who do not make a lot of money during peak tourism season, struggle much more during periods of low tourism than those in the tourism industry do.”


Detroit’s Art Scene Grows #hive55

Last updated February 8, 2017 at  1:19 PM

Local artist George Rahme shares and explains the process behind his art Sunday at an art talk.

Artist George Rahme discusses his work at an art talk on Sunday at the Simone DeSousa Gallery 

On Sunday, February 5, 2017, Hamtramck based artist George Rahme held an art talk for his art show, A Solider of Stars, at the Simone DeSousa Gallery. Rahme’s show, which runs from January 14 through February 26, includes eight of Rahme’s pieces either on canvas or fabric, in addition to a video element shown on a back wall of the gallery and Solider of Stars Elixirs.

Artist George Rahme discusses his work at an art talk on Sunday at the Simone DeSousa Gallery

Sunday’s art talk, put on by the Simone DeSousa Gallery, began with Simone DeSousa greeting the group of eight attendees and introducing Rahme. Rahme then walked the group through the gallery, piece by piece, and explained the creative process used to create each piece.

Artist George Rahme discusses his work at an art talk on Sunday at the Simone DeSousa Gallery

When describing his work, Rahme focused on the vast influence that his Lebanese roots has had on his work. He also discussed drawing on his working class background for inspiration for his pieces. At the conclusion of Rahme’s presentation, the audience was given the chance to ask questions. Roughly eight questions were asked from various individuals, all of which were very insightful questions provoking further discussion from Rahme. On Friday February 24, from 7 to 9 PM, Rahme will return to the Simone DeSousa Gallery for a performance event with his pieces.

Below is an interview with a participant of the event, Grace Alexandra, on how she felt the event was received:


Below is a video clip from the event where artist George Rahme describes his work:


Location of the Simone DeSousa Gallery:

All photos, videos and audio recordings by: Addison Wallace

The Inauguration of President Donald Trump #hive55

On Friday, January 20, Donald John Trump became the 45th President of the United States. The speech he gave during his inauguration was the first time he spoke to the American people as president.

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However, mixed reactions to the presidents inaugural address could be seen across the country.

Some users on twitter expressed the hope and positive energy they experienced while listening to Trump’s first speech.

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Others, however, expressed the dismay and fear of the message the president delivered in his speech, and the possible direction the speech could have set America in for the Trump Administration.

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The raw emotions and the extreme difference in the way people American citizens received President Trump’s speech was indicative of the massively polarizing 2016 election season.

In an effort to analyze the 45th president’s first speech, professional journalism and media sources such at the New York Times and the Guardian analyzed Trumps first speech.

In the New York Times article Inauguration Speech Dims G.O.P. Hope for a More Conservative Trump Agenda, written by Jonathan Martin, Martin discusses his belief that as Trump begins to make choices as the president, he and the Republican Party will have their differences which, could eventually lead to not only problems for the president, but also for the Republican Party.

“Mr. Trump’s vision will inevitably collide with establishment Republican leaders in Congress,” said Martin. “and the outcome could determine not just the success of Mr. Trump’s presidency, but also the identity of his party.”

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In addition to this, the article goes on to discuss the obstacles Trumps will face if he tries to realign the Republican Party. Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 11.47.47 PM.png

The NYT’s article continues on to call Trump more of a populist, than a republican. And some citizens expressing their opinions on Twitter, seem to feel the same way.

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“The alarm and anxiety within the Republican Party’s congressional wing toward its own president are remarkable,”said Martin.

Additionally, other news sources such as Politico Magazine seemed to be expressing the same belief.

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This idea of Trump shaking up the Republican Party, and Washington itself, seemed to be a point of consensus between various media sights when analyzing President Trump’s first speech as POTUS.

In an article by the Washington Post, reporter Chris Cillizza describes how Trump’s speech seemed to take aim at shaking up Washington.

“Trump’s speech functioned as that call to action, positing his election as the leading edge of an effort to overthrow Washington and all of its politicians to put the people back in charge,” Cillizza said.

Some Twitter users also agreed. Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 1.07.42 PM.png

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In the Guardian article entitled What You Need to Know About Trump’s First Speech as President,” it is discussed that a key aspect missing from Trump’s inaugural address was the topic of climate.

“Unsurprisingly given its anonymity during the election, there was no mention of climate change or the environment in Donald Trump’s inauguration speech,” the article stated.

In addition to noticing the lack of conversation about climate change in Trump’s inaugural address, the Guardian and Twitter users alike noticed that the climate change page, along with other pages, had been deleted off of the White Houses website.

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Another topic the Guardian piece focused on was fact that it was unclear as to what was going to happen to the ACA with Trump in office. According to the article, polls have shown that only 20% of the United States would favor having the ACA repealed with no replacement ready.

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The NYT’s coverage of the inauguration consists of analysis of how Trump’s beliefs, as expressed in his speech, differed from Republican values. It also discusses the possible outcomes that these discrepancies could lead to.

The Guardian’s coverage of the inauguration, on the other hand, seemed to place more emphasis on analyzing the various topics covered in Trump’s speech such as the economy, national security and immigration.

Both pieces of coverage took into account the topics Trump focused on in his speech, but the Guardian dissected each issue Trump mentioned whereas the NYT’s took into consideration what Trump said as a whole and analyzed how what he said could effect his policy, and thus his relationship with the Republican Party.

President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration #hive55

Last updated: Jan. 30, 2017, 3:19 pm EST

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Citizens unhappy with the executive order made by President Donald Trump, banning individuals from seven countries from entering the United States for a period of time, protested over the weekend in streets and in airports.  

President Trump issued an executive order over the weekend banning more than 218 million individuals from being able to enter the United States, including refugees fleeing unstable environments. The seven countries that are banned from entering the United States include Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.

In a tweet on Saturday President Trump stated:

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Protesters upset with the executive action took to both airports and streets to express not only their anger, but their solidarity with those affected by the ban. Airports that saw a heavy amount of protestors included those in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Washington and more.

While protests did erupt all over the country, some citizens were pleased with the new presidents actions.

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Leaders from other countries also reacted to the change in U.S. policy. Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, responded to the situation by tweeting that Canada would welcome those that the United States would now.

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