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When Should You Take the SAT or ACT?


When should you take the SAT or the ACT?  Identify which statement below applies to you to help determine the best timing for the test.  


Using the test dates for your personality type, plan your testing schedule for the next year.

Sophomores and Freshman

You will have the opportunity to take the PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT later (11th grade)- so you will get lots of exposure to taking a standardized test. But, taking the real test is always a benefit! Which of these approaches works for you?

To Do:

Use GuidedPath to view test dates and create a testing schedule based on your personality type.

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5 Ideas to Guide You on Selecting a Major


Many college applications require you to select a major or state that you are “undeclared”. But what is the best way to choose a major? Here are 5 ideas to guide you. 

  1. Start early.  It’s never too early or too late to start exploring your interests and connecting them to majors or careers.  
  2. Learn about yourself. Take advantage of career surveys, interest inventories or other questionnaires or resources available to you. The more you understand yourself, the better prepared you are for next steps.  
  3. Research.  Use the Internet and other research tools available to you to explore what majors are needed for careers you are interested in.  Taking classes in subjects required for a major or profession helps you learn more too. 
  4. Try it on. Arrange to do a job shadow or to interview someone in careers you are interested in.  
  5. Make a short list. Once you have done your research and talked to...
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Five Tips for Making College Applications Easier


You are on the home stretch!  Only a few more weeks and your college applications will soon be done. Here are 5 ways you can keep sane during these last few weeks! 

  1. Set up Application Plans. Know what is needed to make a complete application at each college you are applying to.  Need recommendations? Transcripts? Essays? Make a list to keep track of. 
  2. Check Application Deadlines.  How many Early Action, Early Decision or Priority applications are you submitting?  Don’t forget – you can only apply to one school as an Early Decision applicant.  
  3. Organize your calendar.  Create a calendar with due dates for applications and other tasks you need to complete for your applications. 
  4. Track Progress. Feel a sense of pride and relief as you check off each task, knowing you are one step closer to getting in to college. 
  5. Keep in touch with an advisor or teacher.  Enlist the help of others. Your school or advisor...
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How Do You Measure Your Chances for Admission?

Uncategorized Oct 19, 2018

How competitive for admissions will you be at a given school? This is based on several factors. Some factors are more objectively measurable in the college applications process than others. The easily measured factors include: 

  • Your GPA 
  • Your tests scores on ACT, SAT, Subject Tests and AP.   

 Less measurable, but equally important in your college application process 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 25% of...
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Do Early Birds Really Have an Edge in Admissions?


Do early birds really have an edge in admissions?  The answer is often yes!  The purpose of submitting an application to a college early is to indicate your top preference for that college or a small group of colleges.  Colleges appreciate knowing you are likely to enroll if admitted. With Early Action and Early Decision, you hear sooner whether you’ve been accepted to your “dream” school” and there is often a significant admission advantage to applying early.   

What is the difference between the three early application types

  • Early Action is a plan offered by colleges allowing students to apply early and receive an admissions decision earlier than the regular decision dates. Early Action is typically non-binding (i.e. you are not required to enroll if you are accepted) and you may submit early action applications to more than one school. You can apply regular admissions to any other colleges. 
  • ...
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What Should I Expect on the PSAT?


What should you be prepared for on the PSAT? 

  1. Guessing allowed.  Remember, no deductions are made for incorrect answers on the PSAT.  So – guess away! 
  2. Prepare to read for content. PSAT uses long reading passages, with questions based on content not vocabulary. Be ready to read and understand the passages. 
  3. The PSAT scoring is the same as the SAT- almost. The PSAT scale ranges from 160-760 for each section: 320-1520 total for 2 sections. The SAT score range is 200-800 per section. 
  4. Prepare for a long test!  The test is 2 hours 45 minutes.  
  5. Remember your formulas and history. Don’t be surprised to find questions about science or the founding fathers. PSAT test questions are evidence based. 
  6. Scores, scores and more scores.  The PSAT has multiple ways to look at what you were tested on and how you fared on the test.  Go over test scores with your school counselor. 

Practice Made Easy...

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Building Your College List Using Google's New Tool

Uncategorized Sep 20, 2018
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The Do’s and Don’ts of College Essay Writing

Uncategorized Sep 07, 2018

It’s September – time to finalize your college essays. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to guide you.

College Essay General Do’s and Don’ts


  1. Do be concise and write about something you know about.
  2. Do be open and authentic. Reveal something about your identity in your essay.
  3. Do show rather than tell. Giving examples and illustrating your topic brings it to life.
  4. Do write in your own “voice” and style.
  5. Do have multiple people help you edit your essay for grammar, spelling, and context (parents, friends, your counselor, etc.).


  1. Don’t write what you think others want to read.
  2. Don’t exaggerate or write to impress.
  3. Don’t use a flowery, inflated, or pretentious style of writing.
  4. Don’t ramble—say what you have to say and conclude. 

Your college essay, along with your high school record, standardized test scores, and extracurricular involvement, will provide the basis upon which the...

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Do I Need to Take the SAT Essay or ACT Writing Section?


The essay portion of the SAT and the Writing section of the ACT are both optional.  At press time, according to the Princeton Review, only 15 colleges require the SAT Essay and only 17 colleges require the ACT Writing section.  Just a note – ALL of the University of California System schools require the SAT Essay.   However, the odds are that if you are applying to colleges outside of California, it’s unlikely that they require the essay.   

There are additional schools that recommend submitting the SAT Essay or the ACT Writing – and some schools do use this part of the test for placement purposes or other consideration.  Therefore, it’s important to check with each school regarding their standardized test policies.  You don’t want to find yourself shut out of applying to a school or being considered for a scholarship that requires the SAT Essay or ACT Writing.  

But if you do...

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3 Steps To Creating The Ultimate Activities List

Uncategorized Aug 17, 2018

Sports, clubs, academic competitions, music, work, social activism? Colleges care about how you spend your time outside of class. Here are 3 steps to the Ultimate Activities List.

Write down ALL the activities you have been involved in during high school. As your get this information down, include:

  • Name of the organization or activity you were involved in. Don’t use abbreviations. The reader may not know what ASB or DECA is.
  • A description of the activity or organization. What is the focus of the activity or organization?
  • All activities. Don’t forget about other groups or organizations you belong to outside of school. Youth groups, club or recreational sports, work, performing arts, talents (such as music) or hobbies count too.
  • Grade level(s) participated in. Include whether you did an activity 1 year or all 4 years.
  • Occasional activities. Doing a food drive once a year counts. Include those once or twice activities.

Add the DETAILS. Be sure to go back and include this...

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