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Making a list – no, not that list…

 

It’s that time of year – making a list and checking it twice.  And no – we’re not talking about a Santa list.  Now is a good time to begin thinking about your college list.  Use some of your down time during winter break and the steps below to get a jump start on your college list.   

  1. Identify and prioritize your criteria.  Size, location, academic programs, cost, extracurricular activities, campus life – there are many factors to consider when thinking about a perfect college.  What are you looking for and what factors are most important to you?   
  2. Gather and organize information.  Maybe you’ve received brochures from colleges in the mail, or perhaps you went to a college fair this fall.  It’s likely that you’ve already collected materials from some colleges.  Organize those materials (make a folder for each school) and list what you like and don’t...
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Gap Year Programs

gap year Dec 12, 2019
 

What? Is that insane?! Not at all. This is the perfect moment to take a deep breath and consider taking a break from school before plunging into the next pressurized step. Now is the time to think about a gap year or semester that allows time and opportunity to refocus, polish skills, explore an interest, or simply re-energize. 

Gap years still are more common in places like the United Kingdom where up to 25 percent of students who go to college take a year off. In the United States, that number is closer to 1 percent, according to the nonprofit Higher Education Research Institute. The statistics don’t tell why students take off a year, but the American Gap Association (AGA) reports increasing interest and attendance at the gap year fairs it holds around the country to familiarize students with gap programs. 

Why even consider a gap? For starters, researchers in Australia found that taking time out from school helped with motivation once students...

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PSAT Scores Released Next Week

Uncategorized Dec 05, 2019
 

If you took the PSAT earlier this fall, you should expect to receive your scores sometime next week.  The CollegeBoard says scores will be released to students Dec 9-11 (the exact date depends on where you live).  Your counselor can access the scores on Dec 2 through the K-12 reporting portal.  Be smart by using your PSAT scores to improve your score on the “real” SAT.  Your score report explains what areas you need to review before taking the next test.  

Viewing Your Scores 

The CollegeBoard has aligned the PSAT scores with the SAT scores.  You can use your PSAT test scores to learn more about how you might do on the upcoming SAT tests. But there are a LOT of scores on the PSAT test.  Which scores should you to pay attention to? 

Here are some tips.  When viewing your score report, focus on: 

  1. Raw scores.  Look at your Reading/Writing score, your math score, and total score. 
  2. ...
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Holiday Dinner Talk Advice: College

Uncategorized Nov 21, 2019
 

Next week most Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving.  In the upcoming holiday season, you will likely end up spending time with lots of family.  Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve seen Grandma and Grandpa, or Uncle Mike and the cousins.  What are you going to talk about?  Most experts advise that politics is off the table, and you can only talk about the weather for so long.  Don’t be surprised if the guests turn their attention to you and your college plans.  What are your plans after you graduate, what colleges will you apply to, what will you major in, etc.?  You may or may not have answers to these questions – so how do you deal?   

  • Share – or not.  Share as much information as you’d like, or don’t.  It’s likely that you are still sorting out the details so it’s ok to say “I’m not sure yet.”  You’ve started the process, you are...
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SAT Subject Tests Questions and Answers

 

SAT Subject tests are based on curriculum you have in class.  It’s an opportunity to demonstrate your mastery of a particular subject.  According to the College Board, 

“The SAT Subject Tests offer you an additional opportunity to show colleges what you know and what you know you can do.  Many colleges use the SAT Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to advise students about course selection.  Some colleges specify the SAT Subject Tests that they require for admission or placement; others allow applicants to choose which tests to take.” 

Only a handful of colleges require SAT subject tests from students, but many will use SAT Subject test scores as a part of your admissions profile or for placement purposes (especially in foreign language). 

What subject tests can I take? 

There are 20 subject tests to choose from.  A majority of the tests are in foreign languages, with English, History, Math and...

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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

 

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 application process than others.  The easily measured factors include: 

  • Your GPA 
  • Your test 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 top...
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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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