Greetings Students and Parents,
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.
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.
Register and prepare for the ACT or SATBy 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 11thApril 13th March 8thJune 8th May 17thSandweiss ACT ClassStarting February 9th or 10th for the April 13th examGet good gradesWhen 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 TestsSince 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