Collegewise: How important are PSAT scores?

Collegewise: How important are PSAT scores?

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University of California – SAT Subject Tests Requirement for 2012 and beyond

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

Tips : Stress-free SATs

Stress-free SATs


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

AP Scholar Awards

AP Scholar Awards

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

Book: U.S. News & World Report America’s Best Colleges (2010 Edition)

Only 2.9% of students applied to 12 or more schools.

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):
    • Internships
    • 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.
    • 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 Even though the SAT or ACT is preferred in dif...
      • http://www.usnews.com/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.

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

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.

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