I just returned from a trip to the Pacific Northwest, touring 9 colleges in 5 days. I was able to visit Seattle University, the University of Puget Sound, Evergreen State College, Pacific University,Willamette, Lewis and Clark, Whitman College, Gonzaga University and the University of Washington. It was great to compare the different schools and the many offerings this region of the country has to offer from the 1,600 student Whitman to the public college that acts like a private liberal arts college in Evergreen. Spending time in the snow and rain also makes you realize how important an active student body can be.
As schools begin to send out aid letters, it is important that you are aware as to the different ways aid can be distributed. The best thing to find within your aid is monies in the form of scholarships and grants. These items do not need to be repaid and truly bring down the cost of attendance. Schools will often offer loans as a part of the aid package, but do not be enticed by PLUS loans or unsubsidized Stafford loans as you could get these anywhere. You should be looking for loans such as the Perkins loan which provide you with a lower rate than you would normally be eligible for. Finally, make sure everything is included in the cost of attendance. What about housing, food, etc.? While your decision should not be made by finances alone, you do not want to overextend yourself and dip into home equity or take out risky loans to pay for college.
As more and more colleges struggle with students who do not meet entry level requirements for Math and English, they have initiated placement and entry tests to determine student readiness for curriculum offered at the college level. The UC uses the AWPE, or Analytical Writing Placement Exam.
You are considered exempt if you score:
30 or better on the ACT Combined English/Writing test; or 680 or better on the College Board SAT Reasoning Test, Writing section; or 3 or above on either Advanced Placement Examination in English; or 5 or above on an International Baccalaureate High Level English A exam 6 or above on an International Baccalaureate Standard Level English A exam.
The requirement can also be met by earning a grade of C or higher in an acceptable English composition course offered by a college or university. If not, the test is offered in May (Saturday, May 12th 2012).
For the CSU system, English Placement Test exemptions are granted for:
\A score of 500 or above on the critical reading section of the College Board SAT Reasoning Test
A score of 22 or above on the American College Testing (ACT) English Test
A score of 3 or above on either the Language and Composition or Composition and Literature examination of the College Board Scholastic Advanced Placement Program Completion and transfer to CSU of the credits for a college course that satisfies the CSU General Education requirement in English Composition, provided such a course was completed with a grade of C or better
A score of “Exempt” or “Ready for college-level English courses” on the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP) taken along with the English Language Arts California Standard Test in grade 11
For the CSU ELM (Entry Level Mathematics) Exemptions are granted for:A score of 550 or above on the mathematics section of the College Board SAT Reasoning Test
A score of 550 or above on a College Board SAT Subject Test in Mathematics (level 1 or level 2)
A score of 23 or above on the American College Testing (ACT) Mathematics Test
A score of 3 or above on the College Board Advanced Placement Calculus AB or Calculus BC
A score of 3 or above on the College Board Advanced Placement Statistics examination Completion and transfer to CSU of a college course that satisfies the requirement in Quantitative Reasoning, provided such a course was completed with a grade of C or better
A score of “Exempt” or “Ready for college-level Mathematics courses” on the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP), taken in grade 11 in conjunction with the CST in Summative High School Mathematics or Algebra II
A score of “Conditionally ready for college-level Mathematics courses” or “Conditional” on the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP) taken in grade 11 along with the California Standards Test in Summative High School Mathematics or Algebra II, provided successful completion of a CSU-approved 12th grade math course that require Algebra II as a prerequisite.
While college may seem a far way off, now is the best time to begin planning in earnest. Here are a few things you can do to get a jump start on the application process next year.
Plan Your Summer
The summer before your senior year can be used for many things, including: Visiting campuses; Participating in camps and institutes; Getting a part-time job; Interning at a local business; or just getting some much needed rest. The most important thing is to find balance.
Draft Your Essays
Go ahead and look-up some essay prompts and begin drafting an essay or two. While some topics change, just practicing the type of introspective writing required during the application process will take some of the pressure off once the time comes to sit down at the computer for real.
Plan Your Test Calendar
Find out what tests are necessary and write down both the registration and test dates on your calendar. Make sure you don't wait until the last minute and take some time to prepare.
Continue to Refine Your List
Make sure you take some time to review your college list and continue to whittle down your list as you should know what you are looking for going into that senior year.
Grades still rank as the leading factor in college admissions. Bring up your grades and make sure that your Junior Year
This is hopefully the first post of many. Through the blog, I will be able to include new information relevant to the college preparation process.
Spring is the best time to test for both the ACT and SAT. I typically recommend that students take both the SAT and ACT. As many students will also take the SAT Subject tests, this may mean 3 tests within a short period of time. As such, it is important to
register for the May SAT (Regular), June ACT plus Writing and June SAT Subject Test. I only recommend the subject test to be taken immediately following an applicable course, such as Chemistry in the Junior Year. However, the Math II subject test can be taken in the Fall of the Senior Year, which will allow the student more time to prepare. This year’s reaming SAT dates are: May 5th and June 2nd. The remaining ACT dates are April 14th and June 9th.
You can find our more information by visiting www.collegeboard.orgor www.actstudent.org. If you need help with planning your test taking calendar, contact me for more information.