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September 2012 Newsletter – High School Seniors

Nov 1st, 2013 | Newsletter

 

Greetings Students and Parents,

This newsletter is being sent to all high school seniors who have participated in a Sandweiss Test Prep class or lesson. We want to help you get the most out of your 2012 – 2013 school year and stay on track for college.
Here are four things you can think about right now that will give you a head-start on your senior year.
1. Study for your SAT II Subject Tests before it’s too late!
If you haven’t considered taking an SAT II Subject Test there’s still time, but not much. A handful of schools now consider subject test scores as part of your application. You can show off your knowledge in one or two of your best subjects, which ishelpful if your SAT or ACT scores are low or average.
You may find some highly selective colleges that 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 II Subject Test. For a fairly up to date list of colleges that require, recommend and consider SAT II Subject Tests, check out this link from Compass Prep.
If you’re planning on taking an SAT II Subject Test, October 6th, November 3rd and December 1st are the last testing dates that will leave you enough time to submit your scores to the colleges of your choice. For full details on the Sat Subjects Tests visit the College Board website.
And remember, Sandweiss Test Prep offers individual tutoring and practice exams for all SAT II Subject Tests. Now is the perfect time to start studying!
2. Submit your early decision or early action application
 
For those of you who don’t know the difference between early decision and early action you may want to take a look at thisrecent post from Christina Quinn, “College Admissions: Demystifying Early Admissions.” She clearly explains the advantages and disadvantages of applying either early decision or early action.
To summarize briefly, early decision is the most restrictive type of early application used by some selective colleges. Deadlines are typically in November and students hear back the following month (before Christmas). This is the ideal choice if you are positive of your first choice school. You can only apply to one school for early decision and if admitted, you must attend that school in the fall.
In addition to the November early decision, some schools now offer a second round of early decision in December or January for students who need a little more time to submit their application.
If you’re interested in applying to more than one college, look for an early action or priority decision application. These plans are due around the same time as the early decision (November – December), but most allow you to apply to many colleges, and if admitted, you can wait until spring to make you final decision.
Still on the fence about applying early?
One advantage is that your senior year could be a lot less complicated. Imagine knowing exactly where you will be going tocollege by Christmas Time. That leaves the rest of the year to focus on other things (like your financial aid and grant applications).
Another great advantage is that you may get a boost on your application. Selective colleges admit students at a much higher rate in early decision and early action rounds. Colleges love to know you’re serious about attending their school.
Make sure to fully research your top school’s application choices. There are many variations to early decision or early action applications.
3. Start thinking about your FAFSA and CSS Profile.
The FAFSA is, as many of you know, the federal financial aid application for prospective college students. If you’re interested in reciving any state or federal aid, you must fill out and complete the FAFSA by the end of January. The application becomes available January 1st, 2013.
That may seem like a long ways off, but you can start preparing now. All colleges provide a worksheet or survey on their website to help calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). You might find this by searching “net price calculator” or “financial aid estimator”. Here is the page from UW, for example. Your EFC does not represent the amount of aid you will receive or the amount your family will pay. It will only help colleges estimate your potential aid based on how much your family can afford to contribute.
Here are some other FAFSA resources:
The CSS Profile (College Scholarship Service Profile) is the College Board financial aid application. It is a more detailed form, and it is accepted by certain colleges as a supplement to the FAFSA, or sometimes in place of the FAFSA. Students applyingto selective colleges will probably end up completing both forms.
You can also work on the CSS Profile starting October 1st, and it’s perfect for students applying for early decision or early action (since the FAFSA is not available until 2013).
Here are some CSS Profile resources:
 
4. Prepare for your college interview.
Your potential admissions interview is probably still months away, but it’s never too early to start preparing.
There’s no uniform policy on admissions interviews. Some schools require them, others make it optional. It’s important toresearch your top colleges and see if they offer an interview as part of your application.
There are four types of admissions interviews:
–    You can visit the campus and interview with an admissions officer. This is the best option.
–    You can meet with a local alumni and they will report back to the admissions office.
–    If you live far away, a college might allow you to schedule a telephone or Skype interview.
–    Many colleges have a regional admissions officer in the Seattle area. You can sometimes contact the college admissions office to schedule a local appointment.
Once you schedule an interview, start practicing right away. There are tons of sites with advice on how to nail your interview. Just Google “college admissions interview”.
Here are some that we found particularly helpful:
And remember, if you visit a college for your admissions interview, make sure you tour the campus and explore the town. It will let you consider your all the factors before you make your final decision.

The National College Fair is coming to Seattle November 2nd and 3rd at the Downtown Convention Center. Make sure to register in advance. It’s a great oppertunity to meet with college representatives in person.


 

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.
If you’ve ever received a service from Sandweiss Test Prep we’d love it if you would review us on Yelp.
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