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Greetings Students and Families

HERE’S SOME REALLY GREAT NEWS– !

College Admissions SUPER SCORING  AND SCORE CHOICE

Many colleges “superscore” which means that your application is evaluated on a composite score based on the best sub-scores across different test dates. This list can be found here:

Super Scoring and Score Choice options should relieve some of the stress over your SAT/ACT scores.

If you don’t see a university on the list, the second way to absolutely confirm is to explore the admissions tab and application requirements at a specific university by locating (use Google – much faster than the navigational challenges of most college websites) college admissions testing requirements.

Even if a college isn’t on the superscore list- your college admissions officer is human- and all the scores displaying in your application are taken into full consideration. No university has a “cutoff” that eliminates you from receiving an acceptance letter. College admissions is truly holistic–

Common App 2021-22 – LET’S TALK ABOUT SAT SCORE CHOICE -!

As part of your college application process, you’ll be submitting your test scores. It’s not as uncomplicated as it sounds-but the reality, different universities have unique policies on which test scores are required and how these are to be reviewed as part of your college application.
The Basics
Score Choice is a policy offered through the CollegeBoard that allows the student to determine which scores to share with colleges and which scores to exclude when reporting actual test scores as part of your college application. The ACT has a similar option for sending your scores. In fact ACT superscores for you. This is an awesome opportunity to highlight the best SAT/ACT scores and omit any disappointing or “practice” tests you have taken (or for that matter- scores earned when you weren’t at your best- perhaps a day of – allergies?)
That said, while the College Board allows a student to select scores, not all universities adhere to a Score Choice policy. Moreover, and unknown to most families is that your high school transcript may already have included all your test scores. The College Board and ACT do report your scores to your high school. Your high school very likely has these scores reported on your official high school transcript.
Private high schools have a wide range of policies to honor and support students’ requests to remove disappointing test scores from their official high school transcript. Public high schools typically are responsive to family requests to exclude the exam scores from your transcript- but sometimes this takes a bit of little work to get through the well-intentioned red-tape.

College Applications – WHY USE SCORE CHOICE?

As part of your test preparation, your tutor and you may have decided to experiment – test the waters. You may have sat for a baseline exam prior to beginning serious test preparation and the scores earned simply aren’t an accurate reflection of your abilities. Or maybe, you were sick the day of the exam and didn’t realize that you could skip the exam and the test fee (less a change date) could be applied to another testing date. Score choice is truly an invaluable option for test takers who experienced a huge improvement with more serious test preparation.
If the colleges you’re applying to participate in Score Choice- by all means be careful about choices of scores.
There’s a section of the Common App that asks whether you’ve taken any exams and have any scores to report. Here you will list test dates. So should you “omit” a date from the question if you don’t plan to report all your actual scores officially? This is a conversation to have with your college advisor. There is a final question on the Common App— one you must agree to before you press the submit button– this question is an ‘honesty’- attestation-indicating you’ve answered all questions truthfully. So please make sure that your responses align and don’t try to deceive anyone. You must answer the Common App question about test dates- but you don’t have to share those scores. That’s why Score Choice exists.
That said, not all of your colleges will participate and many require you to submit ALL YOUR TEST SCORES. .
Here’s a sample of colleges that DO NOT allow for score choice. These colleges require that you submit all your test scores in years where the Test Optional policies of our current pandemic are robust..
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Clarkson University
  • Coker College
  • College of Charleston
  • College of St. Benedict
  • Duquesne University
  • East Georgia State College
  • Elon University
  • Georgetown University
  • Gonzaga University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Loyola University, New Orleans
  • Ohio Wesleyan University
  • Seattle University
  • Shorter University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of South Carolina
  • Yale University
It’s really important to stay up-to-date and check college admissions websites for the specific requirements on reporting tests scores, and the dates by which scores are to be received.

College Admissions- AP Curriculum & Exams !!

Each spring a few weeks before AP exams begin, I provide updated helpful links and reminders about AP exam rubrics and preparation. If you’re a student taking an AP course this year, please touch base with me ASAP on some proactive ways to learn and reinforce materials throughout the academic year- avoiding the need to cram during April preparing for May. Success on AP exams is more likely when you know yourself — meaning, you have solid learning and time management practices developed throughout high school to foster a love of learning and resulting in academic success. ASK ME! Let’s have a conversation about your approach to learning.
Regular readers of my blogs and newsletters know that I encourage every high school student to aim to find an appropriate and healthy balance between your academic and personal demands to avoid overextending and unnecessary (family) stress. High school should be joyful! Students take the lead in exploration of their own best practices on learning, time management and personal discover.
Should high students enroll in AP classes? Why? Which AP courses should students complete?
What’s the role of AP classes in undergraduate academic success?
If possible, absolutely take at least 1 to 3 courses during high school! The AP curriculum offers the most challenging courses available during high school and will prepare students for the reality of the demands of the undergraduate academic experience ahead.
The Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum provides high school students an option to explore college-level classes across a variety of subjects including Science, History & Social Studies, Math & Computer Science, English, Foreign Language, Art and Music. Students have the opportunity to earn college credit through a placement exam given during a two-week exam period in May
For a complete list of the 38 available AP course and their descriptions CLICK HERE for AP COURSES.
The content of exams is taught in either a full academic year or a semester (i.e. AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics, AP Physics C – Mechanics). The actual course content is uniform for all test takers throughout the US and exams are scheduled during the first two weeks of May. Sadly, what’s inconsistent is the level of instruction – some high schools do a phenomenal job at instruction (even in the movies too).
Not all AP Courses are offered in every high school. If there’s an exam that fits your longer-term academic interests that’s unavailable at your high school, there are many online and privately available sources of instruction for AP courses. Students can also engage in independent study and sit for an AP exam regardless of whether the course is offered at your high school or completed in any formal setting.
As a new academic year is upon us students and parents are focused on confirming or questioning course selections and there is quite a bit of uncertainty about the value of “Academies”, AP classes, AICE vs. IB diplomas and whether “Dual-Enrollment” classes are appropriate.
Beyond the high school graduation requirements in your state (20 to 24 credits), the classes you select serve some important roles:
  • Courses, and in particular-your electives- can help each student explore, develop and deepen an academic interest.
  • Core/required and elective courses allow students to better prepare for subsequent academic success. Sequencing is important as are appropriate challenges. For example, a foundation in math is essential for STEM fields and AP art can develop core skills and expand a portfolio.
  • The high school transcript reveals a student’s ability to succeed as a undergraduate and has a direct impact on the likelihood of college admission. Avoid following the crowd! Admissions officers want to see that students engaged in self-discovery and one aspect of that process is completing the most challenging set of relevant coursework a student can comfortably manage.
Despite the best of intentions and the best time management, enrolling in too many AP classes can create hours of homework thus limiting time available for meaningful extracurricular activities (which are also essential for admissions success), needed sleep and family harmony (parent-child dynamics suffer when students are stressed and unnecessary homework completion “arguments” ensue).
For example, if your student is STEM focused, there is little admissions advantage gained from taking AP History classes which have exceptionally large homework demands.

STEM COLLEGE ADMISSIONS TIP:

Again, admissions representatives aren’t impressed by APUSH on a STEM applicant’s high school transcript. The flip side, humanities driven students might consider the importance of “big data”! All disciplines are now moving to analytics. So, while AP Physics isn’t necessarily your cup of tea, if you’re a pre-law, business or even an aspiring English major, consider AP Statistics, AP Psychology or AP Computer Science adding breadth to your file setting you apart from the typical humanities applicant. Don’t follow the crowd- but focus on creating your unique high school curriculum plan that’s relevant to your educational aspirations, college admissions and career objectives. Leverage my extensive knowledge of academic disciplines and explore some unusual major areas of study (increasing your odds of admission and making you a stronger student).
PRE-MED– Please don’t leave high school without AP Biology– it’s one of the foundational courses you’ll take for the subsequent set of required science classes for medical school.

STEM COLLEGE APPLICATIONS-

You’ll be expected to Advocate and Detail Your Interest in Your Intended Major. When it comes to STEM college essays- this response takes on a particular importance.
What is the problem you want to address as an electrical engineering, bio-chemistry or astro-physics major? Absent hands-on experiences and solid research- you won’t be as clear in your application as the applicant who has been in a research or shadowing or internship setting. I work with my students to understand the difference between biology, computational biology and biomedical engineer – or applied math, mathematics, or computational finance. When you know what you’re talking about it shows. Please don’t tell an admissions representative you want to be an engineer because you have been playing with legos since you were a little girl! Yikes!  Yeah- that’s the 6 year old verson of yourself- we want to know who is the 16-year old version that has a well-defined and informed interest in a major.
STEM College Applications are competitive! The earlier you begin engaging to create your STEM Educational and College Admissions Plan – by taking the right courses, engaging in relevant activities and working with others, you’ll increase your chances of admission to your top-choice colleges. For more information on how I can help guide you through the college prep and admissions process,
My STEM students include aspiring Engineers, Business, Pre-Med, Pre-Law, Visual & Performing Arts & Humanities majors with a STEM “twist” – Ask me about multi-disciplinary STEM majors!
Wrapping Up…..
While a student’s GPA and transcript are a significant determinant of admissions and academic success, there are as many as five to seven qualified applicants for every available space in the freshman class. As a former admissions committee member and Cornell alumni interviewer, I can assure you that admission committees seek to create a freshman class that is diverse in intended majors, geographic origin and personal interests.

 

SENIORS (2022)- ARE YOU READY FOR COLLEGE APPLICATION SEASON AND WRITING YOUR COLLEGE ESSAYS?

My students include aspiring STEM, Business, Pre-Med, Pre-Law, Visual & Performing Arts & Humanities majors. I provide college counseling in-person in Boca Raton, Florida, Boulder Colorado and online throughout the US – working with students across all academic levels. Whether your dream college includes your state public flagship including the University of Florida or the University of Michigan , or you’re aiming for an Ivy League or a small liberal arts college, every student should have a college plan aiming towards universities that are the “right fit” for you.  Learn more and schedule your  Educational and College Admissions Planning Assessment– Build your COLLEGE PLAN TODAY!

Learn More:  COLLEGE BEST “FIT” ?– WHAT FACTORS TO CONSIDER?

RECENT COLLEGE ACCEPTANCES

Congratulations to our clients!   Are you next?!

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Professor Emeritus
Cornell University Alumni Rep.
Educational & College Admissions Consultant

30+ Years Experience

College Admissions Assistance & Academic Advising
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561.509.0021  or  833-MY-ESSAY