While SAT Subject Tests will not be required for fall 2012 admission or beyond, some campuses recommend that students vying for slots in competitive majors take the tests to demonstrate subject proficiency. For detail (with future update): University of California – SAT Subject Tests
1. “Get” the test
2. Make the Net your friend
3. Choose a target date
4. Take the PSAT
5. Get a study guide (or two or three)
6. Consider classes, in person or online
7. What about tutors?
8. Take a practice test
9. Don’t study the night before
10. When the big day arrives, take it easy
The AP Program offers several AP Scholar Awards to recognize high school students who have demonstrated college-level achievement through AP courses and exams.
In 2010, the numbers of AP Scholar Awards given were:
- AP Scholar: 168,889
- AP Scholar with Honor: 70,059
- AP Scholar with Distinction: 100,392
- State AP Scholar: 109
- National AP Scholar: 15,103
- National AP Scholar (Canada): 307
- DoDEA AP Scholar: 2
- International AP Scholar: 2
- AP International Diploma: 173
- A+ Schools for B Students (page 12-13) – http://www.usnews,com/aplus
- A Strong Commitment to Teaching (page 15) – 80 colleges and universities focus on undergrads – http://www.usnews.com/college
- Chapter 2: Narrow the Search (page 16-43)
- 5 Keys to Finding the Right Fit
- Start with you, not the colleges.
- Visit campuses. http://www.usnews.com/roadtrips
- Humor the tour guide. But ask questions!
- Drawn to specific type of schools?
- Be realistic.
- 5 Keys to Finding the Right Fit
Only 2.9% of students applied to 12 or more schools.
Feedback fro students at http://www.studentsreview.com can alert you to things you won’t get from a school’s own site.
For fall 2010, Department of Education projects the ratio of collegegoers to be 57% girls to 43% boys.
- Programs to Look For (page 34-35):
- Senior Capstone (ask students nearing the end of their college years to create a project of some sort that integrates and synthesizes what they’ve learned)
- First-Year Experience (first-year seminars or other academic programs that bring small groups of students together with faculty or staff on a regular basis)
- Undergraduate Research Creative Projects
- Learning Communities
- Study Abroad
- Service Learning
- Writing in the Disciplines
- Turning Two Years Into Four (Community Colleges) (page 42-43) – http://www.usnews.com/commcollege
- More than 100 2-year colleges have more than 3,000 students and offer campus housing.
- Chapter 3: How to Get In (page 44-59)
- 5 Keys to an Awesome Application
- Grades do matter. Don’t succumb to senioritis.
- Don’t do well on certain tests? Consider the ACT instead of SAT.
- Polish your essay until sings. Make sure your authentic voice comes through.
- Pick your teacher recommendations carefully.
- Rejected by the schools you applied to? May is not too late to start over.
- Stop Selling Yourself Short (page 46-48)
- Making the grade.
- academic risk takers
- challenged themselves
- rigorous curriculum
- has it prepared them?
- What we want for students is the feeling that they’re looking for the next great thing they need to know. We like to see a sense of joy and curiosity.
- Express yourself.
- doesn’t have to be a week in Africa. It can you were a clerk at Safeway for the summer and that changed the way you view race relations or the environment.
- one in which “a student travels in a few swift paragraphs from one perspective to another and has seen the deeper meaning, learned the lesson, or found the humor.”
- We are looking for a thoughtful, earnest presentation that shows complicated interests and thinking.
- Always, always, always be honest.
- Show a little love.
- demonstrated interest – showing genuine enthusiasm for each school on your list is a must.
- No college wants to play second or fifth or 15th fiddle.
- We want kids who want us.
- Tailor each application individually, with concrete examples of why you can see yourself there.
- Find your fans.
- The best choice isn’t always the teacher whose class you aced.
- Better to pick the one who can describe what you’re like as a person.
- Ask if they can write you a strong recommendation and if the teacher hesitates, back off.
- Depth beats breadth.
- It’s important to be well lopsided rather than well rounded.
- Focus on what you’re good at.
- Doing less but doing it well.
- Avoid being one dimensional.
- Anything you’re passionate about has merit, including an after-school job.
- The interview.
- Some are informational and some are evaluative.
- One-on-ones are a way to underscore your desire to attend.
- Rehearse your questions and talking points with an adult.
- Communication not just your strengths but also your enthusiasm.
- Say clearly and politely, “This is what I’ve achieved, and I am proud of it.”
- Full Disclosure.
- from whatever tipped you up, accepted the consequences, and done what you could do to make amends.
- You’ve got to show that you learned something.
- Don’t whine.
- Acing the Essay.
- Brainstorm – Ask family and friends what to write about. Focus on what matters to you and why. How you spend your free time is a good place to start.
- Show; don’t tell – use examples and anecdotes.
- Be polite but not too humble.
- Seek feedback – ask someone to read your essay and ask, “Does this sound like me?”
- Take your time and don’t do it at the last minute.
- Killer Extracurrics.
- Choose wisely.
- Lessons – what drew you in, and what did you learn?
- Details, details – president of the poetry society? Say how many members the club has and what you do.
- Commitment – show how much work you put into the water polo team.
- Making the grade.
- Taking Charge of Your Test Scores (page 49)
- SAT Score-Use Practices guide – http://www.collegeboard.com which breaks down many schools’ specific policies.
- Make a chart that refers to each college’s rules so you completely understand each school’s requirements.
- College Board’s SAT-Skills Insight which identifies skills that are needed for the test and poses sample questions.
- Science section of ACT tests your scientific reasoning skills (40 questions).
- 1.4 million fro ACT versus 1.5 million for SAT
- Rocketing Past the Blunders (page 50-51)
- Sanitize your e-mail address.
- keep nicknames private.
- Follow directions.
- Recruit enthusiastic recommenders.
- Extracurrics: Don’t overdo it.
- Shun jargon.
- Explain changes.
- Know thy college. – say something specific about the school.
- Keep schools straight.
- Think twice before tugging at heartstrings. – unless you can use a sorrowful story to reveal something about yourself, it is a tale best not told.
- Keep it clean.
- Don’t use those “texting” words.
- Explain easy courses. – Took honors English through 11th grade then slid down to a standard class. “Burned out” is not a good answer. “Decided to focus on my real love – science” is much better.
- Own up to bad behavior. – Don’t lie. Take on the experience, show contrition or lessons learned.
- Optional essays aren’t optional.
- Be electronically savvy.
- Handwriting counts.
- Don’t assume your counselor will handle it.
- Don’t be cocky.
- 5 Keys to an Awesome Application
If you do opt to stay on a wait list, write or call with any new info you think will help: a stellar final transcript, a special award or achievement. And let your college know you’re not just toying with it.
- In early May, NACAC’s survey of space availability lists schools that report spots remaining for qualified applications. It stays online until mid-August.
- Chapter 4: How to Pay for College (page 60-71)
- 5 Keys to Finding the Money
- Look at education as an investment.
- Spread your net wider. Seek out new sources of cash. Apply to good, cheap colleges.
- More students are getting federal grants. and federal student loans are now bargains.
- Parents should shop around, especially for bank loans.
- Best value schools (page 67) – % receiving grants based on need; average cost after receiving grants based on need; average discount from total cost.
- Target colleges’ admission statistics – http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
- Web sites: BabyMint, LittleGrad, Futuretrust, Upromise, SAGE Scholars
- 5 Keys to Finding the Money
Students who request extra help (and can document their need for it) are far more likely to get aid these days.
- Compare loans:
- It’s What You Didn’t Think Of (page 66)
- Storage containers.
- Gym membership.
- Parking and car registration fees.
- The latest iPod incarnation.
- School pride gear.
- Formal wear.
- Flu-fighting vitamins.
- Paper costs.
- Food storage – rent a small fridge each semester.
- Out of State at In-State Rates (page 71)
- Know no boundaries.
- 4 geographically based programs: The Midwest program; Academic Common Market (South); Western Undergraduate Exchange (West); New England Board of Higher Education Regional Student Program
- Escapes – vacations.
- Know no boundaries.
Education Trust (graduation rates) – http://www.collegeresults.org
Racial Diversity (page 40) – diversity index (0.0 to 1.0)
Economic Diversity (page 41) – pell grants ratio
International Students (page 41) – percentage
According to this article, “Over 100 Score Perfect 2400 in New SAT”:
- as the 300,000 students who took the first sitting of the new test March 12, 2005 began receiving scores, the College Board reported that 107 scored a perfect 800 on each of the three sections – writing, critical reading and math. [That is 1 out of 2803, 0.000356%]
- Of the 1.4 million 2004 high school graduates who took the old SAT, 939 scored a then-perfect 1600 [That is 1 out of 1490, 0.00067%]
According to this article, “Michigan Teen Gets Perfect Scores On SAT, PSAT, ACT Tests” (April 27, 2009):
- The College Board has reported that roughly 1 in every 5,000 students taking the SAT gets a perfect score.
- The ods for the PSAT are 1 in every 1,000
- The ods for the ACT are 1 in every 14,000
- 17-year old Willa Chen, a senior at Canton High School in Canton, Michigan, has made history by getting a perfect score on all 3 of her exams (PSAT, SAT, and ACT).
According to this article, “Willa Chen is one in a million. And then some” (April 27, 2009):
- She was accepted to the University of Michigan and Massachusetts Institute of Technology but will attend Princeton in the fall. She fell in love with Princeton’s campus on her first visit and always considered the university her first choice. She plans on studying applied math or computers, but she’s keeping her options open.
According to this article, “Willa Chen scores perfect on her ACT, SAT and PSAT”:
- The College Board reports approximately one student in 5,000 taking the SAT gets a perfect score of 2,400, while the odds are a little better, one in 1,000, on the PSAT, The Detroit News reported.
- The other major college entrance test, the ACT, which comes from a contending organization, states the odds of a perfect finish are one in 14,000.
According to this article, “Willa Chen scores perfect on her ACT, SAT and PSAT“, she also participated in the Math Olympiad and loves jazz, tap and ballet dancing.
To see a photo of Willa Chen from 2009, read this article “2009 Michigan Junior Miss winner – first runner-up Willa Chen of Plymouth Canton”
Willa Chen’s LinkedIn Profile (with photo) shows she is currently working for Google.
According to this article, “How many people have gotten a perfect score on the SAT”:
- Of the 1.5 million students who took the SAT in 2008, only 294 students earned a perfect score.
According to this article, “Four area students score 2400 on SAT — perfect” (September 5, 2009):
- Profile for: Tom Hui is a self-described video game lover. Michelle Liu calls herself a nerd. Marissa Pan simply likes books, and Tanya Nguyen prefers balance in her life.
- What do they have in common? All scored 2400 on the SAT, putting them in the elite company of 297 nationwide and 10 in Georgia earning perfect scores last year (2008).
- 294 college bound seniors out of a total of 1,518,176 who took the test in the year 2008 got 2400
- 5683 college bound seniors out of a total of 1,518,176 who took the test in the year 2008 got 2300 or more
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- Most colleges accept either the SAT’s or the ACT’s.
- Juniors typically begin taking SAT’s or ACT’s during the second semester of their junior year.
- Students applying to the UC system and planning to take the ACT must sign up for the ACT with Writing because, unlike the SAT, students have a choice of taking it with or without Writing. The UC system includes the Writing test in their student application review process.
- Tests can be taken more than once.
- The UC and CSU systems will use the highest scores from either the ACT or SAT.
- There are strategies involved when taking these tests that students should explore, either with a prep class, resource book or on-line.
- Each testing company also offers free preparation booklets with sample questions and test content.
- The UC’s will accept college admission tests taken through December of the senior year.
- This is also true for the CSU system with the exception of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and San Diego State, who want them completed by October or November of the senior year.
- Students should check the testing requirements for private and out-of-state schools, as they may differ from the UC or CSU systems.
- Second semester SAT dates are in January, March, May and June.
- SAT Reasoning test includes Critical Reading, Math and Writing.
- Second semester dates are in February, April and June.
- ACT Assessment differs because it includes four sections: English, Math, Reading and Science Reasoning.
- UC’s and many private schools also require SAT subject tests.
- The UC’s require two subject tests in two different subject areas. The subject areas include history, literature, math, science and language.
- Students should take the subject tests in May or June when they have almost completed a school year of the subject.
- For example, students enrolled in AP US History who are preparing for the May AP test will find they are well prepared for the May or June US History subject test. The same goes for AP Biology, Chemistry, and Math, etc.
- If a student chooses to take Math as one of the two subject tests, the UC system wants Math Level 2.
- For the Chemistry test, students should at least have taken Honors Chemistry, as it is a “time intensive and difficult” test.
- If Language is used as one of the subject test, the Language with listening for native, fluent speakers is only given in November. Language without listening is given during the other test dates.
- AP European History does not necessarily prepare students for the World History subject test, because the subject test focuses on non-European cultures.
- The UC’s will use the two highest subject test scores in their admission reviews.
- The subject tests take one hour, and students can take up to three on a single test date, although that’s pretty tiring.
- The CSU system does not require the subject tests.
Source: Mary Church, DVHS Career Center, firstname.lastname@example.org