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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How Do You Know How Much You Will Pay for Your College (Need Based Aid)?

 

Paying for college is often compared to paying for airline tickets. No two people pay the same price. What will your costs be at college? How much you pay for college depends on so many factors.  Knowing what those factors are, and how college will look at your family’s financial situation, will help you know what the price of your “college” ticket will be. Knowing how it will differ from one college to another will help you compare one college to another.
 
How do I know if I am eligible for financial aid?

What do colleges look at to determine how much you pay for college? The FAFSA or Profile forms are used to determine how much your family can contribute to your college education. The forms include questions to find out: 

  • How much income your parents make
  • How much income you make (if any)- even babysitting counts
  • How much savings or investments your parents have
  • How much savings you have in your name

What is an “Expected Family...

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SAT Subject Based Test Questions & Answers

 

SAT Subject tests are based on the 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."

Make plans now to include SAT Subject tests as part of your college planning process.

 

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