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December 2012 Newsletter – High School Juniors

Nov 1st, 2013 | ACT, College Admissions, Newsletter, SAT

 

Greetings Students and Parents,

This newsletter is being sent to all high school juniors who have participated in a Sandweiss Test Prep class or lesson. We want to help you get the most out of your junior year and stay on track for college.
If you’re wondering what you can work on during winter break, here are some ideas.
Make a list of your top colleges
 

Now is the ideal time to seriously think about where you want to go to college. It may seem like you have plenty of time, but before you know it you’ll be working on your application packets and writing your admissions essays. Keep in mind that your final decision is just over a year away. Remember: consider all your options, and be aware of any misconceptions you might have about choosing a college. Picking a college is all about finding the right fit.

 

Right now you should be soaking in as much information as possible. Ask everyone for advice, talk to your teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, family friends, distant relatives, etc. And don’t be shy about it. People love giving advice to high school students. The more opinions you get, the more information you’ll have and the easier it will be to make the decision that is best for you.

 

US News – Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Offers Advice on Choosing the Right College

 

Also, request information from any colleges you’re considering. Collect pamphlets and info packets, consult guidebooks and college comparison sites. Your school’s guidance office can be a great resource if you don’t know where to start.

 

For a detailed and comprehensive online college guide visit College Confidential.
 
Plan your campus visits
 

The most popular time to tour college campuses is during spring break. Do your family a favor and start planning that trip now. Most college tours do not require reservations this far in advance, but there’s a lot of demand for spring break tours and it never hurts to sign up early. You can also start looking at campus tour calendars (here’s the UW calendar for example) to start planning your own itinerary.

You should also think about booking hotels and flights in advance. This will not only offer you discounted prices, but it will also save you the stress of trying to plan last minute.

Use spring break to visit out of state colleges. You can tour local colleges over long weekends or during winter break.

 

The Choice Blog – How to Make the Most of a College Visit

 
 
Register and prepare for the ACT or SAT
 
By now you’ve probably decided whether you’re taking the ACT or SAT. Remember, colleges will accept either test; neither is better or more impressive than the other.

Here at Sandweiss Test Prep we recommend you take the ACT no later than February or  April, and SAT no later than March. This will leave you enough time to retake the exam in June if needed. You don’t want to end up in a position where you need to take the ACT or SAT again during the fall of your senior year when you really should be thinking about your college applications.

If you haven’t already registered, here are the upcoming ACT and SAT test dates:
ACT Test Date         Registration Deadline

February 9th                 January 11th

 April 13th                      March 8th
 June 8th                        May 17th
Sandweiss ACT Class
Starting February 9th or 10th for the April 13th exam
SAT Test Date         Registration Deadline

January 26th               December 28th

 March 9th                   February 8th
 May 4th                      April 5th
 June 1st                     May 2nd
 
Sandweiss SAT Class
Starting mid January for the March 9th exam
 
Get good grades
 
When you submit your college applications, admissions officers are going to pay close attention to the classes you took and the grades you got during your junior year. It’s the most important year of your high school career. That means you should be taking AP and honors classes, getting good grades, and being generally impressive. Don’t take on more than you can handle, but colleges want to see that you’re pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.
If you feel like your course load is too easy, you still might be able to sign up for a second semester AP or honors course. AP Government and AP Environmental Science, for example, are sometimes offered starting mid-year.
 
 
 
Prepare for AP exams and SAT Subject Tests
Since you’re probably already taking one (or a few) AP classes, you know AP exams are coming up at the end of the year. You may just be taking an AP class for the GPA boost, or because it looks good on your transcript. Maybe getting a 5 on the exam is not your top priority, but as you probably know, many colleges will exchange AP exam scores for college credits, and the most selective schools only accept the highest scores.
Even though it might seem like a lot of work to study hard for AP exams on top of all your course work, consider the fact that earning college credit could literally save you and your family thousands of dollars. So pay attention in your AP classes and study hard for your AP exams.

Students taking advanced classes should also consider taking SAT Subject Tests. We encourage you to take the SAT Subject Test of any AP class you’re already taking (ie if you’re taking AP Chemistry, take the Chemistry subject test as well). If you’re unsure how the AP exams and SAT Subject tests compare, explore the official College Board site. Sandweiss Test Prep also offers free diagnostic tests for SAT Subject Tests allowing you to see what the real test would be like.

A handful of schools now consider SAT Subject Test scores as part of your application. You can show off your knowledge in one or two of your best subjects, which is helpful if your SAT or ACT scores are low or average. Additionally, many selective colleges now require any two subject test scores along with your traditional SAT or ACT scores. Other schools will allow you to submit your scores from two of the following tests: SAT, ACT or SAT Subject Test. For a fairly up to date list of colleges that require, recommend and consider SAT Subject Tests, check out this link from Compass Prep.

Remember, Sandweiss Test Prep offers individual tutoring and practice exams for all SAT Subject Tests and AP exams. Now is the perfect time to start studying!


For more reading: December College Checklist for Juniors from The New York Times The Choice Blog


We offer more than just test prep. We can be your partner through all aspects of your decision making process

Let us give you some free, low-hassle advice. If you have a quick comment or question about your college application process just post it on the Sandweiss Test Prep Facebook page and we’ll respond ASAP.
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Has your family visited a college recently? Help us build a dynamic, social database where students can interact, share stories and give each other tips, recommendations or warnings about different colleges.
Do you have feedback on this newsletter? We’re planning on starting a semi-monthly newsletter of this sort. Please let us know if you’d like to be taken off the mailing list, or if you have any other feedback.
Susie Coffaro
Sandweiss Test Prep