Why should I care about AP courses and AP exams and SAT Subject Tests?

Good question. Not all schools require these subject-based tests or AP exams and who wants to sit down for an extra exam? Well, think about this a bit more before you make your final registration decisions for next year.  The most important part of your college applications is how your academic transcript presents your case.  You want to get the best grades you can — of course. But don’t forget that the rigor of your courses is important as well.  Taking honors and AP courses (if your high school offers these) is a great way of showing colleges that you are a serious student and that you want to challenge yourself by taking courses that require you to work hard. AP Courses and AP Exams: Not only do high scores on these exams offer students college credit for only the cost of the exam (3-6 credits for under $100 — credit offered varies by college), but also having these courses on your transcript shows you have selected some of the most challenging courses offered at your high school. Think of  AP courses as boot camp for college because the Admissions Officers at your first choice school will do the same. Additionally, some schools have changed their admissions policies regarding standardized testing.  Test-flexible policies allow applicants to submit these AP exam scores in place of SAT or ACT scores as part of their admissions application . Schools with this policy include: University of Rochester test flexible policy New York University standardized testing policy Brandeis University SAT Subject tests: These are less well known than AP exams.  Plan to take subject tests in May or June of the year you are taking that subject.  These exams are 60 minutes each and you can take up to three in one session.  While not all schools require these exams your scores will be included on your SAT report to schools.  This is a good way to shine in a particular subject.  For more information click here:  SAT Subject tests. Remember high school is a great time to explore your academic interests and see what you love and where you excel. While you don’t need to take honors, AP, or SAT subject tests in all academic areas, find what you enjoy and try at least one to three more rigorous courses every...
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Seniors–you are almost there. Don’t quit now.

Seniors–you are almost there. Finish high school ready and able to tackle your next academic adventure!


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Get to the Root of your Financial Aid Package

Financial aid packages are confusing. The line items can look innocuous but you need to look more closely at the underlying roots to learn the long term implications. Loans have varying (and variable) interest rates, work-study funds are not credited to your bill, and sometimes (but not always) there is a difference between academic scholarships and grant–to name a few of the complexities.


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Weighing your options with an objective advocate from Admissions 1

Admissions letters have arrived. Are you and your family weighing your options? Not sure which direction to go? Talk to the Admissions1 Professionals–your objective advocate in the college admissions process.


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Invest in your future this summer.

Summer is just around the corner. For many of you that means sand, surf and snoozing.  While we are all for enjoying time off and relaxing in the sun—summer also provides high school students with great opportunities for a few “mind changing” experiences. For those of you old enough to work, finding a great summer job is invaluable.  It not only gives you insight into the world of work, but also helps develop essential skills for success outside of the classroom.  Paid or unpaid work will provide you with a more clear understanding of  the value of responsibility, reliability and a strong work ethic.  Never discount any job–even if the only thing you learn from working at a fast food joint or as a day camp counselor is that you never want to do these jobs again.  That is valuable information.  Store these tidbits away for when you consider possible career fields.  If you didn’t like working with children or at Mickey D’s when you were a teenager, what has changed that may interest you in these career fields now?  A job can give you a glimpse into a particular career, nudge you in a direction or help you steer clear of certain vocations.  Another thing to remember is that college admission officers take your work experiences into consideration regardless of whether it is flipping burgers or filing law reports. Other ways to make the most of your summer vacation is to “test drive” careers you find interesting by working or volunteering in that particular career. A first stop should be your high school guidance office to learn more about available internship opportunities. Remember, college for many is a short four year “gig” but you will be working for decades. So discovering a career that is both interesting and challenging to you will help create a more satisfying, rewarding and happier life. Combining work with academic pursuits may help you discover new and interesting parts of yourself.  Many colleges and universities have programs for high school students in a variety of academic areas such as engineering, writing, science or the fine arts. It is a great way for a student to discover if a school is a good fit by attending a summer program and living on campus.  Living in a dorm inBoston,New YorkCity orWashington,DCcan help you decide whether spending four years at an urban university is the right...
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38 Minutes

38 Minutes is about the time it takes to complete a yoga dvd to practice the cello to prepare a pasta dinner to give the dog a really good walk to write a good blog post And (according to Counseling and College Counseling In America’s High Schools by Professor Patricia M. McDonough UCLA Department of EducationUniversity of California,  January 2005 ) 38 minutes is about the average amount of time that high school students meet with their guidance counselors to discuss the college selection process.  Yes, you read that correctly, 38 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, there are many dedicated, smart, and knowledgeable high school guidance counselors all over the United States.  But they are trying to hold back the tide. According to the most recent statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics Study: High School Guidance Counseling, the average ratio of students to guidance counselors in the United States is 315 students per 1 guidance counselor.   These are already impossible ratios.  With the challenging fiscal realities school districts are currently facing, these ratios are not going to get any better.  In fact, they will probably get worse. A public education at a SUNY (State University of New York) 4-year institution can cost more than $80,000 for four years and a private education can cost more than $200,000 for four years.  Families should invest more time exploring higher education and professional options than they do watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy each week. By spending time, effort, and some money, you and your student will have an action plan which considers academic, professional, and affordability goals.  We encourage students and families to spend time upfront during the exploration phase of the college selection process so that they are focused on where to apply and poised to make great decisions about where to...
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