Campus Visits

Visiting colleges is the best way to get exposed to different types of schools and to get an up close look at what really goes on at a college. If your schedule and budget permit, plan a road trip to get a feel for what type of school is most comfortable and appropriate for you.  If you’re not able to travel far, visit schools close to home. Read the tips below to help you plan and get the most out of your visits:

  •  Make an initial list of schools to visit. Reach out to your guidance counselor for help.
  • Review the admissions sections of school websites for info session and campus tour schedules and reserve your spot, if required.
  •  If you’d like to meet with a faculty member or a coach reach out in advance to make an appointment. Coordinate your meeting with the tour and info session schedules.
  • Leave some extra time to explore the campus. You can eat in the cafeteria, visit the student center, even sit in on a class (ask Admissions how to arrange). Look around and notice what students are doing.
  • If you can, take the time to explore the surrounding neighborhood and town.
  • Throughout the day, take notes and photos to help you remember details.
  • If there’s someone you want to follow up with, ask for their contact info. Use an envelope to collect and save business cards from school reps you meet.
  • Remember to send thank you notes and follow up if you’ve been asked to provide additional information.

A tour will give you the chance to see a school through a current student’s eyes and have a chance to ask questions, including:

  • Does the school provide housing for all four years? If yes, do most students stay on campus? If no, how hard is it to find off campus housing?
  • What portion of the students join sororities and fraternities? Do students feel pressured to join Greek life? What’s the process like?
  • What clubs and extracurriculars are offered?
  • What’s your favorite thing about the school? What, if anything, has disappointed you?
  • How available are professors for extra help?
  • Are tutors available?
  • Are you assigned a freshman advisor? Is there a supportive advisory system?
  • Where do most students study? How much time do you spend on school work each day?
  • Do students stay on campus for the weekends? What do you do for fun?
  • What are the biggest campus traditions?
  • Do students get involved in the surrounding community?
  • What do you like best (and least) about the school?

Info sessions give you the chance to learn about the school from the admissions office staff who will make a formal presentation followed by Q & A. Ask questions, but ask only those that can’t be answered on the school’s website, such as:

  • What is the average class size?
  • What percentage of classes are taught by professors versus teaching assistants?
  • Is study abroad encouraged? What percent of students participate?
  • What is the total cost of attending?
  • What type of financial assistance is available?
  • What percentage of students receive the aid they require?
  • What career service support is offered for summer and full-time opportunities?
  • What jobs are available on campus for students who want to work part-time?



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Get Ready For Tomorrow’s ACT

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

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


  • Water
  • Snack
  • Sweater
  • 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

Remember, today is the registration deadline for the March 9th SAT. Please note,  SAT Subject Tests are not offered on this testing date.



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Identify The Best Type Of College For You

Juniors, it’s understandable if the college search process seems a bit overwhelming right now. 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. Take virtual tours of campuses and browse through online photo galleries to get a sense of the physical settings.

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.” College reps who visit your high school or participate in college fairs in your area are another great source of information.

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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ACT Acquires ACAC

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Counselors That Change Lives

Congratulations to the nine counselors selected by Colleges That Change Lives as their 2019 Counselors That Change Lives.

School counselors provide the necessary support for college bound students to navigate the college admissions process and achieve their goals.

  • Lade Akande, University High School, Carmel, IN
  • Mark Chalkley, United World College Red Cross Nordic, Flekke, Norway
  • Gail Durso, Explore Solutions, San Diego, CA
  • Mary Hunter Hardison, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Suffolk, VA
  • Beth Kainic, Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep, Waukegan, IL
  • Raquel Laiz, Benjamin Franklin High School/Portland Public Schools, Portland, OR
  • Chat Leonard, Metro Academic and Classical High School, St. Louis, MO
  • Sheena Reed, Metairie Park Country Day School, Metairie, LA
  • Teng Yang, Democracy Prep, New York, NY
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Don’t Listen To The Rankings

Researchers at Challenge Success, a nonprofit organization based at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, released a white paper this past fall that calls into doubt the value of widely used university rankings.

The group’s findings indicate that college rankings rely on measures that say little about how well undergraduates will do in school and later in life. The paper questions the metrics ( SAT scores, average class size, alumni giving rate to name a few) used to determine the rankings and the weight each is given to calculate a school’s overall score .

The paper strongly suggests, and we agree, a good fit school is a college where a student will benefit from what the college offers because the student is motivated to get involved in the academic, social and community life on and off campus.

Looking beyond rankings, students can find the school they will have the opportunity to grow and succeed during college and in the years after.

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