Join Kaplan and your fellow school counselors from around the country in a live, online webinar featuring a panel of college admissions officers as we discuss the impact of social media on the college admissions process, as well as how to help students manage their digital footprint.
Moderated by Seppy Basili, Vice President and General Manager of Kaplan K12 Learning Services, our panelists include:
- JON BURDICK – Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, University of Rochester
- BRIDGET ANN NECONIE – Admission and Recruitment Specialist, UC – Berkeley
- RICK CLARK – Director of Admission, Georgia Tech
- BOB McCULLOUGH – Director of Undergraduate Admission, Case Western
December 4th, 2013 – 12:00pm to 1:00pm ET
Can’t make the date? Pre-register now to receive the full session recording on December 9th, 2013.
Visit kaptest.com/collegepanel to sign up today!
Why take two practice tests, when one will do the job? If you’re debating which test to prep for next spring, join students from around the country this Saturday, November 16th to take Kaplan’s SAT/ACT Combo Test. Students will be able to attend events on site or live online. This one-day only event will help you determine which test you’re better at so you can start to prep with confidence.
To register for Kaplan’s free national practice event or for more information, please call 1-800-KAPT-TEST or visit kaptest.com/choose.
Talking with parents and students over the span of nearly a decade at Kaplan, one of the most common conversations I have had centers around the SAT and the ACT. There are many questions surrounding the tests and many of these questions are based on what students and parents have heard from others as they navigate the college admissions process. I’ve listed a few topics here, to help verify some as facts, but mostly to “demystify” the SAT and ACT.
1. The SAT is more widely accepted than the ACT.
False! This is one of the most popular and long standing myths. The SAT and the ACT are both widely accepted. In fact, nearly every college in the United States accepts both and has for many years. There is no preference amongst colleges for one particular test. Students should take the test they will score the best on!
2. The ACT is easier than the SAT.
False! The ACT is a different test, not easier than the SAT. Some students perform better on the SAT and some better on the ACT, and there are some students that get similar scores on both. The important thing to keep in mind is that both tests are standardized and both test reasoning skills.
3. The ACT is a shorter test.
True! The ACT is shorter than the SAT – but not by much. Including breaks, the SAT is 3 hours and 45 minutes while the ACT is 3 hours and 25 minutes (including the optional essay). However, this should not be the main factor in deciding to take the ACT over the SAT! Both tests are marathons and you should prepare for the test that you will do better on.
4. You should only take the ACT if you are good at science.
False! This is definitely a myth! The ACT does have a Science Section that tests critical reasoning skills, but you don’t have to be a science whiz to do well on it.
5. Since the ACT essay is optional, you don’t need to take it.
That depends! While the ACT essay is optional, we encourage students to take the ACT with Writing. Before making your decision, you should check the requirements of the colleges you are applying to. Many colleges either require or recommend that applicants take the ACT with Writing and if that’s the case, you definitely want to take the ACT with writing! Even if you are not quite sure which colleges you may be applying to, it’s best to take the ACT with writing, in case it is required or recommended by any of the schools you do end up applying to, especially since you cannot take the Writing section test by itself.
How can you avoid getting caught up in these myths? More importantly, how can you decide which test is best for you?
Take a practice test!
On November 16th Kaplan Test Prep will holds its free National Practice Day at locations around the country as well as live online. Students will have the opportunity to take a practice test that combines both SAT and ACT questions –this practice test is a great tool for you to determine which test is best for you, plus, it is a great sneak peek at both exams!
To register for Kaplan’s free national practice event or for more information, please call 1-800-KAPTEST or visit www.kaptest.com/choose
One misconception (among many!) that SAT test takers have is that the SAT is more widely accepted by colleges than the ACT. In an October 2013 Kaplan Test Prep survey of over 250 SAT test takers, 39% listed that as the main reason they took the SAT instead of the ACT.
The reality?: Nearly every college in the United States accepts both and has for many years. While their level of acceptance at colleges is the same, there are real content differences between the exams, including:
- Length: The SAT is 3 hours, 45 minutes; the ACT is 3 hours and 25 minutes (including the optional Writing section, which Kaplan encourages students to take.)
- Sections: The SAT includes a Critical Reading, Math and Writing section; the ACT includes an English, Reading, Math and Science section.
- Scoring: The SAT is scored on a 600-2400 scale; the ACT is scored on a 1-36 scale. On the SAT, ¼ point is subtracted from your raw score for each wrong answer (except for Math Grid-Ins); on the ACT, there is no penalty for wrong answers.
So….which test should you take?
To demystify it all, Kaplan Test Prep will holds its free National Practice Day on Saturday, November 16th at locations around the country as well as live online. Students will have the opportunity to take a practice test that combines both SAT and ACT questions –this practice test is a great tool for you to determine which test is best for you! It can help you determine your test-taking strengths and weaknesses in a simulated testing environment and it is a great sneak peek at both exams!
Here’s how it works: Students who attend the event on site will take a combo SAT and ACT test, featuring realistic practice questions, which will help familiarize them with the content. Students who attend a live online practice event will take both tests.
In addition to the free practice, you will receive a personalized detailed performance analysis which includes scores for both tests! This will give you an idea of which test you may do better on and ultimately which one to prep for and take – though many students decide to sit for both exams. Additionally, Kaplan experts will provide attendees with an overview of the exams and their important roles in the admissions process.
To register for Kaplan’s free national practice event or for more information, please call 1-800-KAPTEST or visit www.kaptest.com/choose.
Currently, almost every college in the United States accepts either the SAT or ACT. But, if the school you are applying to accepts both, how do you decide which test to take!? Here are five factors to consider when deciding between the two tests:
1) Which test will I do better on?
Ummm . . . yeah! You definitely want to take the one you’ll do better on! But if you haven’t taken them yet, how do you know? Here’s the answer: take a FREE practice SAT or ACT with Kaplan! You can find all the info by clicking here! After you take the free practice test, an experienced, Kaplan test expert will review your test scores with you to help you make your decision on which test you should take.
2) Do I like to write?
On the SAT, the essay is required and factored into your Writing section score. However, on the ACT, the writing section is optional. You take the ACT writing section only if required by the college(s) you’re applying to and it is not included into your composite score – score will be listed separately.
Even with the optional writing section, the ACT is still 20 minutes shorter than the SAT. The ACT with writing lasts 3 hours and 25 minutes. The SAT lasts 3 hours and 45 minutes.
4) Trig and Science?
Other than the misconception that many schools do not accept the ACT, Trig and Science are the biggest reasons why students stay away from this test. But, this is NOT a reason to avoid the ACT! Yes, the Math content on the SAT is slightly less advanced—it tests through Algebra II—, while the Math content on the ACT is slightly more advanced—it includes 4 Trigonometry problems out of a total of 60 math problems. These Trig problems are pretty basic. Remember SOHCAHTOA? That’s pretty much all you need to know! And, the “Science” section isn’t really Science. Rather, it would be better defined as a scientific version of the Reading Comprehension section. You shouldn’t be afraid of this section. The answers are in the passages!
5) Content or Critical Thinking?
Yes, it’s true. The ACT is slightly harder on content and the SAT is slightly harder on critical thinking. You will have to review more content when prepping for the ACT covering topics that the SAT does not cover. However, on the SAT, the questions are less straightforward offering the opportunity (or the pitfall depending on how you look at it) for more advanced critical thinking. What type of student are you?
Hopefully, I’ve helped you make the decision between the SAT and the ACT. If you’re still debating, Kaplan is offering an ACT/SAT Combo Test on November 16th, 2013 to help you determine which test you’re better at. To sign up for an event near you, please visit kaptest.com/choose.
Below is our October installment of our monthly series on this blog in which we bring you the latest, most interesting news about the college admissions process from media outlets across the country. With our round-up, you’ll stay in the know. Here’s what’s going on:
College admissions sabotage. That’s what is being alleged at an elite high school in New York City. A student actually reached out to several colleges where a rival had applied to in order to smear that applicant’s name. It’s an amazing story that is still unfolding. Hopefully this is just an isolated, extreme incident. (CNN)
And speaking of what not to do, here are seven of the biggest college admissions scandals in recent years. Do NOT try this at home. It’s important to note that the vast, vast majority of applicants, parents, and colleges play by the rules. (TIME)
There have been a few major technical snafus on the Common Application this season, which has made the process more than a little stressful for many students. But the good news is that it appears some of those glitches are being fixed. And some colleges have extended their early admissions deadlines because of it. (USA Today)
Our advice to students: Think first, tweet/post later. Kaplan Test Prep’s 2013 survey of college admissions officers finds that about 30% of college admissions officers have Googled an applicant or looked them up on Facebook to learn more about them – a small increase from Kaplan’s 2012 survey and a big increase from what it was when Kaplan first asked this a few years ago. Also: 30% told us that what they found online negatively impacted an applicant. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Most students and their families cannot think about going to college without thinking about how to pay for it. And if you plan to study far from home, it’s not just about tuition and fees. It’s also about housing. These schools offer relatively low room and board fees. (U.S. News & World Report)
Congrats to the Juniors who took the PSAT this week! You are officially on your road to college. With the PSAT now over, you’re probably starting to think about how you can prep for the ACT or SAT. Kaplan has some great, FREE resources you should take advantage of now, one of which is the TurboTest.
The SAT TurboTest and ACT TurboTest serve as diagnostic tests that will help you know where you stand relative to your target schools’ score ranges. They also take up less than half the time of the real SAT and ACT.
With the SAT TurboTest, you’ll:
- Get a prediction of your full SAT score in under 90 minutes
- Review your score by section—Math, Critical Reading, and Writing— to guide your studies as you prep for the official SAT
With the ACT TurboTest, you’ll:
- Get a prediction of your full ACT score in under 90 minutes
- Review your score by section—English, Math, Reading, and Science—to guide your studies as you prep for the official ACT
Taking a practice test and understanding your score is one of the best ways to start raising your ACT or SAT scores. To take your test today, go to: kaptest.com/turbotest and kaptest.com/actturbotest.
The PSAT/NMSQT® may not seem that important compared to the SAT® or ACT®, but taking this exam, and doing well, has significant benefits! Taking the PSAT your junior year, gives you the opportunity to qualify for several scholarships, particularly the:
- National Merit Scholarship Program, open to all PSAT-takers
- National Achievement Scholarship program for Black American high school students
- National Hispanic Recognition Program, which recognizes outstanding Hispanic/Latino students
According to the College Board, on average students who take the PSAT/NMSQT score 146 points higher on the SAT than those who don’t. That’s a big difference!
With the PSAT a week away, you might be in panic mood trying to prepare as much as you can. We at Kaplan can help you! This weekend we are offering FREE Cram Sessions™ for the PSAT, which will review all the important tools you’ll need on Test Day. Our Cram Sessions offer intensive, 90-minute online classes taught by top Kaplan instructors on the most important material to boost your PSAT score.
These are great sessions for students who need just a little more prep, or for those who want a refresher before the test. You will learn:
- 10 of Kaplan’s top score-raising strategies
- Tips for time management during the test
- Recommended study plan every day until Test Day
To sign up for the PSAT Math or PSAT Critical Reading Cram Sessions, please visit kaptest.com/cram. Good luck on the test!
With the beginning of the school year, comes the beginning of the college application process. If you’ve already started the process, then you are very familiar with the Common App. If you haven’t yet, then the Common App will become your best friend soon enough. Understanding the Common App and what part it can play in your college application process is crucial.
Therefore, we’ve outlines 3 tips you can use on the road to filling out the Common App!
Tip #1 - Understand the Importance of the Common App
The Common Application is the undergraduate college admissions application that can be submitted to more than 500 colleges and universities. It is an online application and covers several areas:
- personal data
- educational data
- standardized test information
- family information
- academic honors
- extracurricular activities
- work experience
- a personal essay
If you are applying to multiple colleges, the Common App serves as a great tool as it can keep all your college forms saved in one spot and keep you organized. It’s also a huge time saver as the same application and essay can be sent out to all colleges that use the Common App.
Tip #2 – Prepare Early
The personal essay section is one of the most important parts of the Common Application and deserves the most attention. It’s the place where you can show off your writing skills and give admissions officers a glance at the type of student you are.
Do not rush through your personal essay! Take your time writing it and have your friends, family, or teachers read and critique it.
Tip # 3 – Know the Deadlines
Make sure you are aware of all the application deadlines for the colleges you are applying to. Many colleges also require a “Common App Supplement” which asks additional questions. Give yourself enough time to have all your materials done in advance.
To begin your application, go to the Common App website!
Today we’re introducing a new monthly series on this blog in which we’ll bring you the latest, relevant news about the college admissions process from media outlets across the country. With our round-up, you’ll stay in the know. Here’s what’s going on:
There has been a big change to an important part of the common application – the personal statement. Learn about what it means for aspiring college students. (The Wall Street Journal)
The college application can be full of pitfalls. Make sure not to make these seven mistakes. Hint: Caution becomes you! (Moneywatch.com)
LinkedIn recently announced plans that it will be opening up its career-networking site to teenagers. It’s creating an interface for prospective students to communicate with colleges and universities. Lots of potential here – both good and bad. (The Week)…And read more about this issue in this Teen Ink article.
Indicative of a larger trend, several faith-based dorms are opening on campuses, and not just private ones. (Inside Higher Ed)
Dining in and capitalizing on student discounts can help undergrads save money. (U.S. News & World Report)
Last month, the makers of the ACT released their annual scores report for the Class of 2013. Find out how ready for college they are. Spoiler alert: there’s room for improvement. (Associated Press)
There are lots of ways to earn money for college. This Colorado State University student got a full ride for making a basketball shot from half court. Watch the amazing video. (The Coloradoan)