Be involved, Stay Involved- Extracurricular Activities

 

Sports, clubs, academic competitions, music, work, social activism?  Why do colleges care about how you spend your time outside of class?  Your extracurricular activities are a reflection of your interests, your attitude, your work ethic, etc.  Admission officers can learn a lot about you by your activity list – but they care less about what you do and more about how you do it.  Colleges are looking for three basic qualities in your activities – longevity, leadership, and lasting impact.  

  1.  Longevity.  Colleges would rather see you be deeply involved in a few activities over several years, than just show up to one meeting for every group, club, or sport at your school.  Choosing a few activities and sticking with them over time gives you a chance to improve your skills, take on leadership roles, and make an impact.
  2. Leadership.  Being a leader demonstrates that you are a committed member of the group – someone...
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What is your “Perfect College”?

 

When you think about the “Perfect College” what comes to mind?  Bucolic hills, palm trees, or urban energy?  Classes with 12 students or with 120?  Going to a football game, a political debate, an art show – all of the above?  How do you know which college is perfect?  You need to know what is important to YOU. 

Here are the Top 10 factors to consider for your “Perfect” college: 

  1. Academics: If you know your major, that should be a requirement.  But what about special programs such as honors, study abroad, co-ops or senior projects?  Also consider the learning environment.  Is the campus on semesters, quarters, or offer a May or January term?  How do you learn best? 
  2. Climate: Think about what climate you will want to live in for at least three seasons of the year while at college.  If you have never lived through winter in New England, think about how you will feel...
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5 Tips for Making College Applications Easier

 

You are on your way!  You’ve got your college list finalized, common app essay completed, recommendations requested, and with applications around the corner you’ll soon be finished the college application process.  These 5 tips will help you stay organized and on track.   

  1. Set up Application Plans. Know what is needed to make a complete application at each college you are applying to.  Recommendations? Transcripts? Essays? Make a list to keep track of requirements for each school.   
  2. Check Application Deadlines.  Early Action, Early Decision or Priority Deadline?  Record the application deadline the you are using for each school on your calendar.  Don’t forget – you can only apply to one school as an Early Decision applicant.  
  3. Follow Directions and Proofread.  It sounds simple but carefully check the directions for each application.  You don’t...
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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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