How to Build Your College List & Measure Your Chances for Admissions

Uncategorized Oct 16, 2019
 

How do you measure your chances of admission for any given college?  This is based on several factors.  Some factors are more objectively measurable in the college applications process than others.  The easily measured factors include: 

  • Your GPA 
  • Your tests scores on ACT, SAT, Subject Tests and AP.   

 Less measurable, but also important to your college application are: 

  • The quality (rigor) of your course schedule 
  • Your resume of activities, work, and other experiences 
  • Contributions you made to your community 
  • Your love of learning 
  • Your life’s experiences 

 Using Measurable Factors 

Check admissions data for each college on your list.  Look at the range of SAT or ACT scores, and GPA’s.  Your test scores will put you in one of three zones for the college: green, yellow or red. 

 What puts a school in your GREEN zone? 

  • your test scores are in the...
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Get to Know Your High School Counselor

 

Do you know your high school counselor?  Maybe you’ve met with them to sign up for classes or to make a schedule change.  Or maybe not.  Depending on your school, your counselor may could be responsible for 30 students or 300+ students so some counselors are more accessible than others.  Regardless, it’s important for you to know this person and know what they can do for you in the college search.   

  1. Make an appointment to meet your counselor.  If possible, make an appointment at a time where you won’t be talking about what classes to take next year.  This is a separate opportunity to talk mostly about college planning.   
  2. Ask Questions.  The CollegeBoard has a great list of 20 Questions to Ask Your School Counselor.    
  3. Get Personal.  Colleges that you apply to may require a letter of recommendation from your counselor.  This is one of many...
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Six Tips to Sail Through Completing the FAFSA

 

Your eligibility for financial aid will be based on the calendar year starting in January of your junior year.  Now is the time to learn what information you and your parents will need in order to file a FAFSA.  

What is the FAFSA? 

The Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form students and parents must complete and submit to the federal government to determine their eligibility for financial aid and scholarship opportunities. 

Who files the FAFSA? 

Since this is a federal application, it is for US citizens or students with a legal status in the United States.  International students are not eligible for federal student aid. 

What kind of aid does the federal government offer? 

There are three types of aid offered by the US government: 1) Grants, 2) Student Loans, 3) Work-study.  Colleges will also often use the FAFSA to award their own need-based financial...

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5 Test Day Tips for Taking the ACT or SAT

Uncategorized Sep 25, 2019
 

 You are signed up and ready to take the ACT or SAT test!  Here are 5 test day tips to help you ace the test by starting off on the right foot.  Have everything you need ready when you leave to take your test on a Saturday morning. 

5 Test Day Tips 

1) Get a good night’s rest Friday night.  Make sure your brain is rested and alert before you take the test. Go to bed early so you can get enough sleep to perform your best. 

2) Fuel yourself with a good breakfast.  Make sure to include protein (eggs, yogurt, cheese, peanut butter). You will be testing for over 3 hours so you need a breakfast that can sustain you. 

3) Perform the 48-hour Essentials check.  Gather all the essential items to bring with you to the test in one place 2 days in advance.  

  • Admission Ticket. Required a printed copy of your admissions ticket. 
  • Photo ID. Driver’s license or passport. Check for other...
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When is the PSAT not a practice test?

Uncategorized Aug 29, 2019
 

Do you know the entire name of the PSAT test?  It is officially the PSAT/ NMSQT test. “NMSQT” stands for “National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.” The only time you can be considered for the National Merit Scholarship is during your junior year.  Taking the PSAT is the only way to be considered. 

Taking the PSAT by grade level 

  • Freshman year– It is your first opportunity to take a college-prep standardized test. Check to see if your school allows first-year students to take the PSAT/NMSQT.  The school may want you to take the new PSAT 9 in the fall or the spring. 
  • Sophomore year– Take it more seriously- this is the last time you can take this test and not have it sent to the colleges. You may be taking the new PSAT 10 in fall or spring. 
  • Junior year– Game time!  Prepare just as you have for the SAT test.  Do your best on this PSAT/NMSQT test. You will have colleges knocking at...
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College Fairs

 

College fairs are a great place to start your college search!  So, what’s a college fair and what can you expect?   
 
Think “science fair” for colleges.  College fairs are events where colleges from around the country will gather to provide students with information.  College representatives (usually admission staff or college alumni) are available at tables to answer questions and distribute brochures or handouts about their college.  You might also be able to sign up to be on a college’s mailing/email list.  College fairs typically happen at your school (or a school nearby), or sometimes at a hotel, community center, or convention center.

To make the most of your college fair experience, here are some general do’s and don’ts.   

DO: 

  • Make a plan!  Get a list of the colleges that will be at the event and decide which college tables you want to...
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What’s Your Learning Style?

Uncategorized Aug 01, 2019
 

 How do you like to learn? Do you like to talk to the teachers, raise your hand and stay after class? Or do you prefer to learn by being quiet, checking in with your friends, and blending in with your classmates? This reflects your learning style. Your learning style is an important thing to know about yourself as you do your college search. Which of the following Learning Style fits you?

Learning Style 1

Do you:

  • Raise your hand in class to answer questions?
  • Talk to the teacher after class or before class?
  • Sit in groups and discuss material you are learning?
  • Prefer working on assignments or projects with a large group of friends?
  • Like to lead discussions in class?

Learning Style 2

Do you:

  • Sit in the back of the class and listen to the instructor?
  • Feel more comfortable working on your own on class assignments?
  • Not like to be called upon in class to answer questions?
  • Like sharing thoughts one-one with a friend or the teacher, but not is a large group?
  • Prefer to turn...
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What are You Looking for in a College?

Uncategorized Jul 25, 2019
 

You may have already started to look at different colleges, but how do you compare them?  Here are five categories that you should consider when evaluating a college.  

  • General Information – Where is it located?  Is public or private?  How many students go to school here? 
  • Academic – What majors are offered?  Does the school offer the academic area you are interested in?  Undecided about your major – how will the school help you choose a program of study?  What other special academic programs does the school offer – honors, academic themed housing, study abroad, etc.?   
  • Admissions – How selective is the school?  (A lower the acceptance rate equals a more selective the school.)  What are the average ACT and SAT scores of admitted students?  What about the average GPA of admitted students?  Is it a weighted or...
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AP Scores and College Credit

 

AP scores will be available online at the beginning of July.  Scores are released over several days based on the state in which you tested.  View the date and location schedule, and your scores, on the College Board website.  

What is the AP exam score scale? 

There is no “pass” or “fail” on the AP tests.  It’s important to understand the definitions of the AP scores. 

5 = extremely well qualified | Many universities award college credit  

4 = well qualified | Some universities award college credit 

3 = qualified | Some universities award college credit 

2 = possibly qualified | No college credit awarded 

1 = no recommendation | No college credit awarded 

What if I have other scores? 

Go to www.apscore.org to view scores on tests you took in previous years. 

What if I have other...

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It's All About You - Summer Questionnaire

Uncategorized Jun 27, 2019
 

It’s all about you! 

This summer start thinking about what you like, and what is important to you.  Summer is a good time to do as much preparing for next year as you can.  Here is an activity you can do with your friends.  It is fun to compare notes and learn about each other. 

Think about the following questions.  What are?… 

  • 2 things in your room important to you? 
  • 2 songs you like? 
  • 2 words your friends would use to describe you? 
  • 2 words you would use to describe yourself? 

Let’s take it a bit deeper.  What are?… 

  • 2 feelings you have about going to college? 
  • 2 things you want from a college? 
  • 2 colleges you know about and like? 

What did you learn about yourself? 

Did your friend’s answers surprise you?  What did you learn about your friends? What did you learn about yourself?  

Take Action 

Take...

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