Category: s

Doamygar-D the Complete Series: Now I’m Hungry

Funimation released Doamygar-D, The Complete Series on DVD this week. It is available at most major retailers and Amazon.

The series, which comes with Japanese subtitles, concerns the exploits of a young candy maker who discovers an enormous mecha (robot suit) in the basement of the sweets shop he inherited from his family. He soon finds himself in the position of having to save townspeople who have been turned into giant monster robots — by feeding them traditional Japanese sweets.

Official Summary:

“In modern day Kyoto, young Daijiro Kyougoku has finally taken over his family’s traditional Japanese sweets shop.  One day, Daijiro comes across a mysterious candy-making robot named Doamygar-D hidden in the shop’s basement.  When evil monster-like robots take over the city, Daijiro must man his newfound candy-making mecha to feed the insatiable hunger of these foes and turn them back into harmless humans.  There has to be someone behind all these transforming treat-loving terrors, and that someone might be closer to Daijiro than he ever thought possible.  Take food fights to the next level in this bite-sized homage to mecha anime of the past.”

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When I first started watching the show, I was thoroughly confused due to there being some sort of history/trivia lesson about Japanese sweets displayed at the top of the screen while subs are displayed at the bottom. It was a lot to process. And then, as soon as the first episode began — it was over. That’s because each episode is only about three minutes long! So you get a little over 30 minutes total viewing time with this DVD, meaning you have to be kind of a hardcore fan of this anime to buy it for the same price as a full-length DVD.

As far as the story, it was fun. The premise of having to fight monster robots by carefully crafting and feeding them sweets, along with all the trivia about candy-making displayed at the top of the screen makes me feel this was produced to promote the candy industry in Japan. Let’s just say that by the end of the last episode, I had a serious jones for some gummy bears.

dobig

What we liked: The animation is done in a retro style, and even the cover art looks like it was folded and creased just like an old DVD might be. The mechas are cool.

What we didn’t like: Episodes are hecka short. The end credits theme gets stuck in your head after hearing it 13 times within a 30 minute period.

TWK Rating: 6 out of 10. Something a bit different.

Includes: Eps 1 – 13
Format: DVD
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Rating: TV-PG
Aspect Ratio: 16×9
Main Feature Audio: Japanese Stereo (NO ENGLISH DUB!)
Main Feature Runtime: 33
Region: 1
Number of DVDs: 1
Studio: FUNimation
UPC: 704400017957

ddddere

 

Becky G Joins Yoobi to Donate School Supplies to Thousands of Students

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Inglewood native Becky G and Yoobi joined forces to donate thousands of school supplies to every single elementary school student from the Inglewood Unified School District, over 7,800 kids! The Yoobi Give Event took place at the Frank D. Parent Elementary School in Inglewood where Becky spoke to kids during a morning assembly, inspiring them to chase their dreams and that change starts from within. She then visited classrooms at the elementary school, handing out the supplies and hanging out with the kids. She colored with them and even sang with them when they asked her to sing her hit “Shower.” Yoobi partners with underprivileged schools were 70% or more of the students are enrolled in free or reduced lunch, making this donation mean a lot to students and teachers alike who were moved by today’s incredibly generous donation.

Yoobi is based on a bright yet simple idea: for every Yoobi item purchased, a Yoobi school supply item will be donated to a classroom in need, right here in the U.S. Yoobi believes that students all across the country should have access to the necessary tools to learn and be successful. This back to school, Yoobi hopes to continue to reach students with the materials they need to succeed, while inspiring kids to give back to their communities. Since their launch in 2014, Yoobi has impacted over 1.5 million kids across the U.S. and it doesn’t stop there!

Some of the most memorable moments included:

– Students screaming when they were surprised by Becky G at the morning assembly during the Yoobi Give Day.

– Becky G handing out donated Yoobi school supplies to excited students.

– Becky G hanging out and coloring with students in their classrooms with their brand new Yoobi supplies.

– A student asked Becky G if she would sing their favorite song with them, “Shower,” and began to sing promoting all of the students to join in and sing with her!

– Becky G having fun and laughing with the kids and talking to them about what they want to be when they grow up and inspiring them to chase their dreams.

 

How to Handle Your First Kiss!

So you’ve never kissed a guy…but you’ve watched kissing scenes on TV and almost every movie and it looks pretty easy.

But remember, those scenes are absolutely rehearsed! Watching someone kiss doesn’t mean you know how. First kisses can be awkward but they don’t have to be.

Follow this wonderful guide to handle your FIRST KISS and make it memorable!

Step 1. Think about what kind of “FIRST” Kiss you want.

What? There’s more than one type?! YES!

There’s wet kisses, dry kisses with chapped lips (no one wants that), mouth open, a little tongue, a lot of tongue, or a nice juicy peck on the lips where you hear the sound of a smack!

You might be thinking, “Well what if I don’t want to plan it?” You don’t have to, but it’s nice to have an achievable fantasy.

kissing2

Step 2. PRACTICE!

I know this sounds silly, but use your hand and pucker up! I’m not saying hardcore make out with your hand!

You’ve kissed a baby, your parents, and maybe a picture of the guy you want to kiss. It’s the same concept, just slower and sweeter. Practice makes perfect right? Make yourself kissable and moisturized! Speaking of that…

Step 3. Make your lips soft and KISSABLE

No one wants to kiss someone with cracked lips. You want your lips to look KISSABLE. What does that even mean?? It means that you should exfoliate and moisturize with a lip balm – nothing sticky.

Dab some tea tree oil around areas on your lips where you are breaking out. (It will sting!)   Do not apply the tea tree oil directly onto your lips, only around it. Dab the oil directly on your pimple(s) around your lips.

To exfoliate your lips, you can purchase a lip scrub from any drug store. I prefer using lips scrubs from Lush. If you want to save money, you can always make your own. There are many lip scrub recipes you can find online. Most scrubs are made of sugar and other sweet ingredients.

lips

Step 4. Have fresh breath!

Brush your teeth beforehand!

If you can’t, have some breath mints or Listerine strips on you. Stay away from foods or drinks that will make your breath smell or make you want to burp. (Avoid coffee, onions, tuna, garlic etc.)

Step 5. COMMUNICATE – use body language!

The man you want to kiss is finally in front of you. Let’s pretend you both are silent and we’ll assume you’re both ready to lock lips. Lean in closely and stare into his eyes. Let me rephrase that: make eye contact!

I giggle whenever I hear someone say “stare deeply into their eyes” because technically you really can’t be looking at both their eyes at the same time! Anyways, look at each other and sense the vibes he’s giving off. Guys give off strong signals, and if it’s their first time, chances are you both are nervous together. At this point, you can drop hints by looking at his lips or smiling. Move closer.

Step 6. Give permission to kiss.

Sure, you can verbally consent you want a kiss, but that’s no fun. Kiss them on the cheek. That’s always really cute and that will make him want to kiss you on the lips even more! Some guys can be really shy and you might just have to initiate it, which is okay!

Step 7. Aim for the lips!

I know that sounds cheesy, but believe me, some people miss. Timing is important too: you don’t want to kiss someone while they are smiling with teeth or have their mouth open! (If you’re lucky, that will make both of you laugh and you’ll want to actually kiss from there.) So here’s what you do, lean in slowly, aim for the lips and try to get his lower lip between yours. Be confident and smooch!

kissing1

Step 8. Know your limits!

Keep it gentle and sweet. Let the pattern of kissing come out naturally and pace yourselves!

Remember, don’t feel pressured to do something you don’t want to do. Be verbal about things if you have to.

If you have any more kissing tips, comment below!


Kristen_MarquezKristen Marquez  graduated with a B.A. in Cinema & Television Arts from California State, University Northridge with an emphasis in Television Production. She is a social media coordinator by day and a content creator by night. With her great imagination, she knows she will create the next big thing whether it’s a script, a product or a simple idea that will fill people’s hearts with joy and entertainment. She blogs for a hobby and loves spending time with her golden retriever Lily.

Instagram: @lexikris
Twitter: @krisiza10

George Dalton Reveals Meaning Behind His Controversial “Trap Queen” Video

trap queen

11-year-old George Dalton is likely best known as camp radio announcer “Arty” on Netflix’s “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp,” but lately has become a bit of a viral star with the release of his kid-friendly version of Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen.”

The success has been bittersweet as, while he has attracted plenty of attention with his cover video — not all of it has been positive. In fact, George has been the target of cyber-bullying and personal threats from both young people and adults online because of the video. We got the chance to speak with George while he was on location shooting a new movie, and he shared his feelings about the bullying, the one thing which has helped him deal with it the most, and the actual meaning of the video — which many people misunderstand.

Hey George, What’s up?

Nothing much!

Where are you right now?

I am in Tennessee, filming a movie.

Can you tell us anything about the movie or is it all hush-hush?

I can tell you about the movie, its called Wild Man, and its about a guy named Bo Treadwell and he moves from Hollywood to Nashville, Tenessee and lives with his sister. He lives in a pink playhouse because there is no room in the house for him. So he lives in the backyard in a little pink playhouse and across the streeet is a woman named Laura, and she lives with her young son named Elliott. Elliott is kind of bullied at school and he wants to learn how to play football to be popular. So he goes up to Bo and he asks him if he will help him be his mentor for football. Its kind of a coming of age story between two people basically becoming men.

It sounds pretty cool, who else is in it?gdaltonsmall

I can’t say…

Okay. So Tom Cruise is keeping his appearance hush-hush.

Yeah. About the cast, I can’t say that much.

Alright. So you are kind of new to the biz. You have done a few shorts, and the Netflix series Wet Hot American Summer which we are going to talk about in a second, and you’ve got this music video that everyone’s talking about…but let us rewind a little bit. Tell us how you got involved in show biz in the first place, and what that journey was like.

When I was really young I started going into musicals and plays at my local theater in my hometown. I just did local plays.

Then my father passed away when I was 4 years old [from brain cancer]. We were all stunned that this could all of a sudden happen and thought that life was really short. I really wanted to do acting so I said “Can we move out to Los Angeles?” My mom agreed and we moved out to Los Angeles.

Lots of fun stuff happened: I got on Two Broke Girls and then I was on Wet Hot American Summer…so yeah, that’s my story! (laughs)

We first met you at the DragonBall Z: Resurrection F premiere in Hollywood…are you a big fan of anime?

Occasionally yeah, I’m not BIG into anime but I have a few favorite shows. Shoutout to Netflix…I really like The Seven Deadly Sins. I started watching that not too long ago.

What’s been the best part about working on Wet Hot American Summer? First of all, did you wrap that, or are you still shooting?

Actually, no one really knows if we are renewed for a second season but I hope we are.

Alright, well what’s been the best part about working on that?

Its great just being on set and the cast is so amazing, its such an all-star cast. Its amazing working with those people, and the set is so cool. I really like how I get to be in the 80s. Its so much fun working on set; the atmosphere is great and everybody is just so amazing. I’m so happy I got to be a part of it.

Who do you hang out most with on set when you are not shooting?

Most of my scenes are with Michael Ian Black, so we see each other a lot on set.

Now let’s go back to something that I am sure a lot of people are going to want to hear about: your cover of “Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap. Tell us first of all why you chose to make that cover, what inspired you to do it?

I wanted to take a song that was popular at the moment and make a jazz version of it and at the same time make it kid friendly so kids my age could listen to the song more than they could [the adult version] I wanted to make young kids hear the song better — more kid friendly version with my own spin on it.

Right now it has about 1.5 million views [Now over 2 million – Editor.]. What’s been the most challenging thing to deal with after the video was released? Because you got a little bit of shade thrown at you and have been basically bullied online…what’s been the toughest part of all that?

Its just really hard to wake up every day and see on your Instagram feed, “you’re fat, “you’re ugly,” “you should go die,” “I’m gonna kill you.”

It’s so hard to see that and its so ridiculous that people…I didn’t personally offend anybody by singing that song so I don’t know whay everybody got so crazy about it. I was just doing something for fun, and I didn’t know it would get 1.5 million views. I didn’t think any of that would happen.

I think its really stupid that people are picking on an 11-year-old kid when they are 15, 16, 30, 28. It’s not okay.

People really need to stop bullying because other people have hearts too and they have never even met me and don’t know what I am like. They don’t know anything about me, so why something so rude if you don’t know anything about the person’s life or anything.

george dalton weho

What’s helped you deal with that? I know its tough, especially at age 11, to get that kind of criticism hurled at you…especially when all you are trying to do is make something cool.

Its actually fans. When I see someone defending me online, and someone sticking up for me and being nice and saying “you’re such a great singer” that really helps me get through my day.
The haters just drive me to keep doing what I love. I am not going to stop. I have so many plans in the works for my music. I am not gonna stop. My fans really help me get to where I want to be, and [the fact] that they like what I do and appreciate it makes me so happy.

Awesome, that is a great attitude to have. If you could go back and change anything about making the video, or how it was promoted or anything like that, would you change anything or would you leave it exactly as is?

I would leave it as it is. I like the video.

Some people actually have started making up what they think the plot of the video is. No one really knows what the video is about and why I made it and what my vision behind it was. They just think I am a fat kid forcing young girls, who are actually my friends, to go make pies for me to eat. So people have completely got the wrong message about that.

So I just really want them to understand what I was doing. Maybe if I went back and made that video a little bit more clear on what the message was I was trying to make, that would probably be one thing I would change.

Well, do you want to tell us what your vision was and what you were actually trying to get across?

Basically the point of the video is me and a bunch of my friends we all go to these places…we were kind of taking the song and making it literal.

So we made all the references literal throughout the music video but making it a funny kid version. We went to all these houses and we start making these pies for all the neighborhood kids. When you see the kids looking through the window, that’s them trying to see what we are doing.

I am not forcing these people to make ME pies, we actually run a business. We are running a business in the living room. If you can see, they are on a typewriter and phones and I am signing a clipboard.

We are basically running a shop (laughs).

Well, that clears it up!

People…I just wish they didn’t get such a wrong message by thinking they were “housewives” and weird stuff like that. I think people need to know I’m a kid (laughs).

I just wish they didn’t pick on me so much, and maybe now that I told you what the plot is they’ll get a bit more clearer view of what it’s about.

Let’s hope so. People are ridiculous though, so you never know. Just keep doing you is my advice. Do you have any more music coming up?

I do. I recently released my Halloween song “Pet Semetary.” Soon I will be releasing Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” so that’s going to be fun. And in 2016 I have something a little big prepared…I am going to be releasing an EP. That’s going to be exciting. I hope people will be able to see all my writing ability and my original music.

When is that expected to drop?

That I cannot say just yet.

I don’t want to bet this topic to death because its not the happiest topic, but since kids are getting bullied out there and you are, whether you intended to or not, a role model for a lot of people…out of this whole experience of being bullied online, what’s been the best thing to come out of it for you? We’ve already talked about some of the negatives…but what’s been the best part,; what have you learned from it?

I have learned that…advice for other people that are getting bullied and want to do music online…just remember that not everybody’s going to like it. But at the same time, you are going to have so many people that like it, and the people that like it–that’s the good that comes out of it. When the people like it it makes you happy and that’s what’s so good. And then you get discovered and everyone loves you.

Its cool because you get Instagram pages dedicated to you saying “I love George Dalton” as their account name and “George Dalton Rocks,” “George Dalton Fan Page.” That’s the good that comes out of all of it.

The fans help me get through my day so much.

Besides the film you are working on right now back east, what do you have coming up next?

I will be making an appearance on the TV Land TV show “Teachers,” and that’s it for my acting career for right now.

Tell me something that people would be surprised to know about you.

I actually don’t like pies. I hate pies so much, I would rather just like…I don’t like pies at all.

I am obsessed with American Horror Story.

I love anything Disney. I have a major crush on Ariel, the Little Mermaid.

My natural hair color is actually brown.

Lots of surprising things there. Especially the pie thing.

I HATE PIES SO MUCH! They are the worse thing that has every come to mankind. The only reason we used them in the music video was because they made sense with the song (laughing).

Can we get you to send us a quick selfie from set?

george dalton selfie

Instagram: http://instagram.com/george_haslife
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GeorgeDaltonOfficial
Twitter: @georgebdalton
Vine: George Is Cool

Interview with Trinitee Stokes from Disney’s K.C. Undercover

triniteestokes

Trinitee Stokes is a young talent on the rise with very little to hold her back. As an actress, singer, author, and fashion designer she has proven time and time again that she can do it all.

She currently stars alongside Disney favorite Zendaya Coleman on “K.C. Undercover,” a live-action comedy that follows K.C. Cooper (Zendaya) as she trains to follow her parents’ footsteps and become an undercover spy. Trinitee plays no-nonsense ‘Judy,’ a sophisticated humanoid robot disguised as a precocious 10-year-old. The show premiered in January 2015 and is currently filming its second season.

We got the chance to ask Trinitee a few questions about her role on the show, her fashion designs, and her work as an advocate for literacy. Here is what she had to say!

Hi Trinitee, nice to e-meet you! First of all, can you tell us about your show K.C. Undercover, and your role in it?

K.C. Undercover is family sitcom that follows K.C. (Zendaya) who is living a double life as an undercover spy along with her family. I play the role of Judy Cooper, the younger sister, but I am really the family’s secret weapon. Judy is an extremely smart robot that assists the family on their secret missions. Although Judy is smart and sassy, she has no social skills which makes it hard for her to make friends.

Tell us about the auditioning process, was it pretty easy or was it hard?

My auditioning process wasn’t hard at all, but it was pretty intense. It was the first time I had to audition in front of SO many people.

By the third audition for the role, I started to get nervous. I was so close to booking and did not want to mess it up. But my parents and my coach, Cheryl Faye, reassured me to just keep praying, believing God, and to be at peace. Our executive producer, Rob Lotterstein also was very funny and made me feel very comfortable. So, I was able to go inside and just be me.

What did you do to celebrate booking it? : )

My parents took me out to my favorite restaurant and to get my favorite froyo. Then they invited some of our friends over and we had a celebration.

When we went back home for the holidays, our family and friends threw me a big party!

What’s the goofiest thing your co-star Kamil has done on set?

He was trying to learn how to ride the air wheel and he almost fell.

How about Zendaya, what’s been the goofiest thing she has done on set?

A goofy thing that Z does all of the time on set is making weird looking faces and duck lips in the middle of rehearsal.

What was it like meeting her for the first time?

The first time I met Zendaya was at a chemistry read during the audition process. I was a huge fan of hers, so I was extremely excited to meet her.

You are also a fashion designer, right? Tell us about “Designs by the Trinitee.”

Yes, I started sewing when I was 6 years old because I couldn’t find anything in the stores that expressed who I was. When I was 7 I made the first two pieces of my clothing line.

To date, I have 7 completed pieces and working on my 8th. “Designs by The Trinitee” is a fun, colorful, sparkly line that all kids would love to rock at school or any event. I also completed my first pair of joggers.

You are an advocate for literacy and host several book drives every year. Why do you feel so strongly about this cause?

I have always loved reading since I was 3 years old. My parents still read to me even though I am older. Reading for me is a way to escape into another land and it is also a way to learn new words. Reading teaches you many things, and about different people and their lifestyles.

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

People would be surprised to know that I delivered my first sermon at church this summer for children’s annual day.

What do you have coming up next?

I am currently working on a children’s book series with my mom, that will be released early next year.

I am also in the studio recording my next single.

Where can your fans follow you on social media?

Twitter: https://twitter.com/the_trinitee

Instagram: https://instagram.com/the_trinitee

Facebook: TheTrinitee

Website: http://www.thetrinitee.com/Trinitee.html

Anything else we should know?

Know that I love all of my supporters and YOU too.

Can you please send us a selfie of whatever you are doing right now (chillaxing, eating, hugging a pet, whatever.) We like to keep it real!

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Shadowhunters’ Stephanie Bennett Discusses Her New Role

Stephanie Bennett - Russell Baer1
Photo credit: Russell Baer


Hi Stephanie, nice to e-meet you! First of all, can you tell us about the upcoming ABC Family show Shadowhunters, and your role in it?

Shadowhunters is an ABC Family fantasy show based on the popular book series ‘The Mortal Instruments’ by Cassandra Clare. The show follows the main character, Clary Fray, an 18 year old girl who finds out she is a Shadowhunter and her adventures in an alternative world. My character, Lydia, is a strong, no-nonsense Shadowhunter with a troubled past. It’s been amazing to be a part of that world! It premieres on January 12th on ABC Family.

What was the auditioning process like, pretty easy or was it rigorous?

I originally sent audition tapes to LA for a couple of other characters on the show  before landing the role of Lydia. I knew I wanted to work on Shadowhunters from the start so at one point I flew to LA to get in front of the casting department in person. A few months later I found out I booked Lydia and was ecstatic!

What did you do to celebrate booking it? : )

A happy dance!

What are you most looking forward to when Shadowhunters debuts?

Stephanie Bennett - Russell Baer2
Photo credit: Russell Baer

The fans of the book series are awesome and it’s cool to see how excited they are already. I’m eager to see how they respond to the show because I think they’re going to love it. I’m so proud to have been a part of it.

Your role in The Romeo Section is pretty gritty. What is the hardest part about playing that character?

My character Dee is dealing with a variety of struggles throughout the season and in order to make my performance honest I had to expose some really dark sides of myself. It’s never easy to go to those emotional places but I knew I needed to push my limits to do the role and the project justice.

And the most rewarding?

It’s exhilarating to play such a risky and challenging character and I really had to jump in with two feet. I’ve always dreamed of playing a role like Dee and I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to do so this early in my career. While filming, I felt like every scene no matter how big or small taught me something new about my character and my craft.

Brag to me about your biggest failure (could be as a teenager or any other time), what you did to get over it, and what did you learn from it all?

On one of the first films I ever booked I had a terrible skin reaction the night before my first day. The production did everything they could to work around it but they had to let me go and my role was recast. I was devastated but I loved acting too much to let this one setback keep me from more opportunities. As soon as my skin healed, I was back auditioning. I’m really grateful now that I got back on the horse and kept at it.

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

Ever since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated with the supernatural, ghosts and spirits in particular. I would read endless books with ghost stories and I still love reading and watching documentaries on the paranormal.

What do you have coming up next?

I am currently working on a TV show called ‘Motive.’ It’s a really fun role. Stay tuned!

Where can your fans follow you on social media?

I am on Instagram as @stephaniedian
And on twitter as @StephBennett89

Selfie time! 

StephanieBennettSelfie

7 Things All Teens Should Know About Applying to College

college student
Picture Source: https://flic.kr/p/nzfebX

Let’s face it: whether you’re just starting to look at colleges or racing to finish your personal essay before the deadline, college applications can be intimidating. The good news? They don’t have to be. With a little guidance, any teen can navigate the college application process like a pro.

As a content fellow at Khan Academy, I’ve spent the last year and a half talking to admissions officers, financial aid professionals, and students who’ve been through the college application process themselves. They all had a ton of wisdom to share – things I wish I’d known back when I was applying to college!

#1: Your phone is your friend.

Phones aren’t just for texting – they’re also a great way to get homework help on the go. With more and more free learning apps available every day, the information you need is literally at your fingertips. Khan Academy, for example, has practice problems, video lessons, and articles on math, science, history, and much more on its Android and iPhone apps.

By using the resources on your phone, you can take charge of your own learning. That’s important, because your high school grades are a big part of your college application. In fact, most colleges say that your high school transcript is the most important part – they want to see that you’ve taken challenging classes and done well in them.

Student story: High school classes:

#2: Don’t be discouraged by the sticker price.

Some teens avoid applying to specific colleges – or applying to college at all – because they worry they can’t afford it. There’s no denying that college can be expensive. On average, it costs almost $20,000 per year to attend a four-year public college, including tuition, meals, and housing. The average cost of attending a private college is even higher: over $40,000 a year.

Fortunately, financial aid can make college much more affordable. Financial aid includes scholarships, grants (which don’t have to be paid back), and loans (which do). You can apply for financial aid from the federal government, private organizations, and colleges themselves. In fact, the schools with the highest sticker prices often provide the most financial aid.

Perhaps you’ve heard back from your first-choice school about your financial aid application, and they didn’t offer you as much aid as you’d hoped. The conversation doesn’t have to stop there – it’s perfectly acceptable to appeal the school’s decision. For example, if you’ve received a more generous offer from your second-choice school, you can share that info with school #1.

Student story: Overcoming financial obstacles to college

#3: You don’t have to pay big bucks to do well on the SAT.

For many students, taking standardized test like the SAT and ACT is the most intimidating part of applying to college. Fortunately – since the SAT and ACT test what you’ve learned in high school – you’ve been preparing for them since freshman year, even if you didn’t realize it at the time. Better yet, you can find free resources online to help you study.

For the SAT in particular, check out Khan Academy’s Official SAT Practice. It includes information about the test, personalized practice recommendations, and tons of practice questions. These are all free, and all developed in partnership with the College Board, the non-profit organization that writes the SAT.

Student story: Standardized tests:

#4: Ordinary events can inspire extraordinary essays.

Many teens think that their college application essay needs to about something epic – curing cancer or starring on Broadway or competing in the Olympics. I haven’t done anything like that, they worry, so how can I write a good essay?

The truth is that some of the best essays are about everyday events. In fact, one of the admissions officers I interviewed – someone who’s read thousands of essays – said that his favorite essay of all time was about working at a fast food restaurant!

Your personal essay is the most personal part of your application. It’s a chance for admissions officers to get to know you – how you reflect on your experiences and what makes you unique. So don’t worry about whether your topic is important enough – write about something that’s important to you, and let your thoughts and feelings shine through.

Writing a strong college admissions essay:

#5: Do your homework.

There’s no better way to gauge whether or not a school’s a good fit than the gut feeling you get from actually stepping foot on a college campus. Visiting campuses is one of the most enjoyable parts of the application process and arguably the best way to get a sense of what attending that college is really like. For many colleges, an interview is also part of the application process. Before your interview, get to know the school – what makes it different from other colleges? Exploring the school website is a great way to start your research.

You can use what you learn as a starting point for your interview, but make sure to ask questions that can’t be answered just by reading the college’s website. For example, you might ask about the school culture, or what it’s like to participate in one of the programs you discovered in your research..

Doing your homework shows that you’re really interested in the school, and that you’ve thought about why it might be a good fit for you. You’ll also learn more and get more out of the interview if you can ask specific questions about specific programs.

Student story: Admissions interview:

#6: There’s another reason to schedule a campus visit or interview at a school.

If you already know that you want to attend a particular school, you might think there’s no need to visit it. But visiting isn’t just a way to learn more about the school – it’s also a way to show admissions officers that you’re interested.

Also, if the college’s admissions website “recommends” an interview, you should view the interview as required. Visiting a campus and scheduling an interview, tour, and/or overnight stay are all great ways of demonstrating that you’re especially interested in a school.

If you’re worried about the cost, you can always ask the school whether they have any programs to help lower-income students visit, or whether they hold virtual interviews for students who can’t make it to the campus. More and more schools are offering these options, and It never hurts to check!

Visiting campus: Campus Visit Alternative: Online Tour

#7: Get excited!

There’s no doubt that applying to college is a big job, but it’s also the start of a big adventure. College isn’t just a continuation of high school. It’s a chance to explore, make new friends from around the world, and choose what you want to learn.

College is what you make of it – so dream big, and enjoy the ride!

Student story: College brings new friends, learning, and freedom:

For more college application tips, check out Khan Academy college admissions site. And if you have your own tip to share, let us know below!

Madeleine Traver is the College Admissions Content Fellow at Khan Academy – a nonprofit with a mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Having recently graduated from the University of Southern California, she now helps other students achieve their college dreams.

Need a Scholarship? There’s an App for That! Interview with Scholly Founder Christopher Gray

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College application season is in full swing.  One of the biggest questions on students’ (and parents’) minds besides where they’ll be enrolled this time next year is how they’re going to pay for it all.  Unfortunately, many families cannot afford to pay for college out of pocket and their institution of choice can’t provide adequate aid. The ultimate question becomes: How do you avoid the staggering student loan debt that follows graduates well into their careers?

The good news is, there are millions of dollars in scholarships (both need and merit-based) to be had and they can all be found on Scholly (www.myscholly.com).  Scholly is a web and app platform that quickly matches students to the scholarships they personally qualify for.  Scholly’s patented matching engine uses 8 parameters (such as gender, state, GPA, race, etc.) to quickly filter and deliver a targeted list of appropriate scholarships along with links and deadlines.  The app is just $3 which covers both web and phone access.

(In addition to buying Scholly on an individual basis, the Buy 2 Give program allows companies, government agencies and other entities to buy the app in bulk to provide to their constituents.  Many cities and companies have been giving back to their community by offering Scholly to local high school and college students.)

Q&A WITH CHRISTOPHER GRAY, FOUNDER OF SCHOLLY

Describe the environment you were brought up in. 

I grew up in Birmingham, AL with a single mom and two baby siblings. My mother lost her job in 2008 when the recession hit. In fact, many people lost their jobs. Also, the fact that I was in an under funded, inner city school system didn’t help. There was violence, gangs, and a culture filled with anti-intellectualism. Students who were bright and motivated were often overshadowed and smothered, and that coupled with a lack of economic opportunity made it even harder to succeed no matter how hard you worked. If you were interested in things outside of the entertainment industry and sports, the chances of you finding like-minded peers were slim to none. Despite that, I worked hard and started my own organizations to create my own opportunities. I refused to allow that environment to define me and stagnate my intellectual potential.

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How did you find the self-motivation to extricate yourself from those circumstances when so many others around you were not motivated?

At the end of the day, many would call me an outlier and an exception to the rule. I had never had any real desire to “fit in” and remained intellectually driven despite the culture I grew up in. While I didn’t have like minded peers, I did have great mentors who were from outside of Birmingham who helped me, supported me, and provided me with opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. It was still tough being an oddball and being so different than those around you. However, having successful mentors were somewhat of a North Star to me, directing me toward my freedom even if it was just intellectually.

Did you have any help or mentoring in terms of applying for colleges? If so, who were your mentors?

Since my high school guidance counselor didn’t have much time to help, I actually relied on websites and even added random people on Facebook who got into the schools I was applying to. It was pretty effective and some jumped on the phone with me to help. It was amazing how kind people were. These were people from schools like NYU, Drexel, Penn, and more. In my mind, what better way to find out how to get in a school than to ask the people that got in. I’m sure they thought I was weird, but I was a 17-year-old boy trying to get into college so I didn’t care. I also had a teacher who helped me with my essays so that was helpful. In fact, she was the same teacher who helped me with my scholarship essays.

Describe how you began searching for scholarships on your phone.   How did you know how to search – to put in the right terms, etc. that eventually led to you getting 1.3 million in scholarship money to fund your education at Drexel?  What particular talents did you use, and how can others learn from your example?

When I had to search for scholarships, I used sites like Fast Web and Scholarships.com. They were really the only thing out there at the time. It would take you about 20 minutes to put in all of your personal information and then the sites would give hundreds of matches that you had to sort through in order to see if you qualified for them. The process took me months.

To add to the frustration, I was only able to use computers at local libraries and at school for a very short period of time. The forced me to have to apply for some scholarships via my cell phone. For some scholarships I would literally have to write my essays down and then type them into fields on my small phone screen. The process was agonizing and tedious, but I knew I had to do it.

I started looking for scholarships during my junior year of high school, allowing me to spend that time searching in order to use my senior year to actually apply for everything. In hindsight, this was an effective strategy considering my lack of resources at the time.

How did you get the idea to turn your knack for scholarship “findology” into a business?

I found that the hardest part about getting money for college was actually finding the funds. There is money out there, but students do not know where to find it. The search process took me months and that was with an ungodly amount of grit and persistence. It can take some students even longer and most just give up altogether. There had to be an easier way. There have to be certain things each scholarship looks for that makes students qualify for them.

That’s how I came up with our “eight parameters system” for Scholly. I looked through a lot of scholarships to find out what criteria made a student eligible for a scholarship. That’s the core of the Scholly search. The goal of Scholly is remove the search process and to give students access to funds to pay for college.

Scholly App High Res ImageTalk about starting Scholly while you were still in college.

Starting a company in college has both its advantages and disadvantages. The upside is that you are in college and with entrepreneurship at the top of everyone’s minds, you have access to mentors and a lot of free capital through competitions. Between Drexel and other competitions, I won around $130,000 dollars for Scholly. Similar to scholarships, I became pretty good at raising “free money” for Scholly Also, as a student you have access to lots of mentors and programs that can assist you in starting and growing your company.

The downside is of your course that you are a student and you have to take these annoying things called classes.  As one could imagine, it was incredibly difficult trying to take five classes each term while running a growing company. The choice between being a good student and a great entrepreneur was a daily struggle. It’s really tough to strike the balance.

What was the turning point where you knew this could be a real business?

Starting Scholly was all around the notion of helping other people. In order to do that, I had to create a sustainable and growing business. We hit a turning point when my team and I realized that we couldn’t simply rely on press to keep us afloat. We had to commit full time to the company in order to push things forward.

What has been your greatest challenge getting your business off the ground?

My greatest challenge was definitely trying to balance being a student and running a company.

How many millions of dollars in scholarships have been awarded to students using Scholly?  

Currently, we have helped students raise over $15 million. We have tracked that through self reporting. When our new app comes out next month, we will be able to track other metrics. [The app is now live]

Besides leading students to potential scholarship matches for them, do you also offer advice on how to apply successfully? 

Our new app will provide tips on the application process.

Do you worry that by raising awareness of all that “hidden money” that the competition will get tougher and make scholarships harder, not easier, to obtain?

Our goal right now is make the scholarship search process as easiest as possible. By doing so, we will make scholarships more competitive. However, our goal is to eventually create a market place where more scholarships can be created and promoted to students to increase the supply side of the scholarship space to help meet the increase in demand.

Do you have any statistics on the amount of student debt that currently exists in the U.S.?    

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/05/08/congratulations-class-of-2015-youre-the-most-indebted-ever-for-now/

How do you see the future of Scholly?   How will the concept and the company evolve?

Scholly’s mission to provide access to opportunity. While we are starting with scholarships, we plan to begin to match students with and promote other educational opportunities as well. Our slogan is, “opportunity for all” and we plan to provide that access through our platform.

Benjamin & Matthew Royer Twin Telepathy Challenge

We had a quick chat with the hilarious and talented twin brothers Benjamin and Matthew Royer from Disney Channel’s Best Friends Whenever, who reveal the surprising way they were discovered for the role, the dumbest twin question they were ever asked, and more. They also participated in our first (and probably only) Twin Telepathy Challenge. How do you think they did?

Follow them on Instagram and Twitter! @thematthewroyer @thebenroyer

Top 10 Biggest Myths about High School


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High School!

Looking back at those years, I am filled with bittersweet agony. I, like so many millions, looked forward to entering high school and did so with the best of intentions. However, I made a few missteps — a lot of which were a result of pressure built on by the numerous myths which filled my head about high school from movies, T.V. and books which made high school look like some sort of a wild jungle party.

In the following, I will be debunking a few of them for every teen out there who is about to enter high school.

a21. Only the popular kids have fun

No high school is anything like what we were shown in the movie Mean Girls! There is no elite group which runs the whole school. Yes, there will be certainly people who are more outgoing than others and have a wider circle of friends, but the truth is that most high schools are so big that people don’t really care about how popular you are. And there are not going to be crazy parties every weekend being thrown by this popular clique, with being invited to the party as some sort of acceptance criteria.

The idea is to find your group of friends or like-minded people and have the best time possible while focusing on learning as much as you can (and proving it with good grades). Most parties or hangouts are among close group of friends and are low key. The supreme power of the popular clique is a total myth, unless your high school has like 30 kids in it total. 

Do not enter high school with a mindset that you need to be part of any clique to survive that place. You just have to be yourself for the right kind of friends to like you just the way you are.

a32. I’d better hide on Freshman Friday

I remember walking scared all day long on the first Friday of my high school year. All you freshmen out there, you may breathe a sigh of relief there is hardly such thing as a Freshman Friday any more!

It took me a whole day of holding my breath to realize everyone’s just too busy and don’t really care enough about the freshman to torture them. Some seniors might make you feel that they are superior to you in some ways, which they really aren’t except for their knowledge about the building. There might be some ragging or some people might pull a few pranks but people rarely get physical, unless you somehow end up involved with the wrong kind of kids — in which case get an adult involved if you do not feel safe or are bullied harshly.

Many high schools offer freshmen some sort of mentoring program to jump start their high school experience, so make sure you check out what your school has to offer before the school year starts.

a43. Everyone drives a wicked cool car in high school

Not everyone comes to school in their own personal Benz or Mustang GT — most of the cars in the parking lot probably belong to the teachers or the staff.

Unless your parents got bucks, the usual way you get your first car is that you finish school, get a job and then get your own car, even if its a jalopy. Do not expect your parents to buy you a car automatically when you turn 16, and do not enter high school thinking you need a ride to impress people.

If you want to impress people impress them with your talents and your personality.

a54. Appearance is the key to acceptance

Yes, it is true that we become more aware of our sense of style and fashion in the high school years, but it certainly doesn’t mean you have to be on some sort of a bandwagon.

It helps to look presentable and take care of your grooming, because that is just polite and also makes you feel good, but your style or the label on your clothing is not the key to your social life. Within a couple of weeks after school starts everyone gets so busy with exams, projects and other stuff that people hardly pay attention to what other people are wearing.

So no need to fret over what to wear every morning, just follow what is your true style or whatever you are in the mood for.

napa photo booth company youboothsf.com5. These are the best years of my life

A lot of teens enter high school thinking these are supposed to be the best years of their lives and they should live it up as much as they can before its all over.

Also, just because everyone seems to be dating, doesn’t mean you have to be in any hurry…because the best years are still to come. Your thirties and forties will be way better than this, believe me.

These are the years to make mistakes and not take things too seriously. I was so nervous about “being trapped” that I ended up being in an open relationship. I thought with this no strings attached kind of thing going I would be happy and free, but the truth is I ended up being miserable and multiple commitments even effected my grades.

High school can be a different sort of an experience for everyone. You shouldn’t enter high school with too many preconceived ideas. It is the best time to explore yourself, and what options you have for the future. Your college admission also depends on what you do in this time, so sacrifice a little here by hitting the books and it should pay off in the best years of your life later.

a76. The only thing that matters is my grades

Another myth which should be debunked here is that teens often think “I don’t need to participate in extra-curricular activities; I should just focus on my grades.” This statement is completely false.

Colleges and Universities always look for well-rounded applicants. Even if you are the smartest kid in your school academically, colleges will debate whether they should accept you or not just because you did not participate in any extracurricular activities. Even without college plans, extracurricular activities teach you so much more than what books can. You get to learn patience, persistence and discipline, as well as develop artistically, athletically, and/or spiritually. These are desirable qualities and part of your life education, so do not focus only on your grades, but try something new to expand your horizons.

a127. There is a gang of kids drinking, smoking and/or and doing drugs in every bathroom 

I was terrified of entering bathrooms when I first went to high school, because nearly every movie I have ever seen shows a bunch of tough looking kids in leather jackets that hang out in bathrooms all day ready to beat nerds up in between drags of their cigarette or swigs of beer — or smoking weed and being stupid.

While you may encounter a few kids here and there being naughty, this is rare. And definitely not like what you see in the movies. In fact, if teens are going to misbehave, they usually do it far away from teachers — meaning they wait until after school on their way home.

a88. I don’t have to worry about the SAT or ACT until Senior year

Many students believe since they need their standardized test results just before they need to apply for college of their choice; they should wait until the very end to even think about these tests. Actually the earlier you prepare for your ACT and/or SAT exams, the better off you will be. There are plenty of resources for taking practice tests, study guides, and more online which will help you prepare. It is better to take the SATs as early as possible, as it gives you more time to restudy and retake the test for better scores.

This comes from personal experience.

a99. I must strive to shine like a lone star

Another very interesting myth that is sometimes manifested is that the lone star shines the brightest. In truth, teens need to learn the importance of teamwork and getting along with people.

When working together, sometimes team members become competitive and try to outshine each other or focus only on their part in the project. There has been a paradigm shift in the corporate culture over the past few years. Every company now looks for a team player and wants to see how well you will blend in. Therefore, it is very important to participate in all sorts of group activities. High school is one of the best times to get exposed to the concept.

So, whenever you are part of a group don’t just focus on yourself and sulk in a corner or try to dominate: see how you can contribute to the success of the whole team.


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a1110. I must lose my virginity in high school

No you don’t. You also don’t need to do so in college either. The truth is, there are no 100 percent, across the boards rules about this. Instead, it kind of depends on your upbringing, your parent’s guidance, your cultural background, your religious beliefs, and even what part of the country you live in. Mots of all, it depends on your gut, and what makes your comfortable in accordance with the previous factors.

The point is…there is no rush.

So there you have it. High school is what you make of it, and hopefully you will get to know yourself much better. It is a phase where some of the lessons you learn will stay with you for life, so do not let these myths spoil your experience for you.

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Samar is a senior writer for OLWOMEN.com, an avid reader, fashion and make up enthusiast who simply lives to write and talk about all kinds of stuff. Focusing on open-relationship rules these days and especially about the signs he’s cheating you!