Archive for July, 2012

Test Prep Courses for the SAT and ACT: What Parents Need to Know

July 31, 2012

The SAT and ACT are significant criteria for college admissions and require advanced preparation in order for students to achieve their best possible score. Test scores can make or break a student’s chances for college acceptance and scholarships.  Most experts, including Susie Watts from College Direction in Denver, Colorado, believe that a good test prep course can help to improve students’ SAT and ACT scores.

Below are five tips to find a good SAT and ACT test prep course:

1.  The teaching is most important .  The information in most test prep courses is similar, but a good course will have a qualified teacher that is highly motivated to coaching students.  The course should be taught by a test expert with experience, not necessarily a high school teacher or someone who has only scored high on the SAT and ACT.

2.  The test prep course should be affordable .  Spending more money will not guarantee a better test prep course.  Paying more does not make a course better nor does a big name make it more effective.  The value of the class depends on the experience of the teacher, quality of the material and dedication to helping students succeed. Parents should consider all of these factors before signing up for a SAT or ACT course.

3.  Students should practice on real tests .  A good test prep course only utilizes tests that are published by the College Board and the ACT. This helps students become familiar and know exactly what to expect. Having this experience makes for a much less stressful test day.

4.  The test prep course should focus on content and strategies .  A comprehensive approach to test taking includes practicing materials with review and explanations as well as specific test-taking strategies.  Students need to understand the content of the test, but they also need to know how to approach each part of the test with test-taking techniques that enable them to improve their scores.

5.  A test prep course should fit the needs of your child .  The test prep course should be small enough to be beneficial, ideally no more than 9 students.  The course should not take too much time away from homework and other activities. The course should make valuable use of the time; once a week classes should be sufficient. An important part of the class should address anxiety and stress relief by introducing and practicing relaxation and mental preparedness.

A good SAT and ACT course will prepare students  for the mental marathon that will help them succeed on these important tests.


Private College Counselors: What Do They Do?

July 17, 2012

Private college counselors assist students with choosing a college, essays and applications, college visits and much, much more.  They make sure that students and their families know the newest trends in college admissions and they try to eliminate as much stress as possible.  They provide college counseling to help students stay organized and make the best college decisions.

Private college counselors have the expertise and time to provide the individual attention that will benefit students throughout the college application process.  They are members of professional organizations and visit colleges to discover schools that might be appropriate for their students.  Most private college counselors charge affordable fees and many parents feel that using a college consultant is one of the best investments they have made. 

Click on the link below to find out what one private college counselor learned at a recent HECA college conference.

College Applications: What Do Colleges Want to See?

July 11, 2012

Frequently students assume that they need to spend money for activities that will make their college applications stand out.  They don’t realize that there are many free things they can do that could strengthen them as college applicants.  With at least a few weeks of summer left before school starts, why not consider what you can do.

While colleges want their applicants to have good grades and test scores, they are always looking for something more. How will you as a college applicant make yourself stand out among the other qualified students who are applying to the same schools? Have you done an internship in an area of interest, volunteered where you have a real passion, or learned something new that was a real challenge?

Perhaps some of these activities might help. Most require some work, but others are designed to help you do a little self-reflection. What would you like in a college experience? Would one of these activities help you determine a possible college major? What are your immediate and long term goals? In the next few weeks, choose a few of these free activities and plan to do them this summer while there is still time.…