Friday, October 16, 2009

SAT Score Choice & Common App Solutions

It seems some media outlets jumped the gun in their report on the Common Application's solution to the dilemma of SAT Score Choice. Just a few weeks ago, publications indicated that the Common App's recommendation for students who are faced with creating just one application when some colleges ask for all SAT scores and others will allow applicants to pick and choose which to send was to "leave the scores section blank." In an update on their site today, the Common App now states that this isn't actually their recommendation...well, sort of.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Common App Ends Score Choice Confusion

Students have always been able to take the SAT as many times as they'd like in an effort to improve their scores. Until this year, the College Board sent scores from every single sitting to the colleges where students chose to apply. Then came Score Choice: Students can still take the test over and over, but now they can select which scores colleges will see. Sounds great, right?

Trouble is, some colleges aren't buying Score Choice. They still want to see the results for every attempt a student made at the SAT. Others are on board with Score Choice, and are perfectly happy with an applicant sending only his/her best scores. So when a student is filling out the Common Application and comes to the section on testing, what is she to do if some of the colleges she's applying to want all the scores, but others don't?

The answer: Nothing. Until a better solution can be reached, the Common Application has decided to allow students to skip the section where standardized testing is reported. Inside Higher Ed reported the following on October 1:

The Common Application has had to adopt a temporary policy to deal with the dispute over "score choice," the controversial rules change by the College Board that allows applicants to college to decide which of their SAT scores they want to report. The change allows students who take the test repeatedly to hide that fact, while the old policy would have required all scores to be reported. Some colleges are going along with the change, but others are insisting that all SAT scores be reported. While colleges'evaluate students based on official scores received from testing agencies, some application forms ask students to self-report, so admissions offices can have that information while awaiting the official scores. Parts of the Common Application allow applicants to send different information to different colleges, but the test score question is part of the completely shared application. The Common Application's board has adopted a policy for this year that allows applicants to skip the testing question -- without penalty -- so they can submit some scores to colleges that permit score choice and all scores to those that do not. Rob Killion, executive director of the Common Application, said that its board plans to spend time over the next year developing a long term solution.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Virtual Tours Cut College Visit Costs

With more bad news about the economy and cuts to financial aid popping up every day, it's no wonder the high school class of 2010 is cutting back on college visits this summer and fall. But just because you can't afford to visit a particular college doesn't mean you can't get a peek at what the campus, classrooms, dorms, and surrounding city or town are like...and you can do it without leaving your laptop.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What, MORE Waiting? Advice for Students in Wait List Hell

No one knows better than a high school senior that college admissions is a Waiting Game. You submit your applications, and you wait. You send your test scores, and you wait. You go on campus visits, and you wait. You muddle through sometimes nerve-wracking interviews...and you wait.

Then, some five to six months after the application hullabaloo is over, your calendar starts to glow with the dates your chosen colleges have promised to deliver admissions decisions. If you're like many nail-biting teens, you sit in front of your computer on those days of reckoning, just waiting (yes, more waiting) for the clock to tick to the exact moment when you can check your application status. Are you accepted? Denied? 

Wait a're wait-listed?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rejected: Making Plan B for Your College Education

Within in the next week or so, all colleges that don't use a rolling admissions process will have notified students of their application status for fall of 2009. For some, this will mean letters of acceptance, overwhelming relief, and giddy joy as they start planning the future at their dream colleges. Others, unfortunately, will receive letters of rejection, which bring with them deep disappointment, tough choices, and even panic.

Rejections hurts. Always. For high school seniors, most of whom have never had their lives and accomplishments subjected to such scrutiny, being turned down by a college (or colleges) can be downright devastating. Why wasn't I good enough? What should I have done differently? Why don't they want me?  

Sadly, these are questions that often can't be answered. And for the student whose college plans have been thrown into chaos and uncertainty by the receipt of a big fat "NO", it's not even worth it to consider the whys. Focus instead of moving forward and making the most of the opportunities you've got.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Paying for College: FAFSA Fundamentals

You've survived your college applications. You've filled in countless online forms, written and re-written enough essays and supplement essays to satisfy the Reflective Essay Gods for a lifetime, and managed to get your teacher recommendations in on time without being arrested for stalking or harassment. You're done! Now all you need to do is sit back and wait for those acceptance letters. Right?

Wrong! You've set your college dreams in motion, but now you need to figure out how to pay for them once they start to come true. Step 1: The FAFSA.