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