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Thursday, October 12, 2006

COLLEGE PREP TIPS

T

he road to college starts early, even at the beginning of high school. From freshman to senior year, you'll need a game plan to choose the right classes and maneuver through college exams, applications and deadlines. Stay on the admissions track by following these steps.

Plan for the Future

Tips 4 College . .

Grades are important, but so is the difficulty of the courses you take. Instead of the easy "A," choose tougher classes. Colleges like to see students who have taken rigorous classes during high school. "The student's high school curriculum is the most important factor we look at in the admissions process," says Roz Bolger, director of development at Emory University.

"Good academic performance in a strong curriculum shows the student has been challenged in high school, and that's good preparation for college."

Use your freshman year to organize your classes and explore your personal interests:
Meet with your counselor. Discuss your career goals and the classes you should take. Many selective schools require college preparation classes that include three or four years of coursework. Plan your high school curriculum early to be sure you're covered.
Master the basics. Strengthen your reading, writing and vocabulary skills. Improve your typing skills and become familiar with the Internet. Knowing your way around a computer will come in handy throughout high school and college.
Explore your interests through your classes. Whether it's chemistry, world literature or calculus, your classes give you a chance to find out what you like. Take classes in a variety of subjects that interest you.

Get Involved

Get  Involved . .

Social Service at the local library or some other community service is very valuablelayout...

Don't forget about the world beyond the classroom. Colleges like to see students who can balance outside activities and maintain good grades. Extracurricular activities are the icing on the cake, Admissions committees want to see how a student can contribute to the college inside and outside of the classroom."


Perform community service or get a part-time job. Extracurricular activities show that you're a well-rounded individual and you know how to manage your time efficiently.
Research summer programs. Many colleges offer arts camps and college prep courses during the summer for high school students. These programs are a good way to develop your talents and get your foot in the door with colleges.

Go Above and Beyond
Do your best in your classes. Remember: Class rank and G.P.A. are key factors in college admissions.
Take honor-level and advanced placement courses. Enroll in courses at a community college. Your high school transcript will show admission committees you are up to the challenge of a competitive college environment.

Get a Head Start

Head  Start . .

Don't wait till senior year to research schools, college entrance tests and financial aid options:
Take a "virtual" campus tour on the Internet. Visit the homepages of schools that interest you. Also attend college fairs to meet admission representatives and obtain course catalogs. If possible, plan to visit campuses yourself to get a first hand account of the school's culture and social life.
Prepare for college entrance exams. Your scores can determine what scholarships you qualify for and what college you attend. Ask your counselor about services that offer ACT and SAT preparation classes and practice tests. Keep track of the dates and deadlines for the tests.
Learn about financial aid options. Don't let the cost of a college education scare you.
Attend financial aid seminars hosted by local schools. Ask community businesses and organizations if they offer college scholarships. You can also search scholarship databases on the Internet like FastWeb to apply for awards that match your interests and career goals.

It's never too early to prepare for college. And whether you're headed for a state school or you have dreams of Harvard, a four-year strategy will guide you toward your destination.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

WHAT ARE SCHOLARSHIPS?

Scholarships . .

You don't need to pay back the money, but Start early and look diligently. Finding scholarship money for college takes time, use reputable and accurate scholarship search services on the Internet to save time in the searching process It is a common misconception that scholarships are only for straight-A students. In reality, there are all types of scholarships for all types of students, including those with less than perfect academic records.

Free  Money 4  College . .

Also ask your high school guidance counselor about any local or state awards that you may qualify for, and be sure to contact the financial aid office at the college or university you plan to attend to learn if you qualify for any awards provided by the school. Don't psych yourself out before you start searching for scholarships. Scholarships are out there in all shapes and sizes to help you pay for college, and the only real reason you won't get any is if you decide not to search and apply for them!

Finally, students should ask their parents and friends to be on 'scholarship alert' for them, always checking local newspapers and bulletin boards for local scholarship listings.

3 different types of Scholarships :

National  Merit  Scholarship . .

Merit-based
- financial aid for which financial need is not used to determine the recipient. The recipient may be determined by students’ athletic, academic, artistic or other abilities. The actual monetary value of the scholarship may be negligible, the scholarship being meant to motivate the student and promote the study of the subject. However, this is not always the case and the largest scholarships are almost always merit-based.

Examples of these are the National Merit Scholarships. Competition can be very keen for some larger merit-based awards and because of the subjective evaluation process, the best-qualified candidate does not always win.


Financial  Need  Scholarship . .

Need-based
- financial aid for which the student and family’s financial situation is a primary factor in determining the recipient. Usually such scholarship will cover all or part of the tuition and may even cover living-costs. Very often even need-based private scholarships require the awardees to be distinguished students, as the deed founding the award may include a phrase like: “for the studies of founder's favourite subject in founder's favourite institution of higher education for a talented youths of limited means from founder's home town/county/state etc.“ Need-based scholarships are sometimes the only way that students can afford to attend costly schools.

Ethnicity-based - financial aid where applicants must initially qualify by race, religion, or national origin. After filtering the applicants based on their ethnicity, additional factors are taken into consideration to determine the final recipients.

One serious note : BE AWARE OF SCAMS, If you have to pay money to get money, it's probably a scam, The best way to avoid being the victim of a scholarship scam is to remember the old adage: "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is". Be very careful about giving out your personal information to companies without credible, clearly stated privacy policies - the last thing you need is an email inbox full of spam and a mailbox full of unwanted solicitations.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

WHY ALL THE TESTS ?

In these days of "grade inflation" and inconsistent standards for assigning grades, college admissions officers need a "common denominator." They need a measuring stick that can be applied to all the applicants in an equitable way. The SAT and ACT serve this purpose.

Think . .

Another important reason for giving the test is to measure "whether an applicant thinks like a successful college freshman." The tests are more about how student use knowledge than what their knowledge is. That's why the issue of "thinking like the test writer" is so important. You've got to think like the test writer thinks you need to think! critical thinking and analytical skills are required by the test, in other words when you study any subject, ask yourself questions like why is this author writing like this? or . . why this book getting this conclusions?

You have to learn how to be analytical, that is, use your own criteria when studying, ask yourself why is this? why is that?

Back to why all the testing, these are designed to predict success as a college freshman, as indicated by grades. Studies show that the SAT and high school grades predict first year college success equally well.

Think ! . .

Remember, to be analytical you must try to learn how to develop critical thinking, and reading and excercising your subjects in High School is the only way.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

SAT and ACT : HOW OFTEN?

This is an "it depends" answer. Many colleges don't care how often you take the test and even use sub-test scores from different dates to compile your total score! For example, maybe you did better on the Verbal part of the SAT in May but better on the Math part in October. Some schools give you the benefit of using your May Verbal score and your October Math score to determine a total score. This policy leads some high school counselors to recommend taking the test as often as possible or at least as often as a student wants.

Your  Key  to  Success . .

However, some admissions directors admit "off the record" to discriminating when a student has taken the test more than twice. They are typically at the competitive colleges. The point they make is that if all other things are equal between two candidates, they pick the one who has taken the test only a couple times. Taking it more than twice is at least a sign of poor planning on the student's part. That certainly is not the impression you want to make as an applicant.

Find  Out . .

You need to find out how the colleges you are considering handle multiple test scores. If they don't care, so be it. If they do care, then here's a strategy you can use if you take the ACT. At the time you register and take the ACT, do not indicate any colleges that are to receive your scores. After you've taken it and you know your scores, decide what test date(s) you want submitted. Then tell ACT which scores to send. ACT will send only the scores for the date(s) you pick! That way the admissions officers don't know how often you've taken the test. This technique costs more because you'll have to pay extra for the score submission. So what? If it's the price of improving your application, I say it's a small price to pay. A final caveat regarding this strategy: If you are running out of time to meet application and financial aid deadlines, you can't use this approach.

This strategy cannot be used if you take the SAT. Whenever you ask ETS, the test publisher, to submit your scores to a college, they send your scores for every time you've taken the test up to the last six times!

Is recommended that you plan on only taking the test twice or once if you do well as a junior. There is no evidence that simply taking the test numerous times will raise your score. In fact, research shows that it won't change in any statistically significant way (except between the spring of your junior year and the fall of your senior year if you've only taken it once as a junior).

The evidence from many schools is that the best way to raise your score is through significant, serious preparation. Retaking the test is not going to change the average score for students. Using released tests that are available from ETS/SAT and ACT is the way to get your experience! Why put yourself through the turmoil of taking it on Saturday morning just for the sake of "practice"?

Seriously . .

So, the recommendation is to prepare for it very seriously as a junior with the thought of not taking it again as a senior. If you need to take it again, you still have the fall as a safety net. Students who plan on taking it a number of times, "When do you plan on taking it seriously?" Of course, if you still don't have the score you need after taking it in the fall of your senior year, you'll need to take it again.

In addition, you should that many scholarships, especially ones provided by states, require a specific test score and if you are close, it is definitely worth the time and effort to take the test again. It could be worth thousands of dollars!

Think about you just read and prepare seriously, Do Not Joke around.

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SAT AND ACT : DIFFERENCES

After you get past the fact that both tests are developed in the cold north (ACT in Iowa and SAT in New Jersey), there are many differences.

One big difference is that the ACT measures grammar and science reasoning skills, in Neither of these abilities is measured by the SAT I.

The ACT doesn't test your abilities with individual words as the SAT does with its Analogy and Sentence Completion formats.

Algebra . .

The ACT math includes many concepts from Algebra II and trig while the SAT only deals with Algebra I. The SAT gives you the math facts you need to know . . . while you need to memorize them for the ACT.

While both test developers claim that analytical reasoning is very important on the test, the SAT test writers have perfected this philosophy while the ACT test writers are still trying to get there. Big differences exist in the way questions are asked. ACT math questions, for example, are based on what "math teachers expect their students to know." SAT math questions are based on what the test writer thinks you should be able to do with the math. The reading questions on the SAT are primarily inference and logic related. The ACT asks many more detail questions.


Differents  But  The  Same . . .

The SAT is a seven-section exam: 3 verbal, 3 math and one experimental section (this section is masked to look like a regular section). The ACT is a four-section exam, English, math, reading and science reasoning. An experimental section is added to tests on certain dates only and is clearly indicated. The SAT tests through geometry and the ACT test through trigonometry (although there are only four trigonometry questions). The SAT verbal sections stress vocabulary. The ACT stresses grammar.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

WHEN TO TAKE SAT and ACT?

If your school offers an opportunity to take the PSAT (to prepare for the SAT) or PLAN (to prepare for the ACT) as a sophomore, you should definitely participate. Both of these programs offer you great feedback so that you know exactly where you stand at a detailed level. The item by item reports provided by PLAN and PSAT are very helpful. Trust me, is going to help you a lot!

Fall  Season . .

In the fall of your junior year, you should absolutely take the PSAT if you have even the slightest inclination that you might take the SAT. It is only given in October, so be sure to register as soon as you can after school starts. You'll get a very helpful report in December which will guide you in preparing for the SAT.

Some schools offer an opportunity for juniors to take the PLAN. If your school does, take it. If it doesn't and it gives the tests to sophomores, see if you can take it, even if you have to pay for it. Maybe you can take it at a near-by school.

Spring  Beauty . . .

In the spring of your junior year, take either or both tests but only take each test once. I recommend the April ACT and the May SAT. There are lots of good reasons why these are the preferred dates. The overwhelming reason is that you can get a copy of your test questions, an answer key and your answers to every question for these test dates! For an extra $10, both ACT and SAT will provide you with these services. Check your registration bulletins for how to take advantage of these reporting services. They are well worth the money.

Hopefully, you fully prepared yourself for the test when you were a junior, got the score you needed, and can get on with your life. If you need to improve your score, take it again in the fall of your senior year as soon as feasible. Don't take it again just for fun. Don't take it again without some serious preparation. There's ample evidence that indicates preparation will raise your score.

Prepare ! Don't procrastinate ! and keep up with the peace of mind that comes when you plan for the future.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

WHICH ONE ? SAT or ACT

Better do your homework, because is up to you to make at least an extra million dollars in your lifetime if you graduate from college, Yep that's right! an extra million buckaroos. But in order to make it to the college of your dreams, one advice . . make a simple phone call or ask your counselor if That College in your mind prefers SAT or ACT. Seriously, do it.

SAT  or  ACT?

Most colleges and universities are flexible and accept both the SAT and ACT. However, you need to check with the schools that are on your list because a few schools still express a preference. You also should check with possible scholarship sources to see if they have any preferences.

If it doesn't matter to your potential schools, then you are in the "driver's seat." there are scoring spreadsheets for both SAT and ACT released tests. Take these tests and score them to see if you already do better on one than the other. If you have a significant head start on one, then that's where you should focus your attention.

How frequently high schools administer each test often causes students to decide which test to take. For example, some of the school districts outhere administer the ACT several times a year but administer the SAT only once or not at all. Others do just the opposite.

So Fine tune your head, and don't delay, I will hate to see somebody saying, "just because didn't ask, my first choice college refused my application!"

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

SAT and ACT

PSAT . .

Parents and students alike sometimes get lost when thinking about what is SAT, ACT, here are some general points , so you can understand a thing or two about how can help yourself about those tests .

First, start thinking about the test as soon as possible. Get a registration bulletin and free sample test from the school counselor. Even as a freshman or sophomore, looking over the questions in the sample test will acquaint you with the kinds of things that will be expected by the test writers.

Second, are you taking the right courses at school? Be sure the right information is covered by the school curriculum because if the test is asking you something you are not learning in class/classes, what's up with that ! For example, there are specific grammar skills required by the ACT and PSAT, but many schools don't provide targeted grammar instruction. Let the curriculum coordinator for your school know how important it is for the test.

ACT . .

Third, plan your course-work well in advance. It can be a dissapointing to find out when it's too late that the college of choice has requirements that cannot be met by the student, and believe me, that is a disaster. For example, if a student's college of choice requires two years of a foreign language and you hasn't taken any by your senior year, there's a big problem.

Fourth, read the FAQ related to when a student should take the test. Develop a schedule for registering for and taking the test.

Fifth, help make sure that you are getting prepared for the test. It should begin at home. Reading is the best way for you to develop the vocabulary and reading skills that are required by the tests. Make sure your course-work is appropriate. Talk to the counselor about college applications and what the school does to prepare its students for the tests. Ask specific questions: Do you offer a special prep course? -like AVID courses- What materials are used? Has the teacher received special training? What kind of results do students get? What do students say after taking the course?

Students and Parents don't be affraid to ask!

SAT . .

Sixth, Most of you already feel pressure regarding the test, just keep in mind that the SAT and ACT are just part of the college application process. In addition to transcripts, many colleges consider recommendations, extracurricular activities, essays and interviews.

Finally, keep the last 24 hours before the test stress free. If the testing center is at an unfamiliar location, make sure you've made a trip there in advance so there isn't any undue stress trying to be on time or trying to find it. Stay at home so you can get a good night's sleep the night before the test. Get up with and fix a healthy breakfast.

Got it?

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