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
  • Mask

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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Your Big Decision

Seniors, we understand you’re facing a big decision. The world of college admissions is undergoing lots of changes which will impact how you evaluate your options. There could be many changes in your world including financial, family or personal, causing you to revisit your options at this time

Although a vast number of schools had extended their decision deadlines in 2020 in response to the uncertainly due to the pandemic, most schools have returned to the May 1 College Decision Day. Check with the schools you are considering to confirm the latest information.

Although many college campuses are still closed due to the coronavirus crisis, you have many resources available to help you make your decision. Take virtual campus tours that are available on college websites. Schedule calls with your guidance counselor and admissions reps to answer your questions. Also, reach out to current students to hear what they have to say. 

Have a conversation with your parents to re-evaluate what your family is comfortable spending for your college education.  If your current financial aid package is insufficient or you had not originally applied for financial aid, but now are in need of some financial assistance, speak with the financial aid rep at each of the schools you are considering to discuss your situation. On April 25, 2020, in his Your Money column in the The New York Times, Ron Lieber talks about new developments in the world of financial aid and identifies new services available to help families shop for aid (both merit and need based) and also appeal for more money from schools that have already offered funds.

As we write this, there is much discussion about how campuses will reopen.  Colleges are monitoring the situation very closely in order to make the best decisions possible to keep their students and campus community safe. As the vaccine rollout continues, many colleges are planning for in-person instruction. Reach out to the college(s) you are considering for information on special requirements such as proof of vaccination and details regarding classroom set-up, living in campus dorms, dining options and other aspects of campus life.

We know this is a very difficult time.  Stay in touch with your schools and keep a close watch on new developments, so you can make the best choice possible.

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Registration Reminder

Remember, today is the registration deadline for the May 8th SAT.

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Time to Choose

Seniors, as you consider your admissions options, keep an open mind and review each of your choices carefully. Talk to your parents to get their input and connect with your guidance counselor too. Remember that your objective is to find the school that’s truly the best fit for you, where you can thrive academically and socially. Some thoughts on what the different decisions mean:

Admitted

Good news— you’re in! If you’ve received more than one acceptance, you have an important decision to make.  Look back on any notes you may have taken during your college search and reach out to any current students you know. If you visited a school, try to remember how you felt while you were on campus. You may want to visit or even revisit any schools you’re considering.

Meet your prospective classmates and have a good look around on “Admitted Students” days. Have lunch at the cafeteria, visit the student center, look at bulletin boards around campus and read the school newspaper. Notice what students are doing— are they studying while eating or chatting and laughing? Talk to them— what’s their favorite and their least favorite thing about the school? Do you feel like you belong?

Think about what’s important to you, including price, financial aid, distance, programs, size and spirit, and compare one school to another. Make a pro/con list to help organize your thoughts and ask your parents for their feedback. Consult your guidance counselor as well.

An offer of admission requires your response and deposit by a specific deadline, usually May 1st. Review your acceptance package carefully. If you’ve received an offer for financial aid, make sure you understand the details. If you have any questions, reach out to the financial aid office for answers. Finally, submit all the required documents and information by the  due date.

Waitlisted

If you’ve been waitlisted, there’s still a chance you may be admitted. Neither acceptance or rejection, this outcome requires your immediate attention. There are four things you should take care of now:

  1. Send in the response card required to put yourself on the waitlist by the deadline, but preferably as soon as possible. You will not be placed on the list automatically.
  2. If you require financial aid, contact the school to ask whether aid will be available if you’re admitted from the waitlist.
  3. Contact your admission rep, by phone, email or handwritten note to express your continued interest to be admitted and to offer to provide any additional information in support of your candidacy. Update them about any new achievements not included in your file. If this is truly your top choice, let your admission rep know that if you’re admitted you’ll definitely attend.
  4. Talk to your guidance counselor and ask him or her to reach out to the school rep on your behalf if they feel it’s appropriate.

While the Admission Office may provide you with information about prior years’ waitlists,  the number of students admitted varies from year to year. Waitlist decisions may arrive after deposits are due, so in the meantime, evaluate any other choices you may have and send in your deposit by the May 1 due date. Deposits are non-refundable, so if you’re admitted from a waitlist and choose to attend that school, you’ll forfeit the deposit you sent to the other school.

Delayed Admission

Some colleges offer admission but not until the second semester or even the following fall.  There are several things to think about if you are considering this option:

  •  What will you do in the gap period?  Options vary from school to school and may include participating in a special program, spending a semester abroad, attending another college or university, volunteering or traveling.
  • If the school you’re considering will not accept transfer credits from another college or university, you will need to talk to a counselor about whether it would be possible to catch up so that you may graduate with your class.  If not, make sure you’re comfortable delaying your graduation.

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Understanding Your Aid Offers

Financial aid letters often arrive separately from admissions decisions, so keep an eye out for them. Now’s the time to focus on the specifics because aid offers as each school presents their offers in a different format. This often makes it hard to compare them. It’s so important that you understand the details, including the terms of your aid package(s), a the requirements for you to continue to qualify for your aid and how the aid may change from year to year.

Here are some important things you need to know about financial aid offers:

  • You must reapply annually to qualify for aid, so your package may not be the same each year.
  • Deadlines are crucial and you can lose your aid if you fail to file the necessary paperwork on time.
  • Some scholarships have strict academic requirements and can be rescinded if you do not maintain a specific grade point average.
  • Merit aid may be offered to entice you to join a freshman class, but that same aid may not be available in your sophomore, junior and senior years.
  • Aid may not be available to transfer students, or less money may be offered to transfers, so students should not assume they’ll have access to the same aid package if transferring to a new school.
  • Confirm whether aid will be available if you are admitted off of a wait list.
  • Aid packages may be negotiable, particularly if your family’s financial circumstances have changed.
  • If you have any concerns or questions about your financial aid package(s), call the school’s financial aid office and ask a financial aid officer to help you.
  • Make sure you and your family understand the repayment terms and are comfortable accepting them. 

Make sure you understand the terms of your aid before you select the school you will attend next fall.

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Registration Reminder

It’s not too late to register for the April ACT exam. Today is the late registration deadline for the April 17th test.

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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March Madness

March is the time colleges release their decisions. After many months of hard work, the waiting will soon be done. If you put together a balanced list of safety, target and reach schools, it’s likely that you have at least one acceptance on the way.

Take time to evaluate your choices carefully. Your goal is to select a school where you feel comfortable, where you’ll be challenged academically and where you feel you belong. Look through the course offerings and familiarize yourself with the academic programs available. Try to get an understanding for a school’s personality and what the school community has to offer. You’ll want to be excited to be there and to get actively engaged.

Keep in mind, it’s what you do once you’re at college, not where you attend college that will make the difference post-graduation. Stay focused on the positive news and the college life you have to look forward to.

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Registration Reminder

Today is the registration deadline for the April 17th ACT exam.

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Get Ready For Tomorrow’s SAT

A few thoughts if you’re scheduled to take tomorrow’s SAT.

To minimize your stress tomorrow morning, it’s a great idea to get organized ahead of time. The last thing you need on test morning is a desperate scramble. These are some of the things you can do tonight 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 Coronavirus Updates for Students Taking the SAT.

 

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Wrap It Up

 

Seniors, while you’re waiting to hear back about your applications think about the following: 

  1. Are your financial aid documents complete? If you’ve submitted your FAFSA, you should have received your Student Aid Report (SAR). Make sure it’s correct and respond to any requests for any additional information immediately. If you’ve finished the CSS/Profile and/or any state applications pay attention to any requests for additional information in your inbox. If you haven’t worked on these forms yet, submit them as soon as possible. Don’t delay because aid is handed out on a first come first serve basis.
  2. Have you searched for scholarship opportunities? There are so many resources to use to research scholarships. Scholarships have different deadlines, so continue to search and apply. There may be money out there to help fund your college education.
  3. Are you focused on your schoolwork?  Remember, colleges may still request your grades so don’t let senioritis get the better of you. Your admission and financial aid offers are contingent on maintaining your grades.
  4. Do you check your inbox regularly? The schools you’ve already been admitted to may be reaching out to let you know about special programs and events for accepted students. Look into any opportunities they send you. If you applied for any scholarships, be on the look out for responses or requests for any follow-up actions on your part.
  5. Do you have any news to share with Admissions reps?  Be mindful in sharing only significant and meaningful accomplishments that you feel supplement your application in a positive way. If you’ve received any recognition, you should reach out to let them know. For example, if you’ve won an award or contest or have had your work published, take pride and share your good news with your Admissions rep. Athletic, artistic, and musical accomplishments should also be shared. Informing Admissions of your achievements could have a positive impact on your application.
  6. Are there any additional schools to which you’d like to apply? If you’ve had a change of heart about the schools you’ve applied to, there’s still time to apply to schools with both rolling and late admissions deadlines. Check with your guidance counselor for a list of schools still accepting applications.

 

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