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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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What's your favorite dance tune?

summer Jul 11, 2018

It’s all about you! 

Enjoy this summer and start thinking about what you like, and what is important to you. Summer is a good time to do as much preparing for next year as you can. Here is an activity you can do with your friends. It is fun to compare notes and learn about each other. 

 Start thinking about what is important to you. What are: 

  • 2 things in your room important to you? 

  • 2 songs you like (think favorite dance tune from the summer?) 

  • 2 words your friends would use to describe you? 

  • 2 words you would use to describe yourself? 

Let’s take it a bit deeper.  What are: 

  • 2 feelings you have about going to college? 

  • 2 things you want from a college? 

  • 2 colleges you know about and like? 

What did you learn about yourself? 

Did you have any surprises when you did this with friends? What did you learn about your friends? What did you learn about yourself?  

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Anxious to see your AP scores? Find Out When, Why, and How


The wait is over! AP tests come out this week. Scores come out by physical location. View the date and location schedule, and your scores, on the College Board schedule.


What is the AP exam score scale?

There is no “pass” or “fail” on the AP tests.  It’s important to understand the definitions of the AP scores.

5 = extremely well qualified | Many universities award college credit

4 = well qualified  | Some universities award college credit

3 = qualified   | Some universities award college credit

2 = possibly qualified   | No college credit awarded

1 = no recommendation   | No college credit awarded


What if I have other scores?

Go to www.apscore.org to view scores on tests you took in previous years.


What if I have other questions about my AP test scores?

Check out the College Board’s AP Student Top Questions page for answers to viewing and sending scores to...

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6 Tips To Reduce Your Stress and Help You Do Your Best On Your SAT/ACT


Standardized testing can be daunting!  Follow these tips to reduce your stress and help you do best on your tests.


1.         3 Times is Enough


Plan to take the SAT/ACT no more than 3 times each. You should be done testing by fall of your senior year.


2.         Try both the SAT and ACT


Take a diagnostic test or take the official ACT/SAT tests to see which one you prefer and/or do best on.


3.         Start to Study Immediately


Don’t waste one of your tries before you’ve even cracked open your prep book.  Know what to expect on the test and be familiar with the format.

Practice test taking strategies. Practice your weaknesses. Don’t waste time practicing your strengths.


4.         Pick One Test and Stick to It


Take a diagnostic test to...

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6 Tips on How to Spend Money in College

atm budget credit card money May 24, 2018

Graduation completed? Check!
Dorm room selected? Check!
ATM card for college! What? Get an ATM card?

Before you leave for college, you need to learn how to handle money. Here are 6 tips for you to consider as you prepare to go off to college in the fall.

  • Open a bank account NOW and get an ATM card (if you don’t already have one). Make it a joint account (you and a parent.) That way you can get money quickly if you need it when away from home (in college).
  • Learn how to check your bank balance from your phone. It is a good practice to check your bank balance before you get gas or stop by Starbucks, to be sure you have money in the bank for your purchase.
  • Learn how to deposit checks. New technology allows you to deposit checks right from your phone. Great for those graduation checks you will receive.
  • Create a budget. It is essential to have a spending plan. Know how much money you will have each month from your financial aid or from parents. With your parents, create a realistic...
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5 Tips for Excelling as a College Freshman


Going from high school to college is a big step!  A current college student shares five tips for excelling as a freshman in college.

1. Learn to manage your time.

Classes in college are arranged differently than high school.  You will have gaps in time between classes.  Plan each day’s schedule carefully, including study time in addition to class time.

2.  Prepare before class.

Use the class syllabus to review upcoming class material. If you go to class prepared, you will get more out of the class and will save time when studying.

3.  Reflect on what you learned.

Learn how to take notes (such as Cornell notes).  Right after attending class and taking notes, write a summary of your notes, reflecting on what you learned.  How do you connect to what you learned?

4.  Find your study space.

Do you study best in a quiet environment?  Or do you do better sitting in the middle of a busy place?  Find a place you can study effectively....

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College Selection: What's in a Location & Why it is Important?


How do you describe where you live?  City? Suburb? Country? As you explore colleges, one thing to consider is the location of the college.  Location can make a significant impact on your college experience. Think about where you want to go to school.  

 Here are terms used in college “locations” with definitions:  

  • Major City: Population 300,000 or more: or within a 25-mile radius of a metropolitan area. 
  • Small-Medium City:  Population 75,000-299,999 or within 15-25 mile radius of its metropolitan area. 
  • Large Town: Population 25,000-74,999 or within a 10-mile radius of a large town. 
  • Small Town: Population 5,000-24,999 or within a 5-mile radius of a small town. 
  • Rural: Population under 5,000, in or near a rural community.  

How do you know what will be best for you?  Search for:  

  • Nearest airport.
  • Nearest large city.
  • Nearest outdoor experiences...
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