Size Does Matter- College Undergraduate Size

 

As you explore which colleges are the right match for you, consider the size of the student body. How many undergraduates attend the college? This can make a big difference in your experience on a college campus. Think of college sizes in these four categories (based on undergraduate student attendance only). 
 

Boutique Size (<2000) 
Over 500 colleges in the U.S. enroll fewer than 2000 students. These schools are ideal for students with a strong participant learner approach to college. You get to know your teachers and fellow students very well. This provides opportunities to maximize your involvement in activities and construct your own learning experience. Most boutique size schools are private, examples include Julliard, Amherst, Pomona, California Institute of Technology, Davidson, and Haverford. 
 

Liberal Arts Size (2000-5000) 
Over 300 colleges in the US fall in the Liberal Arts size category. Some of the...

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Comparing Financial Aid Award Letters

 

You got into the top three schools on your list.  Each has sent you a financial aid award. One offer looks better than the other two, but is it really?  It’s important to compare financial aid offers.  Here are 6 questions to ask: 

  1. What is your Cost of Attendance (COA)? Does the college list all the costs for going to college: 1) Tuition & Fees; 2) Room & Board; 3) Books & Supplies; 4) Personal Expenses, 5) Transportation (getting to and from the campus). If the award does not include these items, search the website for the information or call the college.  
  2. What is your Expect Family Contribution (EFC) number on your Student Aid Report? The amount your family is expected to pay toward college is on the student aid report generated when you filed the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This number is needed for comparing financial aid awards.  If your family contribution is close to or more...
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5 Tips for Spring Break College Visits

 

Use your spring break to visit colleges but be aware of spring break schedules for the colleges you wish to visit. It's best to see a college when students are on campus. Here are a few tips to prepare for your spring college visits. 

  1. Create a College Visit Itinerary. Using a map, look at college locations and decide on an itinerary that fits within your given time.  Don’t worry if you can’t see all of the colleges on your list. Focus on some of your top choices and then plan other school visits that are within the same geographic area. 
  2. Register for college visits online. Once you have a list of colleges to visit, register for campus tours online with the admissions office.  Resist the urge to plan “drive through” visits. An official campus tour takes more time, but gives you a better feel for the...
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7 Tips To Ace The SAT

 

 How can you ace the SAT? Here are 7 tips for you: 

  1. Test Day Checklist. Get a good night’s sleep before the test. Be sure you arrive at the SAT prepared with the right tools. See TEST DAY CHECKLIST. Be sure to bring a protein snack, a watch, and an approved calculator. 
  2. Consider Using Score Choice. Consider waiting to send your scores until you see them. You can send them to selected colleges later.
  3. Guess. SAT has eliminated the ¼ pt deduction for guessing and given you only four answers to choose from- just like the ACT.  Eliminate as many answers as possible, then make a calculated guess. It won’t hurt your score.
     
  4. Brush up on Algebra 1 & 2. The SAT now emphasizes Algebra, with some Algebra 2 and Trigonometry. Not much Geometry. The math section includes many word based problems.
      
  5. Pace Yourself. Remember you have two sections to...
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Top 5 Myths about Paying for College

 

Don’t fall victim to these myths! 

1 My family makes too much money to qualify for financial aid.  
  
This is one of the biggest myths out there. You may not qualify for aid at one school, and qualify for lots of money at another school (see blog - How Do You Get Money for College?).  
  
2. It costs more to go out-of-state than to stay in-state.   

Not so. With increased tuition rates in many states, it is not always cheaper to stay in-state.  There are out of state tuition waivers available for many students. Also, colleges offer scholarships to students for athletes, scholars, certain majors, leadership, and other categories. Don't narrow your list of colleges to just in-state schools.  
  
3. It cost more to go to a private school than a public school. 

Not necessarily.  Each family situation is unique and you may find it will...

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4 Tips If You Are Still Applying To Colleges

 

Did you get started late on applying to colleges? Got your December test scores back and you're reconsidering what colleges you are applying to?  
 
Don’t worry! There are many colleges that you can apply to in January and after (even some through August). Here are a few tips for finding colleges/universities with open applications: 

  1. Schools with Rolling Admissions: Once your application is completed, you receive an admissions decision after the application is reviewed.  The college does not wait for all applications to be submitted before giving you an admissions decision. 
  2. Check the Regular Decision deadlines:  Many colleges have “regular” decision deadlines between January and March.  Although, your options for financial aid or scholarships may be less the later you apply. 
  3. Nearby Public Universities:  Public universities, especially those near you, may have local...
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How To Decipher Your PSAT Score Report

 

Taking PSAT is one step in preparing for the SAT.  It's also the test used to determine if you qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.  A test for sophomores (the PSAT 10) will be offered by some schools between the end of February and early March. PSAT/NMSQT scores are made available online. 

Follow these steps to make the most of the PSAT: 

  1. Set up your free online student account to access your PSAT/NMSQT test scores.
  2. Set up an account with Kahn Academy.  Kahn Academy provides study guides and personalized practice tools fo r the SAT.   
  3. Learn more about the National Merit Scholarship that is a part of the PSAT. (NMSQT = National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test)
  4. Read the College Board article on understanding your scores - score calculations, score ranges, percentiles and college...
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MID YEAR CHECKLIST

 

January equals the mid-point of your school year. NOW is the time to review your MID YEAR CHECKLIST. This is an exciting but busy time for you.
 
1. Meet with your high school counselor 

  • Review PSAT scores with counselor and parents (if you took it in the fall) 
  • Ask for recommendations for summer programs 
  • Schedule next year's courses 
  • Schedule your standardized tests for spring 
  • Discuss any school-based standardized testing (AP, IB, other) 

2. Gear up for next year

  • Explore summer programs 
  • Prepare for spring standardized tests using PSAT test scores as a guide 
  • Ask teachers about their recommendation policies (for summer programs, scholarships, or college applications) 
  • Job shadow or intern to learn more about potential careers
  • Plan college visits

Take Action  

  • Take or review the...
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Why Consider a Gap Year

 

Considering taking a Gap Year?

If you’re considering taking a “pause” from your studies, go through the college application process, but ask about deferral policies both for academics and financial aid. Thinking about those things now provides time to decide if a gap is a practical option. In the meantime, start exploring gap programs and options. Do you want something structured or freewheeling? Do you want to climb a mountain or work with children? Is this a time to work in a lab or volunteer at an animal hospital? Would you like to become fluent in a language, understand the inner workings of health care, or meet decision makers in Washington, D.C.? You can do all those and more on a gap.

Gaps have become so acceptable that some colleges, such as Princeton, have set up their own fully-funded programs to encourage students to explore the world and themselves before entering college.

And more than 90 percent of 600 gap students...

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Singing the Senioritus Blues

 

What do I need to focus on in my second semester?

Now that your first semester is under your belt, it is tempting to take it easy during your second semester. Why does it matter if some of my grades slip this semester?

What You Do Now Matters

Colleges are going to ask the following questions of you:

Did you challenge yourself?  Did you take the hardest classes you could!
Did you get the best grades you could?  This includes both first and second semester.
What did you do extra in your classes?  Are you contributing to the class?  Will your teachers discuss your contributions in your recommendations?

Finish Strong

Keep your grades up and your enthusiasm going as you start in your spring semester.  You will be glad you did!

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