Study. Apply. Succeed. True for all aspects of education, and especially with the college application essays. Personal statements and admissions essays can be overwhelming, but Lee Academia has helped clients brainstorm compelling topics, compose and organize a memorable essay without stress for years. Their approach leaves the student in charge of the essay, so that student gets to the heart of the story and produces an essay that's attention-grabbing and authentic. All the years of guidance, experience and strategies are now compiled into a new easy-to-follow workbook for students to use on their own. Stop procrastinating and write that college essay now!
When should students take the SAT or ACT? Does it make sense to take both tests?
I recommend that students take the SAT or ACT in the spring of junior year and retake that same test in the fall of senior year, if necessary. May is a perfect month for the SAT since students can order “Question and Answer Service” (which is only offered three times a year), a terrific study tool for the next round. Taking the May SAT also allows students to take SAT Subject Tests in June, close to the end of the semester in which they are studying those subjects.
The ACT Q&A service, “Test Information Release,” is offered in April and June. June is the best time to take the test, when courses are nearly over and students have learned more math, which is relevant on this test. Then take the test once more in September or October.
Colleges accept both. For students applying to colleges that require the SAT + SAT Subject Tests, or ACT alone, and who do not have strong SAT Subject Test options, the ACT is appealing. For students who are weak in reading and vocabulary but strong in math, the ACT is often the better option. Otherwise, the SAT is generally considered the more coachable test. Students can take a practice test in each to get the definitive answer of which test is a better fit for them.
Under what circumstances should students retake the SAT or ACT? How much better should a student expect to do the second time around?
Although the trend is to take more and more tests, there are several reasons students should not retake the SAT or ACT more than once. Students’ time could be put to much better uses than prepping for and retaking tests, too. Students who study for these tests tend to make a big jump in scores after their first course of study: 50 points or more in each SAT section, 2-4 points in each ACT section. After that, many students plateau out, but still manage to raise their scores in the fall, sometimes an additional 50 points per SAT section, and a 1-3 points on the ACT.
Since colleges pick the best scores to make a superscore, nearly everyone should take the test again in the fall. Many students pull it all together then: They are a half-year older than when they first took the test; they’ve grown and matured over the summer, too. A number of factors lead some students to see big improvement in the fall test. Even if they only pick up a few points here and there, it adds up and overall is likely to be much higher than initial scores.
What is your advice for parents, when it comes to helping your child juggle the necessary components of admissions (exams, essays, paperwork, tours, etc)?
Every student and family is different, but the demands of college applications and admissions are the same: burdensome and stressful! Students need to be willing to accept some parental help and guidance but may rightfully reject meddling. Families should sit down early in the process and establish roles, boundaries, and procedures for making sure everything gets done.
Personally, I have no objection to allowing a student to delegate much of the logistics and bookkeeping to parents. Some students are not ready to take on that responsibility or are too busy juggling school and test prep and all the rest of their responsibilities. It does not mean that they are not ready to go on to the next step. Essays, however, and anything that is supposed to be in the student’s voice should not bear any parent’s fingerprints.
Should students ever cancel their scores on the ACT or SAT? If you feel you did particularly bad is it a good idea to cancel your test?
Both ACT and SAT scores may be cancelled within a few days of the test, but students should really have a good reason to do so, not just nerves. It really is difficult to predict one’s score based on a gut feeling after taking the test, but if the student was ill or had any other extraordinary circumstance that would have affected his or her test performance, cancellation is a last resort. Remember though, most colleges will superscore the results from all the SATs taken, and a growing number of colleges will do so for the ACT, too, so even if the results in one or two sections of the test are poor, a higher score in another section generally makes it all worth keeping, since that score would benefit the overall score compilation.
For students taking the SAT Subject Tests, note that score cancellation affects all tests taken that day. Even if the student is concerned about one of two or three tests, it probably would be wiser to keep all the scores. Most colleges allow Score Choice, so any weak scores can be suppressed later.
Students are about to write one of the most important essays (homework) of their life. Don’t panic. A great college admissions essay will present a vivid, personal, and compelling view of you to the admissions staff. It will help students stand out from the rest of the applicants.
In order to stand out from the crowd, the essay must elicit an emotional response from the reader. The focus of the essay should be personal, authentic, not superficial. The essay must prove a point or thesis. The reader should be able to follow a main idea from beginning to end. It should be developed with vivid and specific facts, events, quotations, examples, and reasons. The student should write as she speaks and use a relaxed conversational style.
Be original. Remember, what bores the writer will generally bore others. Show genuine enthusiasm. The student should pick a topic that genuinely excites her. The enthusiasm will show through. The writing will be invigorating and the reader will enjoy reading the essay.
Create some surprise. The introduction that surprises the readers and makes them want to read past the first paragraph will grab attention and help the essay stand out from the crowd.
Use action verbs. They make the essay much more lively than passive voice.Use short sentences and simple words. Use simpler, concise language. The student wants the readers to understand the essay. Vary sentence structure. Intermingle long sentences with shorter sentences to keep the reader from getting bored.
Avoid acronyms and abbreviations. They have no place in your essay. Avoid controversy. Avoid offensive tone or language. Avoid sexist language. Substitute asexual words for sexist words. For example, use “firefighter” instead of “fireman”.
Be careful using humor. It’s more important to tell an interesting story. Choose nouns and verbs that are as specific as possible.
Revise until it is perfect. The essay will go through several drafts before it is ready. Keep in mind that the essay must be more than interesting–it must be captivating. Let the enthusiasm show through. Adhere to the word limit. 500 word limit does not mean 550 words is okay. Proofread. Don’t rely solely on the computer’s spell check.
Show the essay to someone who can be objective. To produce the best possible essay, the student needs a good editor. Get Lee Academia to give you constructive feedback on how the message is coming across.
Writing a successful college admissions essay is not a simple task. Students should plan on spending a lot of time writing, reviewing, and polishing so that it is just right. With perseverance, student will end up with an outstanding essay that will capture the reader’s attention, allow colleges to reach an emotional conclusion about the student, and get that letter of acceptance.
SPECIAL NEW SCHOLARSHIP!!!
Lee Academia is offering $1,000 scholarship to High School Seniors! First time Lee Academia will be offering a scholarship! And it's worth $1,000!
Apply now! Write an original compelling and creative essay with less than 500 words demonstrating why education is important to you OR a topic of your choice. Hey! Why not reuse your own college essay/personal statement?
It's worth a cool $1,000! Two students will be selected.
Student will also need to submit a copy of their transcripts (unofficial copies are acceptable) and test scores, such as the SAT/ACT, and any Subject Test taken. Include activities, any community services or work experience. Resumes may be attached. 1 Teacher or Guidance Counselor Letter of Recommendation is required. Hmmm, sounds similar to the college application process...nothing extra needs to be prepared...
See Lee Academia's First Annual Scholarship 2012 instructions to apply.
Contact Stephenie@LeeAcademia.com for the forms. Forms available 11/17/12.
Deadline is December 31, 2012 5pm EST. Don't wait until the last minute.
Domestic and International students are welcomed to apply.
Winners will be announced January 5, 2013.
December - January
The Davidson Institute The Davidson Fellows Scholarship awards $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 scholarships to extraordinary young people, 18 and under, who have completed a significant piece of work. Application categories are Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Literature, Music, Philosophy and Outside the Box.
The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest awards scholarships of $500-$10,000 to students who write a compelling essay on how an elected official risked his or her career to take a stand based on the dictates of conscience, rather than the dictates of polls.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Program awards 50 scholarships of $20,000 and 200 scholarships of $10,000 each year to students with impressive academic and extra-curricular credentials.
Nordstrom awards 80 scholarships of $10,000 over 4 years to students in states with store locations. Applicants must have a 2.7 GPA or above, participate in community service and be applying for financial aid at their college.
Dunkin Donuts awards over $2 million in scholarships each year to students in areas where they have franchises.
Planning a productive summer is imperative when it comes to the college admissions process.
It can show that you develop your interests throughout your time in high school.
Summer presents many opportunities for students to further develop their interests and goals.
You can travel to a foreign country, continue training in your favorite sport, make up a class or gain extra credits in summer school, start a business, get an internship, or join community service organizations.
Lee Academia's Advisors have come up with the following tips for spending your summer wisely.
Lee Academia 為您提供以下建議幫您更充分地利用暑期。
The longer, the better.
Look for programs that last at least 4 weeks. Colleges will recognize your long-term commitments to the things you love.
Avoid teen tours.
Colleges will view this as a vacation, not an impactful experience. If you want to spend time in a foreign country, you absolutely should! Do something productive, just don’t eat pizza in Rome for a month.
Preview College Life.
See what it’s like to study your favorite subject under the guidance of a college professor. Get a taste of college life by living in a dorm room, eating in a dining hall, and hanging out on campus.
Get a Job.
A summer job may help you confirm your career aspirations, discover new interests, or gain firsthand experience. It’s not crucial for you to make money; it’s the experience that truly counts.
For more tips, speak with our College Consultants and Advisors for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-646-266-6084
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.