When many students begin their college applications and send off their college applications, they may actually forget that the application itself is just one part of what needs to be submitted. There are several other documents that must be received before your file is considered ready for review by the college. And because of this, many students are going to receive a ton of emails and postcards just after they submit their applications, notifying them that all their materials have not been received. Panicking parents and students will begin to stress out. Here are some ways to avoid having your application sidelined in the admissions process.
School Forms / Naviance
Your school college counselor should have a list of colleges that you will be applying to several weeks before your first deadline. He/She will need to prepare all the forms that need to be submitted from the school. Some guidance office will rely on students to pick up the documents and send them to colleges, while others will collect and send all the school materials together.
So, what are the forms that MUST be received by each of your colleges?
Teacher recommendations, the guidance counselor recommendation, your transcript, and the school profile MUST ALL be received by each of your colleges.
Some schools now file electronically via the Naviance or Common App, but other schools may still remain locked in the era of paper and the U.S. Post Office (also known as snail mail). Thus, it will be important to give your counselor plenty of notice as to where you will be applying. If school materials get lost in the mail, some colleges will wait a few days for another set to be sent, but it is better to avoid this situation.
Test Scores (SAT I, SAT II Subject Tests, or ACT scores)
These test scores must be sent directly from the reporting agency to colleges, unless you are applying to a test optional institution. The only scores that colleges will accept come directly from the Collegeboard (www.collegeboard.com) for the SATs or the www.act.org for the ACT.
With an unusually high number of issues with missing SAT scores during some of the early admissions, it would be best to request your scores at least 2 weeks before your deadlines whenever possible.
Students, do not forget that in order for your application to be processed, your payment must be received. Most college allow credit card payments, and/or checks. Make sure you put your ID or SSN number on the check and send it directly to the admissions office (follow directions). For students who are submitting a fee waiver, be sure to call the admissions office and make sure that the required information for a waiver was received and that your request was accepted.
While all the aforementioned are important, the Supplements is the part of the application that can be deal breaker.
Colleges may wait for late SAT scores or payments, but if the supplements are not transmitted by the deadline, the application may be rejected. So, make sure you work carefully on these essays and submit them on time.
For college services, contact Lee Academia consultants and avoid application rejections.
With the big day arriving soon, students are also going to anticipate their standardized test score report to arrive when they finish. And lucky for them, instead of waiting for the hard paper copy of the score report to arrive, scores are available online.
Now, let’s assume that on the SAT, you received a 560 in Critical Reading, a 740 in Mathematics, and a 630 in Writing. Your overall score would be an 1930 (out of 2400). Students might compare their score to the scores of admitted college applicants. This measure is somewhat helpful in determining what their scores mean, but what students really want to look at are their percentile ranks.
While our imaginary scores would place you above 78 percent of the students in the country for your reading score, above 96 percent of students for math, and above 82 percent of students in writing. Note that although you have a separate score reported for your essay (on a scale of 1-12), that score is already part of the complex calculation used to arrive at the 600. You will also see a writing subscore for the multiple choice questions (on a scale of 20-80). The score between 200 and 800 is what matters.
Keep in mind that your scores are estimates. And the many versions of the SAT all have the same level of difficulty among all the various questions; the SAT writers are only human.
This is part of the reason that some colleges superscore the SAT. Many students take the SAT multiple times. We recommend that students take the SAT no more than two times. There are variations in the test content, thus the second time a student takes the SAT, he might do worse in reading but much better in math. And it would not be fair if your higher reading score from the first test was disregarded. So, some schools will look at all of the test scores you submit and use the highest score you achieved in each section. For example, they may take your reading score from your first test and your math and writing scores from your second test and then combine them to give you your highest score possible out of 2400.
The College Board publishes data that tells us whether the schools we are interested in superscore or only look at the scores from the last time you took the test. If you have ever wondered how applicants at Ivy League schools seem to have near perfect SAT scores, this is how. Few applicants attending the elite institutions scored a perfect 2400 in a single attempt.
If students took the ACT, the percentile-based interpretation of their scores makes more sense than does the numbers-based interpretation. In terms of percentiles, if scores are 82% in English, 75% in Math, 85% in Reading, and 90% in Science. Again, that’s the percentage of students across the country that you performed better than. The composite score is the average of those four subscores. If you took the optional essay, a separate English score is also reported (on a scale of 1 – 36) that combines the multiple-choice writing with the essay score, but the composite score uses only the multiple choice subscore.
Similar to the SAT, there is some variation across the ACT tests (with some being noticeably harder than others). Again, this is why the percentiles matter more than the raw score.
The difference between the tests, though, is that superscoring is not widely practiced with the ACT. ACT recommends that colleges use a single highest composite score for their admissions criteria and many schools abide by this recommendation. The ACT content is presented in a more straightforward way, which allows students to easily assess their errors, practice, and improve their scores, thus taking the ACT after studying is beneficial.
SAT and ACT Tutoring
If you are considering hiring an expert SAT tutor or ACT tutor to help your child prepare for the SAT or ACT, Lee Academia can help. Please call us at 646.266.6084, so we can begin to develop a personalized SAT tutoring and/or ACT tutoring program for your child.
The cost of a college education is one of the second largest financial investment next to purchasing a home. Currently, many private tuitions range between $180,000 and $250,000, and state governments have been decreasing their funding. Your financial decisions will benefit from our professional guidance.
As many students choose a college without adequate investigation and research regarding what the college has to offer them, research shows that one out of three college students leave or transfer to another college and five out of ten students require five or more years to earn a degree. Our objective assessment of the student’s needs at Lee Academia help us to use current research beyond website information to find the right “student-college fit”.
Many colleges have become more selective and Lee Academia's College Consultants understand what is needed for top students to gain admissions. However, finding the right college for the average or learning differences students is just as important. Many less competitive colleges have higher drop out rates and lower graduation rates, therefore it is essential we carefully place average students in appropriate educational settings.
High school counselors – both in public and private institutions – are so overwhelmed with student caseloads, federally mandated paperwork for special needs students, dealing with disciplinary situations, and scheduling courses. There is little time left for quality personal contact between counselor and the student applying to college. Guidance counselors will write a letter of recommendation, assemble a transcript, and include a student profile in the college packet – nothing more.
For more information and to contact us for a consultation: click here.
Today, College Board announced a fundamental rethinking of the SAT, eliminating essays, ending the penalty for guessing wrong and cutting the obscure vocabulary words.
David Coleman, president of the College Board, criticized his own test, the SAT, and its main rival, the ACT, saying that both “have become disconnected from the work of our high schools.”
The SAT’s vocabulary words will be replaced by words that are common in college courses, such as “empirical” and “synthesis.” The math questions, now scattered widely across many topics, will focus more narrowly on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking. The use of a calculator will no longer be allowed on some of the math sections. The new exam will be available on paper and computer, and the scoring will revert to the old 1600 scale, with a top score of 800 on math and what will now be called “Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.” The optional essay will have a separate score.
The new SAT will be introduced in the spring of 2016.
Starting in the spring of 2016, some of the changes to the SAT will include:
• Instead of arcane “SAT words” (“depreciatory,” “membranous”), the vocabulary words on the new exam will be ones commonly used in college courses, such as “synthesis” and “empirical.”
• The essay, required since 2005, will become optional. Those who choose to write an essay will be asked to read a passage and analyze how its author used evidence, reasoning and stylistic elements to build an argument.
• The guessing penalty, in which points are deducted for incorrect answers, will be eliminated.
• The overall scoring will return to the old 1600 scales, based on a top score of 800 in reading and math. The essay will have a separate score.
• Math questions will focus on three areas: linear equations; complex equations or functions; and ratios, percentages and proportional reasoning. Calculators will be permitted on only part of the math section.
• Every exam will include, in the reading and writing section, source documents from a broad range of disciplines, including science and social studies, and on some questions, students will be asked to select the quote from the text that supports the answer they have chosen.
• Every exam will include a reading passage from either one of the nation’s “founding documents,” such as the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, or from one of the important discussions of such texts, such as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
What are your thoughts about this new SAT in 2016? Feel free to share your thoughts and/or concerns.
Whether you've been studying for months, or just realized that your March SAT is only two weeks away, speak to us about our 2 week study calendar to help you study smarter.
Here are the three steps to ensure you get your dream SAT score on March 8th:
So now, ace the SAT!
As some students are taking their ACT exam this weekend, here are some tips and tricks to remember.
1. Keep calm and carry on.
On test day, relaxation is the key...but this is easier said than done, right? Take it easy and plan to give yourself plenty of time to wake up and get to the test center. Remember, breathe! Eat breakfast.
2. Stay positive.
Tests are boring, but think positively. Try smiling while you're taking your ACT test. Belief affects behavior, so it'll work if you stay positive.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice.
If you want to be good at something, you have to practice.
4. Come prepared.
Bring your admission ticket, cells phones are NOT allowed, bring a watch to keep track of time, your photo ID, calculator, and No.2 pencils.
5. No blanks.
You will not be penalized for guessing, but before you go crazy with that No.2 pencil, try to narrow down at least one or two answers that are definitely wrong.
For last minute ACT review, schedule a CRAM session (1-hour) now with an ACT expert today! Contact us for more information.
Creating an #SAT or #ACT study schedule that allows you to pace yourself will help you avoid burnouts.
For many students entering their junior year of high school, one of the most stressful parts of preparing to apply to college is taking the SAT or ACT. When students are inundated with so many different test-taking tips, strategies and services, it can be quite challenging to sift through them all.
One of the most important things for students to do in preparation for the SAT or ACT is to map out exactly when they will take the test and how they will study for it. The following are three tips for designing such a timeline.
1. Sign up for a test date far in advance: The SAT is offered seven times per year nationally; the ACT is offered six. Once you determine which test you will be taking, the first thing you need to do is look at the upcoming test schedule and decide on a date to take it. Make sure that you avoid all possible conflicts in the time immediately preceding it. Don't let things that you can control interfere with your preparation during that time.
2. Take the test early: While it would be great if you could reach your target score the very first time you take the test, you will most likely have to take it once or twice more in order to attain the score you want. Improvement comes naturally through repetition. No matter how many practice tests you take, it is difficult to simulate test day conditions before actually experiencing what it's like to be sitting in that test-taking room. It will be impossible to take the SAT or ACT multiple times prior to applying to colleges if the first time you take it is late in the fall of your senior year. With plenty of time left in your junior year, you leave yourself ample time to take the exam once or twice more.
3. Simulate testing conditions: Reserve the last two weeks in your studying schedule for taking a full sample exam, and make sure to simulate test day conditions as much as possible.
The closer you can get to feeling exactly what it is like to take the test, the less stressful the real experience will be.
For more tips on how to set up a study plan timeline for yourself, get in touch with our experts.
Students can say farewell to vocabulary flashcards with arcane words like “membranous,” “pugnacious,” and “jettison.” In the new SAT, to be unveiled in 2015, David Coleman, president of the College Board wants to get rid of obscure words and replace them with more common words like “synthesis,” “distill” and “transform,” used in context as they will be in college and in life.
And the math? “There are a few things that matter disproportionately, like proportional reasoning, linear equations and linear functions,” Mr. Coleman said. “Those are the kinds of things we’re going to concentrate on.” He also mentioned that it shouldn't be about picking the right answer, but about being able to explain and see the applications of math.
Big changes are coming to the nation’s two competing admissions tests.
Mr. Coleman is intent on rethinking the SAT to make it an instrument that meshes with what students are learning in their classrooms. Meanwhile, the ACT, which has always been more curriculum-based, is the first of the two to move into the digital age. In adapting its test for the computer, ACT Inc. is moving toward more creative, hands-on questions.
Both organizations are striving to produce something beyond a college admissions test. ACT plans to start yearly testing as early as third grade to help guide students to college readiness. One of Mr. Coleman’s goals is for the College Board to help low-income students see broader college possibilities.
Since he arrived at the College Board in October, Mr. Coleman has been working on a fundamental redesign of the SAT, which he announced in February. The test, he said, should focus on “things that matter more so that the endless hours students put into practicing for the SAT will be work that’s worth doing.”
As the architect of the Common Core standards — guidelines for what students should learn in each grade — that are being put into place in most states, it is no surprise that he has clear views on what the SAT should test, although he declines to offer specifics because College Board members need to be consulted on every element of the redesign.
In 2005, spurred by the threat that the University of California system might no longer consider its test for admission, the College Board introduced with fanfare the “New SAT,” dropping quantitative comparisons and the “warm is to cool as top is to ___” analogies and adding more advanced math, in the process making the test more like the ACT.
Competition between the two tests has not let up: for the first time last year, the ACT surpassed the SAT in market share. With the new redesign, the SAT seems likely to inch even closer in content to the ACT, which focuses more on grammar, usage and mechanics than on vocabulary.
“Kids need to have a level of ambition,” he said, “because what we find is that absent the intensity of a peer group committed to getting into college, kids just fall away, even a lot of the ones who do very well on the test, and could go to top colleges.”
Recent research on how few high-achieving low-income students apply to top colleges, and that the College Board must help ensure that these students get information about colleges they could aspire to and financial aid that would pay for it were considered.
“We will consider students who take the assessment as within our care, and that means that sending out a score report isn’t the end of it,” he said.
Starting in 2015, the ACT will be available on a computer as well as, for the time being, on paper. Those who take the test on a computer will see a new breed of questions — free-response questions in which students manipulate on-screen images to form their conclusions. In one sample question, students move a plunger on a cylindrical gas tank to change gas pressure and temperature. They then write a few sentences describing the relationship between distance and pressure and between temperature and pressure, and graph those relationships.
Many details of digitization remain to be resolved. Which questions will be graded by computer, and which by humans? And because the two versions need to be comparable, just how many beyond-the-bubble questions will be added to the mix?
One decision that has been made: content will be unchanged.
Indeed, ACT wants to reach ever younger — into elementary school. Next year, it will start rolling out a series of computer-based tests that track student learning over time as well as progress in the current school year, and measure how far above or below grade level a student is in core subjects. Alabama, for one, has signed on to use the tests as its end-of-year assessment for Grades 3 to 8. In the program, parents and teachers will get increasingly detailed reports outlining the skills needed to be ready for college.
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Follow our very own, Stephenie, on the Homeschool website, as a guest blogger this week at Educational Adventures. In the article blog titled, "Technically Homeschooled," Stephenie shares what it was like growing up in two diverse cultures, and becoming the Educator that she is today; with the drive to keep learning and educating herself. "With my mother’s sacrifices and encouragement in education and learning, I have technically homeschooled myself in many ways."
Stephenie, having been a tutor/instructor/mentor since 1996, discovered her passion and founded Lee Academia Educational Consulting, LLC. after she left the dental and medical field. She loves teaching/mentoring and counseling her students. Her passion lies in educating others and helping them pursue their educational path. Today, certified in College Counseling and with more than 10 years of experience, Stephenie and her team continues to blog about current updated educational news and events.
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