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Making the Most of Your College Visits

college visits Feb 20, 2020
 

The College Visit 

Depending on your time and interest level, plan one of the following types of college visits: 

Basic Visit 

  1. Attend an information session.  Ask questions about admissions, financial aid, choice of majors.  IMPORTANT: Get a business card from an admissions person. 
  2. Do a college and dorm tour.  What does the campus look like?  Where do freshman live? What are the housing options? 
  3. Eat a meal on campus.  Go to the dining hall or coffee shop and eat.  Introduce yourself to some students and ask questions.  You will be surprised at how much they want to share about the college. 

Extended Visit 

In addition to the basic visit schedule – an information session, a campus tour, and a meal on campus – ask if you can add the following appointments at the schools that you are most interested in:  

  1. Meet individually with an admissions...
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It’s Never Too Early to Start Your College Essays

Uncategorized Feb 06, 2020
 

Last week, the Common Application announced that the essay prompts for 2020-2021 will remain the same as they were in 2019-2020 application.  So, what are you waiting for?  Now is a great time to start brainstorming topics for your Common App essay.    

 2020-2021 Common Application Essay Prompts 

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. 
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? 
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? 
  4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be...
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Who’s Watching Your Social Media?

Uncategorized Jan 30, 2020
 

Alan Katzman, founder and CEO of Social Assurity, guides students on creating a winning social media presence. He is a pioneer in developing and advancing techniques to teach students how to use social media to build a compelling and reflective digital presence as a game-changing tool for creating academic and career success at all educational levels.  We’re giving you his top four reasons why you should be aware of how social media can impact your college planning. 

Reason #1: Admission Officers Are Looking at Your Social Media
Thanks to Kaplan Test Prep and its annual survey of college admissions officers, we know that at least 35% of admission officers in the United States looked at applicant social media during the 2016 admissions process. We also know that admissions officers are more likely to look when considering scholarships and when invited to do so by applicants. 

Reason #2: Since They’re Looking,...

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The Secret to Student Success

Uncategorized Jan 23, 2020
 

What do successful people have in common?  Is it brains, talent, fame or fortune?  No!  Arel Moodie, bestselling author and speaker, has a different idea.  In this TedTalk, Arel explains the secret to student success and how you don’t have to be the smartest or the most talented to be successful.   

Arel’s secret – effort – comes from his personal experience as a successful student and entrepreneur.  Numerous studies and authors agree with him.  Angela Duckworth, psychologist and distinguished professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is well known for her research on “Grit”.  Among the high achievers that she studied, grit (aka conscientiousness) is a common factor and outweighs IQ in predicting success.   

Watch Arel’s “Secret to Student Success” TedxTalk 

Take Action 

Are you struggling with an assignment or a class?  Adopt a...

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5 Myths about Paying for College

Uncategorized Jan 16, 2020
 

Here are 5 myths about paying for college that counselors often hear.  Don’t fall victim to these myths! 

1. My family maketoo 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 cost less for...

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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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