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College Application

What You Need to Know about the Coalition College Application

A few weeks ago I attended the Texas Association for College Admission Counseling (TACAC) annual conference held at Horseshoe Bay Resort just outside of Austin. This was my first time to attend, and as a high school counselor who helps with college admissions, I found many of the sessions insightful and useful. One particular session I attended really stood out to me as being especially relevant. It discussed the latest and greatest college admission tool called the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success (“Coalition” for short). The presenters were from Texas A&M and Rice University, both of which have signed on [...]

Why You Should Take AP Classes Next Year

Advanced Placement, or “AP”, courses have been around for many years. Originally introduced in the 1950s to offer high school students a chance to earn college credit, College Board, which runs the AP exams, now offers 35 courses at the AP level, with a few more in development for the coming years. AP courses are intended to prepare student to take the AP exam at the end of the year. These courses hold students to the same academic standards they would find in courses at colleges and universities. In fact, College Board has published their own research indicating that students [...]

How to Get the Most out of Community Service

I first want to thank a colleague of mine (you know who you are) for turning me on to a weekly summary of the latest and greatest trends in K-12 education called the Marshall Memo. I highly encourage parents and educators to take a look and possibly subscribe to it as it discusses several important topics. In the latest edition, Richard Weissbourd of the Harvard Graduate School of Education offers his thoughts on a report called Turning the Tide, which offers several recommendations for increasing the overall well-being of high-school students during the college admissions process. This report has been [...]

How to Interpret PSAT Results

If your student is in 8th, 9th, 10th or 11th grade, then he or she likely took the PSAT exam this past October. While the PSAT has been a mainstay for high school students, interpreting the scores can be challenging. College Board has made sweeping changes to both the SAT and PSAT, so understanding your student’s score report may be more difficult than in the past. This post is an attempt to help you understand the new changes. The New PSAT In an effort to make the PSAT more meaningful, College Board is now offering different tests for 8th/9th graders [...]

5 Big Changes to the New SAT

Preparing for the New SAT Closeup of a SAT test answer sheet and pencil Beginning March 6, 2016, the SAT will be offered in a completely new format. After careful analysis of “stagnant results” on the old SAT, College Board decided to revamp its most widely-used college admissions assessment to reflect the skills necessary for college success. The new SAT test will focus on the “critical set of knowledge, skills, and understandings that predicts student success in college and workforce training programs.” Simply stated, the new SAT will reflect what is learned in the classroom. So what does [...]

Extracurricular Activities

Benefits of Extracurricular Activities Extracurricular activities are a wonderful addition to a student’s life. Sports, theater, year book, journalism, and numerous other activities provide students with an outlet in school for creativity, energy, and self-exploration. These activities can provide physical, social and academic benefits, some of which are outlined below. Meeting new friends Joining a sports team, participating in the school play, or playing in the school band all foster a sense of camaraderie. These activities can be especially helpful for new students or students who are transitioning to a new school. And students who step outside of their comfort [...]

College Application Timeline

College Application Timeline Applying to college can be a daunting process. Not only are the applications expensive, but each one has its own requirements and deadlines. Before you start narrowing down your list of potential colleges, you should familiarize yourself with the college application process. The following year-by-year guideline can help make this process smoother and give you a leg up. Freshmen Amazingly the college application process can start as early as a student’s freshman year. Although I personally think this is too early, there are a few things to consider: Grades - get the best grades possible! GPA gives colleges [...]

Conquer the College Essay

Conquer the College Essay When it comes time to apply for college, there are many parts to the application process. Today I want to focus on one major component, the College Essay. Writing the essay might seem a daunting task, but follow these guidelines, and you can give yourself a leg up in the admissions process. What is a College Essay? The College Essay is sometimes called a personal statement. It is your opportunity to tell the admissions committee about yourself and make a compelling statement for why you are a good fit for their college. It is often the [...]

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