Registration Reminder

Remember, today is the late registration deadline for the March 13th SAT.

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It’s Time to Put Together a Testing Plan

Take control of standardized testing by creating a plan for yourself to make sure you can take the necessary tests on the optimal dates and have enough time to prepare. 

Begin by scheduling a meeting with your guidance counselor.  Find out which tests are offered and understand how they differ and which ones are appropriate for you.

Take a practice SAT and ACT. Determine which test you’re more comfortable with and is the best for you.  Kaplan Test Prep offers free SAT  and ACT online events and tests to help you compare. The Princeton Review also offers free SAT and ACT online tests.

Once you decide which test you will be focusing on, set up a schedule.  If you can take  the ACT or SAT in junior year, you’ll have more time to focus on applications and financial aid when you’re a senior. Look at the ACT and SAT test dates for the entire year and choose dates that allow you enough time to prepare . Of course, you will have the option to take additional tests during senior year should you want to improve your scores. Take into consideration any AP or IB exams as well as your course finals when planning your schedule.  

Ask your parents and guidance counselor for input. Choose test dates that don’t conflict with any of your own personal obligations and talk to your parents to clear the test dates you are considering with the family calendar as well.

Register for tests as soon as possible to ensure your spot at the location of your choice. Keep a master calendar of the tests, test dates and locations that you register for and store your registration ticket in a place you’ll remember on test morning.

Find test prep resources. Search for resources that will work best with your learning style and your budget. You can prepare on your own, in a group or with a tutor. Take advantage of the free resources available online. You can borrow test prep books from your local public library or you can  purchases them online and in your local bookstore. Use these resources to take practice exams. Take as many timed practice tests as possible to get comfortable with the test and develop a good sense of how to pace yourself. In addition, there are many online prep programs as well as classes in your local area. Ask your guidance counselor, and also friends and relatives who have done this before for recommendations.

Keep track of your scores. Once you have your results, record all your test scores on a master calendar like the one included in The College Bound Organizer. From this list you’ll choose your top scores, even if those scores are from different test dates, to submit with your applications.

Learn about test-optional schools. The list of colleges and universities that don’t require the ACT or SAT in their admissions process has expanded significantly in the last few years. Whether you decide in advance to opt out of standardized test taking or you’re not happy with your scores, test optional schools may be a good choice for you. 

Remember, that while there is so much talk about testing, your test scores are only one piece of your application. Admissions officers are also interested in your grades, your curriculum, your participation in extracurriculars, and what you express about yourself in your essay.

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I Am Interested In Attending

“Demonstrated interest” is a term often used in college admissions referring to how serious an applicant is in attending a particular school.  There are many ways a student can show their interest in attending a specific college or university. In the past, a student expressed enthusiasm  by visiting a campus and signing up to participate in an info session and campus tour, making the effort to meet a rep at a college fair or a high school visit, as well as writing thank you notes after interviews and meetings.

More recently, in addition, colleges are increasingly gauging students’ interest in surprising new ways. Using new technology schools are tracking how promptly students are opening emails, signing up for interviews, how long they’re spending on school websites and even at what point in high school they began looking on their site.

Although not as important as grades and test scores, demonstrated interest is still a factor in the admissions process at many schools.

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Registration Reminder

Remember, today is the registration deadline for the March 13th SAT.

 

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Find Your Fit

Juniors, it’s understandable if the college search process seems overwhelming right now given the pandemic has turned our world upside down. Even though on-campus visits may not be possible there are still many ways to learn about the many choices available to you.   While there are thousands of two and four year schools in the US, you’ll be able to narrow down which schools you should explore further if you devote the time to establish the best type of college for you. Here are some important considerations:

Think about your high school experience and your community. Do you want a college experience that is similar or are you looking for something new? Size, setting and focus sum up the main differences among schools. Small, medium and large schools each have distinct characteristics.

Small schools typically offer greater access to faculty, small class sizes and a strong sense of community. Large universities typically offer more majors, a wider variety of extracurricular activities and clubs, research opportunities and graduate programs.

Do you see yourself in a city or in a country setting? An urban school offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in a city. Part of the appeal of an urban school may be exactly what the city has to offer, such as internships, off campus jobs and arts and cultural events. Rural schools are generally self-contained and usually offer a greater sense of community. Rural settings may allow you enjoy the outdoors. Suburban or small town schools combine a little bit of both— they tend to be self-contained but with easy access to the surrounding community.

Focus really means whether a school is considered a liberal arts, research or professional oriented school. Focus is an important consideration and the main differences in focus include: the range of majors, research opportunities, classes taught by professors versus teaching assistants or graduate students and graduate study opportunities.

Begin your research. Start with college guide books, such as the “Fiske Guide to Colleges”, which offer facts about basic admission requirements such as GPA, SAT and ACT ranges, course requirements, tuition, student body demographics and feedback from current students. Read free online college resource guides, follow college admission related blogs and read newspapers to learn more about schools and the admissions process. Attend college fairs in your area. Look through school websites which provide detailed information about a school’s student body, required curriculum, courses of study, tuition and financial aid, housing and extracurricular activities. Look for academic, athletic and extracurricular programs you’d like to find out more about.  Also, take a look at admissions requirements. Virtual tours are especially important now. Most schools offer tours on their website which allow you to get a good chance of the physical campus and what a school has to offer. 

Ask for input. Talk to your parents and guidance counselor to get their ideas about what schools may fit your needs and interests. It may be helpful to reach out to current students and also alum to ask questions and get a better feel for a school’s “personality.” 

Make a preliminary list of schools you’d like to research further. After your initial fact-finding, you’ll hopefully have a better idea of the type of schools that appeal to you. There are, most likely, many schools that will be a great fit for you.

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Get Ready For Tomorrow’s ACT

A few thoughts if you’re scheduled to take the ACT tomorrow.

To minimize your stress in the morning, it’s a great idea to get organized ahead of time. The last thing you need on test day is a desperate scramble. These are some of the things you can do the night before to get your big day off to a great start:

First, check with your parents to make sure they know when and where you’re scheduled to take the test, and arrange how you’ll get to the test center. Next, gather and pack all the things you’ll need to take with you. Some of the things on this check list are “must-have” items, while others are optional.

REQUIRED: Don’t forget any of the following items or it will be a long ride home!

  • An approved calculator
  • Sharpened #2 pencils
  • An acceptable form of photo ID
  • Your admission or standby ticket

SUGGESTED:

  • Water
  • Snack
  • Sweater
  • Back-up calculator
  • Extra batteries for your calculator
  • Watch (to keep track of time)

Finally, given how COVID-19 has disrupted the testing process, we suggest that you confirm the status of your test registration and stay current on any changes by visiting ACT Testing Amid COVID-19.

Set your alarm, get a good night’s sleep and have a healthy, satisfying breakfast.

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Counselors That Change Lives

Congratulations to the counselors recently recognized as the 2021 Counselors That Change Lives.

The award acknowledges counselors whose dedication to their field helps students navigate the college admissions process and find a college that helps them achieve their goal

The counselors selected are:

  • Emily Coffey — Mount St. Mary Academy (AR)
  • Cole Conners — Lakeside High School (GA)
  • Allie Cooper — Breakthrough Santa Fe (NM)
  • DeEnna Holohan — Notre Dame High School (CA)
  • Nicholas Howell — Pflugerville High School (TX)
  • Victoria Monroe — Mechanicsburg High School (OH)
  • Lisa Pederson — Mounds Park Academy (MN)
  • Morgan Phillips — St. Mary’s School (NC)
  • Sam Ritter — Davis New Mexico Scholarship (NM)
  • Darryl Tiggle — Friends School of Baltimore (MD)
  • Elena Walsh — Benjamin Franklin High School at Masonville Cove (MD)
  • Matt Ybarra — Santa Fe Preparatory School (NM)
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How The College Board Changes May Effect You

Within the last twelve months the pandemic has brought on significant changes to the college standardized testing world. The shift away from the SAT and ACT requirements means more emphasis will be placed on other components of the college application. Students will have to use their high school academic performance as well as the rigor of their course work to demonstrate their preparedness for college level learning. Extracurricular and community involvement as well as volunteering and other activities will play a big role in how students set themselves apart of their peers.

The recent announcement by College Board to eliminate SAT Subject Tests means greater  notice will be given to, not only grades, but also to  AP test scores. This may be especially important for students with a focused academic interest. For example Admissions evaluating pre-med students may pay closer attention now to performance in science classes and corresponding AP scores.

Finally, the elimination of the SAT writing section means admissions will rely more on grades in English classes and the application essays. This is a chance for students to take control and use the essay to convey their writing skill and voice.

 

 

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Big News From College Board

The College Board announced two big changes today. The optional essay section will be dropped from the SAT and SAT Subject Tests (SAT IIs) will be eliminated.

 

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Registration Reminder

Today is the late registration deadline for the February 6th ACT exam.

Look for ACT pop-up sites when you register in MyACT.  Pop-up sites are operated by ACT and won’t cancel at the last minute.

 

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