March Madness

March madness is here!

Most colleges are releasing admissions decisions and you’re probably starting to sorting through acceptances, possibly rejections and even some waitlist or delayed acceptances. The following are some of your options and what they mean for you:


You’re in! If you’ve recieved 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.

Take advantage of “Admitted Student” days and events which give you the opportunity to meet your prospective classmates and have a good look around. 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 thing and their least favorite 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, just to name a few, and compare one school to another. Make a pro/con list to help organize your thoughts and ask your parents for their feedback. Bounce your ideas off 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 and if you have any questions, reach out to the financial aid office for answers. Finally, submit all the required documents and information by the specified due date.


If you’ve been waitlisted— the good news is you’re still in the game. Neither acceptance or rejection, this outcome requires your immediate attention. There are four things you should take care of now:

  • 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.
  • If you require financial aid, contact the school to ask whether aid will be available if you’re admitted from the waitlist.
  • 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.
  • 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 from 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 you will 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.

Take the time to evaluate your options so that you may make the choice that’s best for you.




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Get Ready

A few thoughts if you’re scheduled to take the SAT on Friday:

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!

Admission/Standby ticket
Acceptable form of photo ID
Sharpened #2 pencils
SUGGESTED: These are things you may want to bring along.

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

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

Good luck!


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Registration Reminder

Friday is the deadline for registration with no penalty for the April 14th ACT.


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It’s Time To Attend A College Fair

Spring college fair schedules are now available. Attend a college fair and meet admissions reps from a long list of schools at fairs in your own town or in a town nearby.

Here’s how to get the most out of college fairs:

√Research college fairs in your area. Look online at the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) spring schedule. The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation also maintains a college fair calendar. Your school district or high school may also have their own fairs planned. Check with your guidance counselor for a complete schedule.

√Register for fairs in advance and avoid the lines when you arrive. Sign up for NACAC fairs online and receive your own barcode to print and take to the fair. You will be asked to enter your contact info, academic interests, high school and graduation year.  By scanning your code, college reps will be able to read your information and eliminate the need for you to fill out individual information cards at each booth. They’ll also have your information if they want to reach out to you.

√Get ready for the fair. Find out which schools will be participating. Take the time to go through the list and decide which reps you’d like to visit with and which events you would like to attend. Plan your day – pick up a map and note the start times of special events, then begin with the schools at the top of your list. While you’re at the fair keep an open mind as you walk through the aisles.   Visit booths from a variety of schools and chat with their reps. Take brochures and course catalogs to review later when you have more time at home.

√Prepare by thinking about what type of school may be the best for you: 2 or 4 year, size, distance from home, environment, special programs and areas of study. Get ready to meet with college reps at their booths by having a few questions ready. Ask questions that are school specific and can’t easily be answered by looking at the website. Don’t forget to ask for business cards after your conversations.

√Follow up with reps. Feel free to send an email with any additional questions you have. You may also want to send a thank you note if you felt you had a meaningful conversation with any particular rep.

√Organize all the material you collected at the fair. Sort through the brochures and business cards you collected and save the ones you’re interested in. Go online and look further into the schools you liked.

College fairs offer you the chance to gain exposure to a broad range of colleges and universities all in one place. This is a great way to start your college search.

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Registration Reminder

Remember, today is the late registration deadline for the March 10th SAT. No subject tests are given on this date.


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The Finish Line

Seniors,  there are a few more things for you to take care of while you’re waiting to hear back about your applications.

  1. Are your financial aid documents complete? If you’ve completed and submitted your FAFSA, you should have received your Student Aid Report (SAR). Look it over for accuracy and respond to any requests for any additional information as soon as possible. If you’ve finished the CSS/Profile and 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. Some aid is handed out on a first come first serve basis, so don’t wait too long.
  2. Have you searched for Scholarship opportunities? There are so many resources to use to research scholarships. Scholarships have varying deadlines throughout the year 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 academic standing.
  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. Get a better picture of the school by investigating any links and opportunities they send you. Locate all those brochures you collected and notes you took and go back to websites and books you found helpful. Do you want to visit or revisit campuses to get a fresh look? 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 special attention or recognition, you should reach out to let them know about it. 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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Intro To Standardized Testing For Juniors

JUNIORS,  all the talk about standardized testing may be leaving you feeling overwhelmed. The following tips will help you manage your testing strategy:

MEET WITH YOUR GUIDANCE COUNSELOR. He or she can help you get a better understanding of the tests and how they differ.

CHOOSE WHICH TEST YOU’RE GOING TO TAKE. Take a practice SAT and ACT to see which test you’re more comfortable with and where you’re going to get the best score. Kaplan Test Prep offers free online events and tests to help you compare. The Princeton Review also offers free online tests.

ESTABLISH A PLAN.  If you can get either the ACT or SAT (and SAT Subject Tests) out of the way in junior year, you’ll have more time to focus on applications and financial aid next year. Know that you’ll have additional test dates during senior year should you need them. Let your parents and guidance counselor help you work out a plan. Look at the upcoming ACT and SAT test dates. Think about your commitments, 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.

SIGN UP FOR TESTS.  Sign up 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.

PREPARE. Find a prep resource that will best fit with your learning style and also your budget. There are many free resources available. You can also purchases prep books online and in your local bookstore. Use these resources to take practice exams— this is the best way to get comfortable with the tests and develop your test taking strategy. In addition, there are many online prep programs as well as classes in your local area. Ask your guidance counselor for recommendations. Plan to take as many timed practice tests as possible to develop a good sense of how to pace yourself.

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.

CONSIDER TEST-OPTIONAL SCHOOLS. Whether you decide in advance to opt out of standardized test taking or if you’re not happy with your scores, test optional schools may be a good choice for you. There are more than 1000 colleges and universities that don’t use the ACT or SAT in their admissions process.

Remember your test scores are only one piece of your application. Admissions officers are interested in more than test scores. They’ll also be looking at your grades, your curriculum, your participation in extracurriculars, and what you express about yourself in your essay.

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