Spring break is right around the corner, so how will you be spending your time off? It’s wonderful to sleep in and forget about school for a bit, but it’s also a great time to consider your future. I’m not talking about your zombie apocalypse survival plan, although thinking about that is interesting. Rather, take a couple hours out of the week to consider your collegiate path.
Where will you be next year, or in 2015?
Seniors – now is the time to decide. You may still be waiting on a few more offers, but ultimately the choice is yours. Talk with your family, your friends, or a school counselor on your options, but also take time to review on your own where you’d like to spend the next four years of your life.
Juniors – if you’re taking the SAT or ACT soon, you may be spending time prepping for the exams. However, this is also a great week to get out and visit some colleges on your list. If you haven’t made that list – start drafting it now. Everything you do over the next 9 months will drive towards what you present on your college applications. Creating a list can help you gain a sense of who your top choice schools are and what next steps you should be taking to insure you get on their radar.
Sophomores – while applying to college is still further down the road for you, taking your first college admissions test is closer than you think. Next fall you’ll sit down to tackle the PSAT. Take time now to review the test and understand the benefits of scoring well on it. Not only do PSAT scores indicate how you might perform on the SAT, they also can lead to fantastic scholarship opportunities. It literally can pay to do well on this test.
Freshmen – get involved! If your resume is light, take this week to consider what you enjoy doing and are passionate about. Whether it’s a community outreach program, a dance class, or an after school robotics club, look into what activities are around you. Challenge yourself to go outside your comfort zone. You never know where it could take you, or who’ll you meet in the process.
Once you’ve set time aside to consider your future, you’ll be able to kick-back and enjoy a carefree spring break. Who knows, maybe you’ll now have time to consider that survival plan…
Taking an AP class? If so, you’ve probably already looked into registering for the AP exams this May. But how are you prepping for the exams? Its one thing to discuss the Reconstruction era in your AP U.S. History class, and it’s another to take the actual exam.
That’s why Kaplan is offering free AP digital flashcards for Human Geography, U.S. History and World History to all students who sign up through April 30, 2013. Click here to get started.
AP classes are great at boosting your college resume, as they signal to college admissions officers that you are willing and able to handle the rigors of a collegiate course. If you’re in an AP class now – prep for the exam. You’ll increase your chances of scoring that elusive 5, and get a better sense of how the test will be presented. If you haven’t registered yet, be sure to contact your AP Coordinator no later than this Friday, March 15.
To learn more about Kaplan’s full line of AP prep options, go to kaptest.com/ap.
The College Board, which administers the SAT and PSAT/NMSQT, announced this week that it is revising the SAT. “What?!” – you may be thinking. Good news: the test change will not affect those currently prepping for the SAT, and most likely, will not affect preppers in 2014 either. Your little brother or sister on the other hand may see a whole new test.
The College Board has not released a date for the test change, nor shared much about what will be changed. However, David Coleman, the new head of the College Board as of October 2012, has stated that he would like to add source material for students to analyze in the SAT writing section but this has not yet been confirmed.
If you or a sibling are interested in following news surrounding the SAT test change, Kaplan has set up a new online SAT Test Change Resource Center, kaptest.com/satchange, where we will be sharing up-to-date developments on the SAT test changes and what they mean for students.
As the test prep industry leader for 75 years, Kaplan Test Prep has seen and helped students through decades of test changes. We are paying very close attention to all of the developments around the SAT change, and — as with every test change — we are committed to helping students understand what the changes will mean for them.
Feel free to email us your questions at SATChange@kaplan.com
Grades in college prep courses, such as Advanced Placement, are cited as the most important factor in the college admissions process by college admissions counselors.* Here are a few other facts to review regarding AP Exams:
- Over 2 million unique students took an AP Exam last year; the majority are female
- 3.7 million AP Exams completed in 2012
- Growth of 6% year-over-year from 2011 to 2012
While the majority of test takers were listed as seniors in high school, juniors follow at a close second. With over 2,200 colleges accepting credit for the top ten most popular AP Exams, it’s no surprise that more and more students are signing up for the tests.
Top Ten Most Popular AP Exams in 2012:
- English Language & Composition
- U.S. History
- English Literature & Composition
- Calculus AB
- U.S. Government & Politics
- World History
Kaplan offers a wide range of test prep options for AP Exams. Whether students need one-on-one support, a live online setting, test prep books, or flashcards on the go – Kaplan has them covered. Click here to learn more.
It’s a new year, which means FAFSA applications have just opened up. You may be wondering what FAFSA is, or how to apply. Understanding FAFSA and what part it can play in your college career is crucial.
Knowing that, we’ve outlined 3 tips you can use on the road to conquering FAFSA!
Tip # 1 – Understand the importance of FAFSA
FAFSA, or “Free Application for Federal Student Aid,” is an online form submitted for U.S. government college aid. They include:
- Pell Grants
- Federal Supplemental Grants (FSEOG)
- National SMART Grants
- TEACH Grants
By applying, not only will you become eligible for government college aid, but you will also become eligible for thousands of other non-federal grants and scholarships.
Tip # 2 – Apply early
It still takes a full month to prepare, and FAFSA operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. The sooner you apply, the more money will be available to you.
But be careful! Filling out the FAFSA incorrectly can negatively impact a student’s financial aid package (or the summary of your financial aid amount).
Tip # 3 – Don’t believe the myths, get the facts
There are a lot of myths out there, but one of the biggest is that only students from low-income families qualify for financial aid – not true! Or that applying for FAFSA is just too complicated.
There is no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid. Plus, FAFSA has never been easier to file. Read more myth-debunkers at studentaid.gov/resources
For more tips on applying for the FAFSA, check out StudentAdvisor’s “Free FAFSA Guide.”
To begin applying, simply go to the FAFSA website and sign up!
It may seem far away, but one year from now you’ll most likely have finished applying to college. All of the preparation to take tests, build your resume, finalize college essays, and receive letters of recommendations will be done.
So let’s start planning that journey now. Here are 5 tips to get you ready for college applications:
- Finish your Junior year strong academically:
Grades are a top factor at many universities. Remember, the transcript you send next fall will only include your grades through the first semester of your senior year. Getting good grades now will help you in the long term.
- Personalize your College List:
Make a list of colleges that interest you. List colleges you like that offer the Majors, Minors, class-size, scholarships, geographic location, clubs, and culture that you are most interested in.
- Prep and Plan for the SAT® & ACT®:
SAT and ACT scores are one of the top 3 factors for getting into college.* Start now with a diagnostic test such as our TurboTest so that you know where you stand relative to your target schools’ score ranges. Trust us – you’ll need more than a month to get ready.
- Draft Your College Essay:
More than anything, this tells an admissions officer who you are. Go beyond the brochure, website and info sessions when answering a “Why this college?” message. Do research and find out things that relate specifically to your goals.
- Complete FAFSA:
The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the application for U.S. government financial aid for college. Since most states, colleges and private sponsors of need-based scholarships want you to apply for federal financial aid first, the FAFSA also helps you become eligible for thousands of non-federal grants and scholarships.
For more helpful tips, check out our new blog – The SAT/ACT Insider.
Only through December 31st, 2012
This holiday season, give or get the gift of knowledge. Create a gift to use toward a Kaplan SAT®, ACT® or PSAT® prep course.
Help your child on the path to his or her dream college! With our new Friends & Family Gift Program, getting a gift voucher for a Kaplan courses is easy—just take a minute to choose the gift amount you’d like to receive, invite others to contribute on Facebook, then get your gift voucher to redeem for a prep course.
Set up your gift with 3 simple steps:
- Choose when you want to receive your gift voucher
- Select the gift amount you’d like to use toward a Kaplan course
- Invite friends and family on Facebook to contribute any amount they’d like toward your gift
This program is only available through December 31, 2012!
The cost of college can be greater than $100,000 over four years.
What is Merit-Based Aid?
Financial assistance awarded for a student’s achievements, such as in academics or athletics.
The Facts About Merit-Based Aid
- $11 billion is available in merit-based aid to help you pay for college.
- 90% of colleges offer merit-based aid.*
- The 2 greatest factors that determine merit-based aid are SAT® or ACT® scores and high school grades.*
For more information on merit-based aid visit cappex.com/kaplan.
What can you expect from the SAT?
What type of questions are on the ACT?
How is each test scored?
Find out with Kaplan’s free The Basics iBook series.
Each iBook provides you with:
- Overview of the exam including how to register and scoring
- Proven score-raising strategies
- A timed mini practice test
- Expert video tips and advice on each section
Download these FREE iBooks today for your iPad:
For more information on Kaplan’s free The Basics iBook series, click here.
The essay component of the college application process allows your child to share his or her voice directly with admissions officers. A great essay can add the final factor in why your child is accepted over other potential candidates. Check out StudentAdvisor.com’s 5 must-know-tips for helping students navigate past the pitfalls when writing their college application essays.
1. MISSING THE DEADLINE
Don’t drop the ball on the most basic piece of protocol. Have your child hit this easy mark by staying on top of application deadlines. It’s better to nag than to submit a less than stellar essay the night before the due date.
2. POOR SPELLING
This is the top pet peeve with admissions officers, and can signal that your child is a less than desirable candidate. Don’t rely on spell check alone; have several pairs of eyes review your child’s essay before sending it off.
3. BEING TOO INFORMAL
Text-speak and slang is a big turn-off to college officials. Your child’s essay will convey if he or she can write at the collegiate level. Too much informality can hinder their prospects.
Find the rest of the tips, and much more, in StudentAdvisor.com’s free online guide, Navigating College Admissions.