How to Choose

Within the next few weeks college acceptance letters will be released. This is a nail biting time for students and their parents as it’s the culmination of your many months of hard work. Remember that if you put together a carefully thought out list of schools, odds are in your favor that you’ll be successful at any one of your options. The reality is that it’s what you do once you’re at college, not where you attend college that will make the difference post-graduation.

As you evaluate your choices, keep in mind that your goal is to select a school where you feel you belong.  You want an environment where you’ll be excited to be an active, engaged member of the community.  Choose a school that offers you a strong supportive advisory system.  Evaluate the academic programs that different schools offer.  Review prerequisites and specific course choices to identify the school that excites you and challenges you to delve deeply into your coursework and to apply yourself.

Stay focused on the positive news and the college life you have to look forward to.



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Spring Into College Fairs

Juniors, college fairs are a great way to start your college search.  You’ll have the chance to get exposed to a large number of colleges and universities all in one place.  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. There are state and regional college fairs such as The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation . Look online to see if there is a state or regional college fair new you. Your school district or high school may also have their own fairs planned. Check with your guidance counselor for a complete schedule. Online college fairs are another way to meet admission reps by chatting online.   Sites like and offer these types of fairs. Check their websites for specific college fair dates.

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 COLLECT 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.



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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: These are things you may want to bring along.

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

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

Good luck!

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Registration Reminder

Today is the registration deadline for the April 13th ACT.



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While You’re Waiting

Seniors,  While you’re waiting for responses to your applications, please take care of the following:

  • Make sure 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 respond to any requests for additional information in your inbox. If you haven’t worked on these forms yet, submit them as soon as possible as some aid is handed out on a first come first serve basis, so don’t wait too long.
  • Research scholarship opportunities. There are so many resources available to search for scholarships. Scholarship deadlines vary throughout the year so continue to search and apply. There may be money out there to help fund your college education.
  • Focus on your schoolwork.  Colleges may still request your grades so keep up the good work. Your admission and financial aid offers are contingent on maintaining your academic standing.
  • 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. Investigate any links and opportunities they send you. If you applied for any scholarships, be on the look out for responses. You may also receive requests for additional information.
  • Share important 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.
  • Consider if you’d like to apply to any additional schools.  There’s still time to apply to schools with both rolling and late admissions deadlines as well as schools that have chosen to extend their deadlines. Check with your guidance counselor for a list of schools still accepting applications.


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Registration Reminder

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Top Tips For Scheduling Your Tests

JUNIORS, all the talk about standardized testing may be leaving you feeling overwhelmed. The best way to alleviate some of your stress is to develop a schedule.

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 (SAT IIs) 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. If you’re planning to take SAT IIs, take into consideration any AP or IB exams as well as your course finals when planning your schedule. This way, you can study for those exams and corresponding Subject Tests at the same time.  Also keep in mind that while you can take up to three Subject Tests on any given test date, you can not register for the SAT and any Subject Test on the same date. The upcoming SAT test dates are May 4th and June 1st.  So, if you’re planning to take SAT Subject Tests, choose the test date that best lines up with your AP, IB and/or final test schedule in order to free up the other test date for the SAT.

LET YOUR PARENTS AND GUIDANCE COUNSELOR HELP. 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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