December 5th, 2013
Meghan Moll, guest contributor to the US News and World Report, writes, ”There are few things more frustrating in the college application process than making a serious effort to improve your performance on the ACT or SAT only to see your scores hit a slump. It can be especially maddening if your scores are falling just short of your goal.
“You may think you’re alone, but a stagnant score is more common among prospective college students than you might think.
“According to the ACT, 21 percent of students who took the exam more than once had no change in their composite score, while 22 percent actually saw their score decrease.”
December 2nd, 2013
Karl Taro Greenfled writes, “What happens when a father, alarmed by his 13-year-old daughter’s nightly workload, tries to do her homework for a week.
“Esmee is in the eighth grade at the NYC Lab Middle School for Collaborative Studies, a selective public school in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. My wife and I have noticed since she started there in February of last year that she has a lot of homework. We moved from Pacific Palisades, California, where Esmee also had a great deal of homework at Paul Revere Charter Middle School in Brentwood. I have found, at both schools, that whenever I bring up the homework issue with teachers or administrators, their response is that they are required by the state to cover a certain amount of material. There are standardized tests, and everyone—students, teachers, schools—is being evaluated on those tests. I’m not interested in the debates over teaching to the test or No Child Left Behind. What I am interested in is what my daughter is doing during those nightly hours between 8 o’clock and midnight, when she finally gets to bed. During the school week, she averages three to four hours of homework a night and six and a half hours of sleep.”
November 28th, 2013
Lynn O’Shaughnessy, contributor to CBS Moneywatch, writes, “A popular way to search for private college scholarships that charities, foundations and civic groups award is to turn to scholarship search engines. So just how effective are these websites?
“To find out, Money magazine recruited teenagers to try out the nation’s leading scholarship search sites. The results? Mediocre at best. Fastweb fared the worst. According to the magazine, the service generated zero “promising” matches for users, while also pelting users with ads.”
November 25th, 2013
Tamar Lewin of the New York Times reports that big changes are coming to the SAT and ACT.
“Say farewell to vocabulary flashcards with arcane words like ‘compendious,’ ‘membranous,’ ‘mendacious,’ ‘pugnacious,’ ‘depreciatory,’ ‘redolent,’ ‘treacly’ and ‘jettison.’ In the new SAT, to be unveiled in 2015, David Coleman, president of the College Board, wants to get rid of obscure words that are . . . just SAT words, and replace them with more common words like ‘synthesis,’ ‘distill’ and ‘transform,’ used in context as they will be in college and in life.
November 21st, 2013
Results from the November 2nd SAT are now available online at collegeboard.org.
November 18th, 2013
Kim Clark of CNN Money writes, “With the sticker price on private colleges averaging $45,000 and even the typical public university asking $23,000 a year, families at all income levels need help with tuition bills: A College Board poll last February found that about three-quarters of families earning more than $100,000 were applying for aid for the 2013-14 academic year.
“Your best shot at ‘free money’ — grants and scholarships vs. loans and work/study — comes from government agencies and the colleges themselves. So be sure to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at fafsa.ed.gov and suss out schools most likely to give your child money at sites like collegedata.com and meritaid.com.
“Beyond this assistance, though, there’s another $11 billion or so a year in private scholarships given out by foundations and companies, the College Board reports. About 8% of students receive these awards, averaging just over $3,400 but ranging up to the full cost of attendance, according to the U.S. Department of Education.”
November 13th, 2013
Results from the October 25th ACT are now available online at www.actstudent.org.
November 11th, 2013
Matthew J.X. Malady of Slate.com writes, “This essay, which was added to the SAT in 2005, counts for approximately 30 percent of a test-taker’s score on the writing section, or nearly one-ninth of one’s total score. That may not seem like much, but with competition for spots at top colleges and universities more fierce than ever, performance on a portion of the test worth around 11 percent of the total could be the difference between Stanford and the second tier. So it’s not surprising that students seek strategies and tips that will help them succeed on the writing exercise. Les Perelman, the recently retired former director of MIT’s Writing Across the Curriculum program, has got a doozy.
“To do well on the essay, he says, the best approach is to just make stuff up.”
November 7th, 2013
Remember to register by November 8th to take the SAT on December 7th. Late registration is also available through November 22nd. You can sign up online at www.collegeboard.com.
November 4th, 2013
Barbara Cruz Hancock, Devora Klionsky, and Walter Payton of themash.com write, “Do you have College Confidential bookmarked on your browser? Do you dream about the Common Application? Sounds like senior year. Leave those essays and personal statements alone for a minute and start thinking about college admissions interviews.
“For some students, it’s the easiest part of the application process. For others, college interviews can cause endless stress and anxiety.”