Monthly Archives: July 2010

Got SAT questions? I have (some) answers!

What are the SAT and ACT tests?

SAT stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test. It’s also referred to as the SAT Reasoning. ACT stands for Academic Proficiency Test. They’re both standardized exams that test your knowledge in math, verbal, and writing skills. Most colleges require that you take one or the other and send in your scores when you apply. While I have heard of it happening, it’s pretty rare that a college will want scores from both tests. Usually, one will suffice, but you need to double check with the schools you’re applying to.

What are the SAT Subject Tests?

All UCs require that you also take two SAT Subject exams. These test your knowledge in an area that isn’t covered by the regular SAT, such as History, Science, Spanish, Literature, etc. UCs want these tests to be taken in different areas, meaning you don’t want to take a Biology Subject test and a Chemistry Subject test because they’re both sciences (if this is confusing, ask your counselor, call the college, or ask me). Also, if you’re taking a Math Subject test, you need to make sure that it’s Math Level II. Finally, some private schools DO require SAT Subjects, so be sure to check that out.

How do I register the SAT and/or ACT tests?

Before you register, get a fee waiver from your high school counselor (if you qualify). Go to www.collegeboard.com, choose the “For Students” section, and then click on “Register for the SAT.” The site will ask you to create an account (remember to write down your username and password!!!). Register for the date you want and pay with your fee waiver.

How do you send your scores to the colleges?

Now, here’s the kicker—you can send up to 8 score reports for free!!! When you register, you have the option of choosing the first four schools to send your scores to. Most students just ignore that option and decide to deal with it later. However, you have to choose the schools when you register, or you lose out on that option. After you take the test, and if you qualify for a fee waiver to take the test (most NAC students do), you can send your scores to four more schools for free. Here’s another thing the College Board won’t tell you—you only have to use up one free score report for all the Cal States and one free score report for all the UCs. Here’s how: when you are searching for the college to send your score report to, choose California State University, Mentor in Long Beach, CA. This is a little confusing because you think you’re sending the score report to Cal State Long Beach. However, it’s actually Cal State Mentor, which will then send it to all the Cal States you applied to (for some reason, students have a hard time finding CSU Mentor, so ask me to help you if you need it). As for the UCs, when you apply, there is a question that asks if one UC can share your info with other UCs—be sure to say “yes” to this. That way, you can send your score to one UC, and all of them will receive it. As for the privates, there’s no way you can send it to one school and have other schools receive it. You will have to send your scores to each college individually.

Why do I need to do well on the SATs?

While it’s not the only thing colleges look at while evaluating your application, they do take your scores into consideration. If your scores are really low, it can hurt your chances of getting in. If your scores are really high, then it can help your chances.

How do I study for the SAT?

The NAC offers fun classes during the summer to help you boost your score. In the beginning of the school year, we also offer more formal SAT classes. It’s important to not only come to these classes, but also to do the homework the teachers assign. Another thing to do is read, read, read. The verbal portion of the SAT is really a big vocabulary test—disguised in analogies, sentence completions, etc. Reading will greatly expand your vocabulary. Plus, it’s good for you 🙂

What are the SAT and ACT tests?

SAT stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test. It’s also referred to as the SAT Reasoning. ACT stands for Academic Proficiency Test. They’re both standardized exams that test your knowledge in math, verbal, and writing skills. Most colleges require that you take one or the other and send in your scores when you apply. While I have heard of it happening, it’s pretty rare that a college will want scores from both tests. Usually, one will suffice, but you need to double check with the schools you’re applying to.

What are the SAT Subject Tests?

All UCs require that you also take two SAT Subject exams. These test your knowledge in an area that isn’t covered by the regular SAT, such as History, Science, Spanish, Literature, etc. UCs want those tests to be from different areas, meaning you don’t want to take a Biology Subject test and a Chemistry Subject test because they’re both sciences (if this is confusing ask your counselor, call the college, or ask me). Also, if you’re taking a Math Subject test, you need to make sure that it’s Math Level II. Finally, some private schools do require SAT Subjects, so be sure to check that out.

How do I register the SAT and/or ACT tests?

Before you register, get a fee waiver from your high school counselor (if you qualify). Go to www.collegeboard.com, go to the “For Students” section, and then click on “Register for the SAT.” The site will ask you to create an account (remember to write down your username and password!). Register for the date you want and pay with your fee waiver.

How do you send your scores to the colleges?

Now, here’s the kicker—you can send up to 8 score reports for free!!! When you register, you have the option of choosing the first four schools to send your scores to. Most students just ignore that option and decide to deal with it later. However, you have to choose the schools when you register, or you lose out on that option. After you take the test, and if you qualify for a fee waiver to take the test (most NAC students do), you can send your scores to four more schools for free. Here’s another thing the College Board won’t tell you—you only have to use up one free score report for all the Cal States and one free score report for all the UCs. Here’s how: when you are searching for the college to send your report to, choose California State University, Mentor in Long Beach, CA. This is a little confusing because you think you’re sending the score report to Cal State Long Beach. However, it’s actually Cal State Mentor, which will then send it to all the Cal States you applied to (for some reason, students have a hard time finding CSU Mentor, so ask me to help you if you need it). As for the UCs, when you apply, there is a question that asks if one UC can share your info with other UCs—be sure to say “yes” to this. That way, you can send your score to one UC, and all of them will receive it. As for the privates, there’s no way you can send it to one school and have other schools receive it. You will have to send your scores to each college individually.

Why do I need to do well on the SATs?

While it’s not the only thing colleges look at while evaluating your application, they do take your scores into consideration. If your scores are really low, it can hurt your chances of getting in. If your scores are really high, then it can help your chances.

How do I study for the SAT?

The NAC offers fun classes during the summer to help you boost your score. In the beginning of the school year, we also offer more formal SAT classes. It’s important to not only come to these classes, but also to do the homework the teachers assign. Another thing to do is read, read, read. The verbal portion of the SAT is really a big vocabulary test—disguised in analogies, sentence completions, etc. Reading will greatly expand your vocabulary. Plus, it’s good for you J

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Filed under ACT, Adding scores, SAT, SAT scores, SAT subject

Application 101

How do I apply to colleges?

For Cal States, you will log on to www.csumentor,edu and create an account (write down your username and password! Don’t assume you’ll remember it). From there, you can fill out one application and submit it to multiple campuses. For the UCs, it’s very much the same: you fill out one application, and then you can submit it to multiple campuses. For privates, many (but not all!) schools use the Common Application. Log on to www.commonapp.org, create an account, fill out the application, and then submit to the schools of your choice. However, don’t think you’re done there! Most of the schools require you to fill out “supplemental information,” such as writing an additional paragraph or answering a specific question. Each school requires different info, so be sure you double check what they need from you.

When are college applications due?

The filing application period for Cal States is October 1st to November 30th. For the UC system, it’s November 1st to the 30th. For the private colleges, it varies. Some schools are as early as December 1st and others are as late as March 15th. If you’re planning on applying to private schools, their websites should tell you when the deadlines are.

How do I pay for the applications?

This depends. If you qualify for the Free Lunch Program, you can typically receive a fee waiver to apply to up to four Cal States and four UCs for free. If you apply to more than four Cal States and more than four UCs, you will need to pay for each additional school. Just to give you an idea, it cost $55 to apply to a Cal State last year. For private schools, you can also receive up to four fee waivers (if you qualify for the Free Lunch Program). To receive these waivers, ask your counselor.

What is the difference between Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision?

Early Decision means that you apply earlier than other students, but you also find out earlier. However, if you do get in, the school expects you to commit to their college, pay a deposit, and withdraw all of your other applications. This is a good option if, let’s say, Harvard is your dream school, and you’re 100% positive that you want to go there. Like Early Decision, Early Action also means that you apply early, and that you find out early. However, if you get in, the school doesn’t require you to commit to it and you don’t have to withdraw your other applications. This is an excellent choice option because you’ll typically find out your status in January or February, and some of the pressure and anticipation will be eased. Regular Decision means that you apply when everybody else does, and that you find out when everybody else does. Of these three, I think Early Action is the best option. You have the advantage of knowing what schools you got into early in the year, you don’t have to commit to one school. In other words, you can relax in April when everybody else is freaking out.

What schools require personal statements?

Cal States do not require a personal statement (yay!). UCs require not one, but two personal statements (boo!). Most private colleges also require one (sometimes two).

When do I start writing my personal statement?

Now! You want to start and finish your personal statements during the summer between your Junior and Senior years. This allows you to make multiple revisions (trust me, you will need to make revisions. If Shakespeare were to write a personal statement, he would have to make revisions). Also, while all your fellow students are juggling filling out their applications, studying for the SATs, doing their homework, AND writing their statements, you’re already ahead of the game. (By the way, talk to Sean, Danny, or Chandra when you’re ready to start writing it. They have Master degrees in English for a reason!)

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Filed under Applications, Cal States, Common App, CSU Mentor, Privates, UCs

Making the most out of summer college visits…

Hi everybody,

University of Puget Sound sent out these helpful hints for making the most out of your summer college visits. Check it out!

http://www.pugetsound.edu/admission/visit/summer-campus-visit/

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Filed under College Visits

So you’re a Senior…now what?

Hello Class of 2011! Welcome to your last year of high school, your last year of P.E., your last year of proms, your last year of Friday night football games, your last year of cafeteria lunches, your last year of…well, I think you get the drift.

Many of you have been coming to the center (the Nicholas Academic Center for the random people who may happen to stumble upon this lonely blog) for quite some time now, but very few of you actually know what I do. You see me in my office, typing away on my lap top, talking to a senior, or gabbing away on the phone, but do you know what my job IS? Well, without further ado, here’s a description of the type of services I provide for you–the NAC student.

I help you: research colleges, attend local college fairs, get started on your personal statements, fill out applications, fill out your FAFSA, apply for scholarships, arrange visits to colleges (so you can better make a decision as to where you want to go), understand your financial aid packages, and pretty much everything else that involves colleges. In other words, I’m the “College Go-To-It-edness” person at the NAC.

But here’s the deal. In order for me to do my job well, I need to get to know you better. After all, how can I help you research a school if I don’t know what your interests are? How can I tell a college representative that you’re “the bomb” if I don’t know what you’re “the bomb” at? How can I address your needs if I don’t know what they are?

In short, I need you guys to come talk to me! For the past year, I’ve concentrated all my energy and focus on the seniors, and guess what? Now, it’s YOUR turn. But I can’t give you a 100% if I don’t even know who you are.

So, please, don’t be a stranger. Come to the center, haunt my doorway, pick my brain, use the computers, take a guitar class. Really, the resources and possibilities at the NAC are endless, but you’ll never realize how much so if you don’t come in.

So…see you soon!

Janae

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Filed under Nicholas Academic Center, Seniors