Sophomores and Juniors: College Planning Starts Now!

Sophomores and Juniors: College Planning Starts Now!

College counseling is not a program that you simply sign up for and “work”—it’s a relationship and a process that takes place over an extended period of time.

The majority of our work with students—which includes academic planning, narrative and extracurricular development (your academic and EC “story” for college), a strategic college list, and completing essays, app data, and an extended resume—starts in 10th or early in 11th grade.

Juniors (and some soph’s) can:

  • Start to prep for standardized exams. Don’t wait until spring of your junior year or later to begin prep. We have a small list of tutors who we can highly recommend; don’t leave who you work with up to chance.
  • Meet with your school guidance counselor. They will write one of your letters of recommendation for college, and the letter will be much more personal if you know each other.
  • Build your story! Have you been heavily involved with any of your extracurricular activities (other than sports, which can’t major in!!!)? Look for impact and leadership opportunities. More importantly, does your resume point toward a major or intellectual interest? What is your story, and how is it told on your resume?
  • Plan your summer wisely. You’ll want to use this summer to build your resume and make sure it’s pointed toward your intended major.
  • Visit the websites of schools you are interested in. Explore the admission and academic pages, start to attend virtual offerings and track your contact with schools. It should be exciting to kick your college research into higher gear. Don’t forget to connect with your reps, too.

Fill out the contact form to schedule a consult and find out how we can support you in your college planning and application process.

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Colleges Requiring SAT/ACT Testing for 2024 Admissions

Colleges Requiring SAT/ACT Testing for 2024 Admissions

Purdue just announced they are rolling back their test-optional policy, so we thought it was a good time to post about other schools that have done the same. We will try to keep this page updated as other schools likely re-institute testing requirements. 

MIT
Georgetown
*Florida public’s: University of Florida, Florida State, University of Central Florida, New College of Florida, etc.
University of Georgia
Georgia Tech
Purdue
University of Tennessee
The Academies (Naval, West Point, Air Force)

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Public Flagships Are Hard to Get Into!

Public Flagships Are Hard to Get Into!

UGA continued to serve up a competitive EA round, especially for out-of-staters. Look for other public flagships to do the same again this year (we’re looking at you UF, UNC, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and of course the more selective UCs). 

The UGA admissions blog is a must-follow, but if you want to make even more sense out of data they shared, head to Edison Prep’s website.

It is crucial for students to maintain excellent grades in rigorous classes, raise their GPA if possible, and consider the impact of test scores; at schools like UGA, and we would argue MANY other schools—even those that are test-optional—they matter.

Academic rigor continues to be far more important than extracurricular activities, with the average EA applicant (not admitted student!) having 9+ AP/IB classes by graduation. 
Senior Associate Director of UGA Admissions David Graves posted a quote on the UGA Blog that we still sincerely wish were included at the top of every UGA mailer: “When parents or students say that their schedule is already so busy with other activities that it is tough to handle challenging courses…instead of dropping rigorous courses, maybe an activity could be dropped.” We tell students daily that no one has ever been ever rejected for having too low of a “play practice score,” but millions of applications are rejected each year for low GPA, low rigor, and/or low SAT/ACT scores. Activities matter if and once your core academic metrics are in the right ballpark.

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Will MIT change and challenge the test-optional movement?

Will MIT change and challenge the test-optional movement?

Probably not. 

Great piece by Jim Jump if you are following the test-optional movement. A highlight:

There are, of course, some global reasons why test-optional policies will not go away. One is the decision by the University of California and Cal State systems to no longer use test scores in their admission processes. As a result, colleges that recruit heavily in California will have a hard time reinstating test score requirements. But students outside California may also rebel against colleges that return to requiring test scores. The Ivies may be able to get away with it, but two years ago, when the pandemic accelerated the number of colleges going the test-optional route, an admissions dean friend postulated that colleges farther down the food chain may find that students may simply refuse to apply to colleges that aren’t test optional.

Read it here in full!

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Sal Khan: Test-Optional College Admissions Adds Ambiguity and is Bad for Students

Sal Khan: Test-Optional College Admissions Adds Ambiguity and is Bad for Students

Interesting read if you are following the test-optional movement and related debates. Sal Khan is the founder of Khan Academy, a non-profit that partners with the College Board. Read the interview here

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Colleges That Are No Longer Test Optional

Colleges That Are No Longer Test Optional

And so it begins…

MIT is no longer test-optional.

Will other schools follow in the name of transparency (because—let’s be honest—although test-optional policies do have merit at some institutions, they do not increase transparency around the admissions process)?

After careful consideration, we have decided to reinstate our SAT/ACT requirement for future admissions cycles. Our research shows standardized tests help us better assess the academic preparedness of all applicants and also help us identify socioeconomically disadvantaged students who lack access to advanced coursework or other enrichment opportunities that would otherwise demonstrate their readiness for MIT. We believe a requirement is more equitable and transparent than a test-optional policy. In the post below —  and in a separate conversation with MIT News today —  I explain more⁠ about how we think this decision helps us advance our mission. 

Some popular schools that have also rolled back COVID-era test-optional policies include UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Charlotte, East Carolina, Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, the University of Florida, New College of Florida, FSU, UCF, and USF (all State University System of Florida). 

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TODAY! 3/14 at 8pm Eastern: Test Prep and College Planning Open Forum Q&A

TODAY! 3/14 at 8pm Eastern: Test Prep and College Planning Open Forum Q&A

Join us on March 14th at 8 pm eastern for a casual discussion on all things test prep and college planning. We’ll be presenting a few of our top tips and strategies but will leave most of the session open for your questions. This session is for students and parents.

Register here!

Hope to see you on March, 14th!

News of the Week

News of the Week

Will test-optional become the new normal? As more colleges embrace the practice for a few years—or permanently—the debate is changing.

So of course….the College Board Announces Streamlined, Digital SAT.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of a decision that Harvard University’s use of affirmative action in college admissions is legal. The court will also hear an appeal of a ruling that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s use of affirmative action was legal.

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News of the Week!

News of the Week!

Dartmouth College announced an anonymous $40 million gift that will enable the college to offer need-blind admissions to international students. That brings to six the number of colleges with the policy: Amherst College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

Five students say leading colleges and universities are acting as an illegal “cartel” in violation of antitrust law. One of the students’ lawyers is a former prosecutor in the Varsity Blues case

Harvard is slow-marching the ACT and SAT into decline and diminished relevance

Some colleges reject the idea, but most appear to be allowing students to visit—with certain precautions.

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News of the Week!

News of the Week!

Test Optional May Not Apply to Homeschooled Students. Even some colleges that have gone test optional still require homeschooled applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores. Admissions officials say test scores are a valuable metric for homeschooled students, who can be challenging to evaluate.

Twenty education groups are issuing an open letter to college presidents and boards urging them to abandon legacy admissions, which remains popular among private colleges and some public institutions. “As Jerome Karabel details in his book, The Chosen, legacy preferences arose at elite institutions in the 1920s and 1930s as a way to limit the enrollment of Jewish immigrants whose qualifications outstripped those from long-standing well-to-do families that Ivy League colleges preferred to see on campus,” the letter says. To this day, the legacy preference continues to favor wealthy, white families. 

Ten Higher Education Stories of 2021

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