Posts made in March, 2012

What makes good Test Prep?

Posted by on Mar 15, 2012 in SAT & ACT | 0 comments

What makes good Test Prep?

Based upon decades of experience, the leaders at Eureka Test Prep and Study Smarter recommend the following:

  • Students need to take lots of full exams to increase their test taking stamina
  • Students can start with SAT tutoring, even if the student is going to take the ACT because the tips learned for the SAT will help with ACT preparation as well.
  • Students doing group prep should work with a group that puts students in groups based on pre-test scores. That way the students are working on the same skills
  • Tutors should have regular professional development, use actual ACT/SAT exams for student practice and have students practice taking full exams
  • Students who receive accommodations of extra time usually increase their ACT score more than their SAT score
  • Students should start test prep the spring of junior year, unless a student has higher than a 190 on his/her PSAT (those students can benefit from earlier test prep to potentially become a National Merit Finalist)
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Who fares best in the college admissions process?

Posted by on Mar 2, 2012 in Application Process | 0 comments

Who fares best in the college admissions process?

If you are looking for a comprehensive book on the College process, “College Admissions,” by Robin Mamlet and Christine VanDeVelde has a great deal of useful information for both students and parents. Last week I visited their blog at and really enjoyed the March 22nd topic, “Who fares best in the college admissions process?” The article was written in response to a post by a local student from Sequoia High School wrote a piece for Patch.com about feeling like everything she does all day is just to get into college. This article is a great conversation starter for both parents and students. My favorite part of the post is this quote from Alice Kleeman, who is a counselor at Menlo-Atherton High School.

“Students who challenge themselves in classes that interest them most and in which they are strongest (rather than feeling they must take every advanced class) . . . and students who are balanced and healthy-who always allot time for family, friends, and reading a good book under a tree on a beautiful day-are those who are snapped up by colleges all over the country, even the most selective colleges.”

I wanted to clap when I read her reply because it really mirrors how I feel about the college admissions process. I would bookmark this new blog as I think it covers a lot of interesting topics and may not feel quite as overwhelming or time consuming as reading the book from cover to cover.

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College Visits: What to Ask

Posted by on Mar 1, 2012 in Colleges & Visits | 0 comments

College Visits: What to Ask

Questions for the tour guide:

  • Why did you decide to come to this school?
  • What have you been most surprised about in your time here?
  • What would you change about the school?
  • What do people do outside of the classroom?
  • How do students interact with faculty- inside the classroom and outside?
  • How is the food on campus and what are the options?
  • Do students stay on campus or get involved in activities in the surrounding area?
  • What type of student is the most comfortable here?

Questions for Admissions Officer at the Info Session

  • What impresses you the most in a student’s application?
  • Is demonstrated interest a factor in your admissions decisions?
  • What kind of students do well here?
  • What changes do you see taking place on campus in the next five years?
  • What do you think your school is best known for?
  • How would you describe the typical student here?
  • How does the school help freshman adjust to college?
  • How much of a role does the surrounding community play in students’ daily lives?
  • Do you give merit aid scholarships, and if so, how do students apply? Is it automatic in the application process or is there a separate application?
  • Do you have an honors program? How do students qualify to be in the program?
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