As we head into the holiday season, college planning is probably the last thing on your mind as a high school junior. You are probably consumed with holiday shopping, semester exams and projects, or trying to decide what to wear to the winter formal. Many of you may be dreaming about staying home from school and sleeping in late; however, this is the perfect time for you to work on your plans for college. Before you ring in the New Year, be sure you complete the following five tasks for high school juniors.
1. Register for the SAT and/or ACT. I know you might have just finished taking the PSAT and the last thing you want to do is think about another college admission test right now. But this is actually a perfect time to schedule yourself for one of the spring test dates. Taking the SAT or ACT in your junior year will help you get more comfortable with the tests and identify areas where you may need some additional help. Get ready for a spring test now, and you’ll have a much easier time, and be under less pressure, in your senior year. Read the rest of this entry »
As of October 29, all colleges that receive Title IV student aid were required to add net price calculators to their websites as part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. The net price calculators were added to help parents and students avoid sticker shock. Many see the expected total cost of attendance, especially when considering private schools, and automatically assume the schools are beyond their budgets. This is where the calculators come in handy. Depending upon the sophistication of the tool being used, families will be able to add in some information and get a non-binding estimate of the ‘true cost of college.’ Sounds great, yes? Unfortunately, many of the calculators being used are not very accurate. Read the rest of this entry »
Can you feel it in the air? High school seniors everywhere have started the countdown to graduation. It’s only a few weeks before we ring in the New Year, and before you know it, you’ll be headed across the stage to get your diploma! I know you are anxiously awaiting the winter break and a much needed reprieve from classes, but this is no time to neglect your college preparation agenda. Before we ring in 2012, here’s a list of five things every high school senior should be working on now…
1. Complete your college applications. This should go without saying, but don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today! Check to make sure you have ALL items needed for your college applications: letters of recommendation, transcripts, test scores, college admission essays, etc. Be sure to have someone review everything for errors/omissions and get your applications ready for submission. Next, submit them online, or (if you are sending them offline) take your completed packets to the post office or UPS store to be weighed to ensure you have the proper postage; nothing would be worse than getting back your applications returned as undeliverable after the deadline due to insufficient postage. Read the rest of this entry »
I know many of you are already looking ahead to winter break. But before you can spend your time sleeping in and chilling out, you have to get through your final exams and projects. So, even though it’s almost time to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, be sure to set aside some time to get prepared for the last few weeks of class. Here are some great tips to help get you organized and hopefully keep your stress levels to a minimum.
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While you are in high school, you should set aside time to visit several of the colleges on your school list. It is important to get an on-campus feel for the colleges you are considering; this is something you typically cannot get from college websites and marketing brochures. The best time to visit college campuses is when they are in session; try to avoid weekends, holidays and summers. It’s ideal to visit during your 10th or 11th grade high school spring break; you want to be sure you have the opportunity to mingle with current students and see the campus in action.
Before you head out on your trip, be sure to check the school’s website or call the Office of Admissions to schedule an appointment and tour; don’t just show unexpectedly, as you may be disappointed to find out that you have limited access to several areas of interest to you. You can also inquire about optional information sessions, overnight stay options, the availability to complete a college interview, and even the opportunity to shadow a current student or sit-in on a class or two.
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A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of accompanying my daughter, a freshman in high school, to her first college fair. This was not a first for me though. I have two sons, now 22 and 24, who have been down this road before. But I learned that the college fair scene has changed a bit in the last five years.
The last time I attended a college fair, my son and I spent most of our time filling out comment cards and forms at each college booth that interested him. Now, you complete a student registration online (or at the event) and receive a barcode that is scanned by interested institutions. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever shopped for a computer? When deciding which one to purchase, what did you consider: memory, speed, graphics, price? You probably made your selection by comparing similar models side-by-side. The winner probably had everything the other model had and just a bit more. This process is similar to how some college admissions officers decide on who they admit and who they reject. For example, let’s say Student A has a grade point average of 3.9 and an SAT score of 1520, but so does Student B. So, who gets in? This is where student leadership experience can make a big difference.
To succeed in college, a student has to be not only intelligent, but also motivated. Motivation is something that may be hard to judge when looking solely at grade point averages and test scores. Read the rest of this entry »