Your Checklist for Senior Year

Staying on top of the college process is key to your success. Here is a month by month listing of what you need to do. Please stay current and communicate with me.

AUGUST

❑ Start to fill out your Common App, Coalition App, or Specific College Apps. Make sure that I see your essays before they are added.

❑ Put your college list into Editate so you know what supplemental essays are required by colleges.

❑ Continue working on your activties list and essays.

❑ Can you include an arts/athletic supplement or resume with your application? Work on this.

❑ Finish summer assignments.

❑ If you haven’t done so already, choose which teachers you will ask to write recommendations.

❑ Look at the fall calendar — plan final campus visits/interviews.

❑ Prepare to retake the SAT or ACT if needed.

❑ Take a look at your social media and clean it up!

SEPTEMBER

❑ Check Naviance and sign up for college visits at your school.

❑ Decide if you will apply Early Decision or Early Action to your top choice school;

❑ Tell your counselor and recommenders when you need letters written by. They need at least three weeks’ notice.

❑ Request interviews at colleges that you are interested in, where available.

OCTOBER

❑ Attend local college fairs and college visits at your high school. Connect with the people who will be reading your application.

❑ Check Naviance to follow up with recommenders to make sure that they have written their letters.

❑ Fill out the FAFSA and CSS Profile if you qualify to receive financial aid. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is now available as is the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE (required by many private schools and a few flagship state universities).

❑ ED and EA candidates prepare to submit applications by the deadline, Nov. 1st or 15th!

❑ Take advantage of priority deadlines — get your application considered sooner and increase eligibility for merit aid.

❑ Use my tracking form to stay on top of what’s due when. Plan to submit applications before the due dates, preferably before winter vacation!

❑ Confirm that counselor and teacher recommendation letters have been uploaded into the Common Application and request transcripts be sent to the schools you’re applying to (there may be a small fee for each transcript).

❑ Decide which test scores (SAT, ACT) to send and order score reports.

❑ Follow up with colleges to make sure all application materials were received.

NOVEMBER

❑ Continue to “demonstrate interest” in schools — open emails from colleges, call the admission office to request an alumni interview, etc.

❑ Make sure all essays are approved by me before they are sent to colleges.

❑ Finalize your college list and finish all essays.

❑ Follow up with colleges to make sure all application materials were received.

DECEMBER

❑ Note financial aid application deadlines, which may differ from admission application deadlines.

❑ Proof any remaining applications one final time and “submit”!

❑ Let me know about any acceptance you receive.

JANUARY

❑ Make sure mid-year grade reports are sent to all schools you’ve applied to.

FEBRUARY

❑ Beware of Senioritis…stay on track academically!

❑ Begin planning for summer (work, travel, volunteering, etc.).

MARCH

❑ Decisions arrive in the mail and/or online by the end of the month, so get ready to handle and share “the news.”

❑ Celebrate!

APRIL

❑ Attend “admitted student” events on campus and compare/contrast other aspects of the schools where you were accepted (including financial aid awards).

❑ If you were wait listed, express interest to the school.

❑ Send a deposit by May 1st to accept a spot at the college of your choice!

❑ Continue to do your work in class so grades don’t “droop” too much.

❑ Start planning the graduation party!

MAY

❑ Thank teachers, counselors, and coaches who helped you apply to college.

❑ Open and respond promptly to communications from the college — information about housing, orientation, course registration, etc.

❑ Study for finals and AP exams — end the year strong.

❑ Solidify summer plans (work? travel? study? volunteer?).

❑ Connect with future classmates (and perhaps find a roommate) through the college’s official social media sites.

❑ Enjoy time with your friends and family and bask in the glow of your accomplishments at graduation!

ACT & SAT Test Dates and Registration

College consultants are seeing the more popular colleges’ test scores rising each year. This means that the test score that would have gotten you in the previous year may not be enough next year. Also the new SAT test scores are higher than the old SAT scores (inflation).

Please take whichever test you are better at twice during this school year. This will give us a good indication of which colleges sould be on your list. If you are not satisfied with the scores you will be able to retake the test in the fall before early decision and early action dates.

Below are the dates and links to register early so that you can go to the testing center of your choice.

ACT DATES 2017 – 2018

 Register at www.ACT.org 

$58.50/$42.50 without Writing* Late registration is an added $27.50**

2017-2018 Test Dates (National)
Test Date Registration Deadline (Late Fee Required)
September 9, 2017 August 4, 2017 August 5-18, 2017
October 28, 2017 September 22, 2017 September 23-October 6, 2017
December 9, 2017 November 3, 2017 November 4-17, 2017
February 10, 2018* January 12, 2018 January 13-19, 2018
April 14, 2018 March 9, 2018 March 10-23, 2018
June 9, 2018 May 4, 2018 May 5-18, 2018
July 14, 2018* June 15, 2018 June 16-22, 2018

SAT /SUBJECT TEST DATES 2016-2017

Register at this link CollegeBoard

SAT $45.00—with essay $57.00*

Subject Tests $26.00 basic fee + $26 each Listening test + $20 each other test**

Late registration is an added $28***

SAT Test Dates 2017-18 (U.S.)

Test Date Normal Deadline Late Registration* Online Score Release
August 26, 2017 July 28, 2017 August 15, 2017 September 14, 2017
October 7, 2017 September 8, 2017 September 22, 2017 October 27, 2017
November 4, 2017 October 6, 2017 October 20, 2017 November 23, 2017
December 2, 2017 November 3, 2017 November 17, 2017 December 21, 2017
March 10, 2018** February 9, 2018 February 23, 2018 March 29, 2018
May 5, 2018 April 6, 2018 April 20, 2018 May 24, 2018
June 2, 2018 May 4, 2018 May 18, 2018 June 21, 2018

*The late registration deadline is one week earlier if you are registering by mail.

            Not all Subject Tests are offered on a given date!  For example, Languages with Listening are offered only in November.  Please be sure to check with the College Board as to what Subject Tests are offered on which dates.

11th Grade College Planning Timeline

Eleventh grade is very important in the college planning process, with standardized testing, defining your college list, connecting with teachers for strong letter of recommendation, and keeping your grades high. We need to meet before the end of the summer to make plans for this key year.

This Summer – break out the sunscreen, but also focus on your future

Make this time productive
Students should be participating in constructive activities during the summer, colleges care. Summer study, jobs, and volunteer work always rate high with admission officials. If your child has a career goal in mind, see if you can help arrange a day where he or she can “shadow” someone who works in that field.

Do some early research
Look at these articles Finding a College that you Love and Researching a College to see what is important. Then use Scoir to look at colleges that might be of interest. The website provides good college entrance information, as well as information about what schools offer. Summer is a great time for you to check out some of the websites and pick colleges that you are interested in exploring. Reach out to the admissions office and ask them to send you information. Most colleges track all contact that you have with them to determine how interested you are in the school.

Visit some colleges
Although summer is not the ideal time to see a campus, it is still useful to learn about what colleges offer and to have a broader frame of reference. If your vacation plans take you near colleges of interest, build a tour into your agenda. See my article Visiting Colleges.

This Fall – This year the college search process really gets going.

Focus on getting the best grades that you can, and getting help where needed
Monitor your grades throughout the year and find ways to keep them high. Talk to teaches when you don’t understand a concept, and ask for extra work at the end of a semester when you grade is a on the edge of a higher one. Showing an interest and communicating with your teacher can make a difference in your grade.

Organize your college information
Set up a filing system on your computer or use file folders for each college’s correspondence and printed materials. This will make it easier to locate the specific information you’re looking for.

Take practice SAT & ACT to determine your best test
We will compare your scores on the SAT & ACT practice test to determine which test is the best for you.

Try to find time to visit colleges on your days off
Seeing colleges in session is more useful than during the summer. It gives you a chance to see the students and the vibe of the campus. There may be Options for College Visits so check on them. Take a tour and attend the information session. You may also be able to talk to students or sit in on a class which interests you.

Research colleges
Continue to add schools which you learn about and may be of interest. Use Scoir to help define your college list to include schools that meet your most important criteria (academic majors, size, location, cost, or activities). Build a list of about 10 colleges which really excite you.

Be an active participant
Go to college fairs at your school or other venues, speak with college representatives who visit your high school, like colleges’ Facebook pages after you have enhanced yours, see Colleges Look at your Social Media. Be open-minded as many students change their criteria significantly during this process.

Be prepared by practicing
We will determine which tests you will take (ACT, SAT, SAT subjects tests) and the dates for them, please register for them and mark those dates on your calendar. You will need to prepare by taking practice tests and getting comfortable with the material.

 

This Winter – Stay involved, organize college lists, and prepare for standardized tests

Make a difference with your extracurricular activities
Colleges look for consistency and depth in the activities you pursue. Taking on leadership roles or starting a new venture and making a commitment is significantly more important than just being a member of an activity. I will be sending out an article on this shortly.

Discuss colleges with family and friends
Have discussions about the colleges you’re interested in and learn more about them. Talk to students about what college life is like, especially if they attend a school you’re interested in. Although it’s important to hear what the admissions staff has to say about a school, it’s also important to get the students’ perspective. Your family and friends can learn about what you want to pursue and you can hear any concerns or suggestions they might have. Also feel free to e-mail me with any questions or information that you need.

Use your summer wisely, plan ahead

Summer employment and internships in fields you’re interested in is ideal and powerful on a college application or resume, but there are many other options, Summer Activities that Give you and Edge, and Summer Activities part 2. Be involved in something that interests you. One needs to start looking into this in the winter as some programs and opportunities have early deadlines.

Next Spring – Take the standardized test at least twice and keep your grades high
Continue to prepare for standardized tests.
Practice makes testing easier, less stressful, and you more successful. Take either the SAT or the ACT at least twice in junior year. If you need SAT subject tests schedule them for June. Know that you can take the ACT or SAT again in the fall of your senior year if you’re unhappy with your scores.

Pick classes for senior year.
Touch base with me before you pick your classes, don’t load up on easy electives. Colleges do review your senior year courses and grades, so challenge yourself and take classes that are in your areas of interest. See this article for more information, How Many AP’s to Take.

Some high schools want you to ask teachers for letters of recommendation before the summer
Teachers and guidance counselors are often asked to write recommendations for lots of students. Consider whom you want to ask now and let them know so they’ll have time to prepare before the fall. Ask teachers who know you well and who will have positive things to say. Please read this article to get the best letter possible, How to get a Great Recommendation.  If you have a coach, activity leader, or a boss who knows you well outside of school and can speak to your accomplishments and character that is also valuable.

Plan campus visits during Spring break

You should plan ahead and sign up for the tours when visiting colleges. Spring break can be a very busy time for colleges, so make sure there is room. You can sign up on-line or call the admissions office. There may be Options for College Visits so check on them.

 

How to help kids succeed on the SAT

Published by The Chesapeake Family Magazine
By Katie Riley

Last year more than 1.6 million high school students took the SAT, and many hope tutoring will boost their score. But the question is, what type of tutoring is best and is it affordable?

“I’ve had mixed results with SAT prep courses because it really depends on the motivation of the student and which type of tutoring program they choose,” says Cori Dykman, owner of Annapolis College Counseling, a service that helps prepare and guide students through the college process.

Traditional classes like Princeton Review and Kaplan offer several multi-week courses at dozens of area locations, but the class doesn’t come cheap. Course fees start at around $500.

In an effort to make test preparation available to everyone, the College Board recently partnered with Khan Academy to provide free, targeted test prep for students online. The Khan Academy program provides detailed assessments and dozens of sample tests and exercises. It also directs students to an extensive library of video tutorials based on a student’s test results and weaknesses.

“Khan Academy is excellent,” Dykman says. “It’s free and offers great resources. I always tell my students to start there and then maybe consider a private tutoring option after that.”

Private online tutoring is an option that is gaining popularity due to its convenience and personalized service. Companies like Applerouth match students with one-on-one online tutors based on interviews, academic strengths and weaknesses, and test results.

Julia Drooff, a senior at Broadneck High School, began using Applerouth during her junior year after a disappointing score on her SAT subject test.

“I knew that if the SATs were anything like [the subject test], then I would not do well,” Drooff says. Her older sister had already used Applerouth and experienced considerable improvements.

“They matched me up with an amazing tutor who helped me get to the root of my testing anxiety,” Drooff says. She worked with the tutor monthly for a year and half, taking practice tests and attending online tutoring sessions.

“I developed a personal relationship with my tutor, and we would text regularly. Her encouragement did wonders for my confidence,” Drooff says, noting that she saw a significant increase in her scores and was recently accepted by her first choice college.

Whether students choose Khan Academy, traditional courses or private tutoring, experts agree that the best way to prepare is simply through practice.

“The most helpful method out there is to take practice tests,” Dykman says. “Sitting and focusing for three to four hours is exhausting for any student, and practice tests can help with timing, directions and knowing what questions to expect. I tell students to never go into an exam blind. The practice is invaluable.”

Preparing for the SAT or ACT Test

 Proctored, Practice Tests On-line

You can take an on-line, proctored, practice test from your home free, as well as receive a detail report on areas you should focus on. Some students can really benefit from the structure of this testing situation and the assessment. It is helpful to know what your score would be, and how you can improve. Sign-up for a mock test  by clicking on this link, https://www.applerouth.com/iec/annapoliscollegeconsulting/. The test will be scored and analyzed by Applerouth free, giving you excellent feedback on your areas of weakness. They will then suggest one-on-one tutoring to help you to address these areas. You do not need to use them, please feel free to find the best method for you.

Determine the Best Method of Study

Once you have taken practice tests, please determine your best method of studying. Some of you may want to take a class to get a thorough review of all the areas, some will like the convenience of on-line help, others may want private tutoring. Look at the costs and evaluate your learning style.

Khan Academy is the official site  SAT test preparation. The new SAT now covers 80% of the same material that the ACT does, so you can use it to study for either test.  There are many, many companies which offer help, please find a method that works well for you.

Test Preparation Methods and Companies 

Applerouth Education Tutoring provides one-on-one tutoring for ACT, SAT and school subject tests.

Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization that provides free tutoring for the SAT and ACT as well as many other subjects.

C2 Educate Tutoring with a branch located in Severna Park, it is very good in-person tutoring.

Number2.com free online test prep courses.

Princeton Review has class and on-line options

ACT registration and resources for preparing to take the ACT.

Register for the SAT, get test dates find out what to expect when you take the test.

Check Colleges to See if  You Need to Do the Writing Section

Very few colleges are evaluating the writing section these days. Here is the list. Unless you are applying to elite schools, you probably will not need to do the optional writing section.

Practice Now for Good Results Later

Take practice tests and get comfortable with the material, it should make a difference in your scores. Do a little every week, maybe an hour or three. This is like a sport, practice improves your game and score.

 

 

5 Important Elements Colleges Look For

  1. High Grades. Grades are a sign of intellect and effort, and the best indication of how you will perform in college. College admissions wants you to take the hardest classes that you can that you will get at least a B in. Focus on your grades and work with your teachers.
  2. Taking the most rigorous curriculum that you can while still getting high grades. AP’s, Honors, College Classes, IB if available. Colleges consider your options and want you to  challenge yourself and be successful. Here is an article on choosing the right classes.
  3. Standardized Test Scores. Many colleges consider these, but some colleges are test optional. There are choices you should consider before you start this process. Is the ACT or the SAT right for you? When should you take the standardized tests? How should you prepare for each test to be successful in the college process? Testing information.
  4. Write an Essay in senior year that strikes a chord with the admissions representatives. What do we need to tell colleges to make you the kind of candidate that they want? College essays should be very personal, thoughtful and demonstrate your background, values, goals, or an achievement. Here is an article on writing a memorable college essay.
  5. Your Demonstrated Interest in the institution. You need to show that this is a college that you are very interested in, not just one on your list which is a back-up school. Many college admissions offices track every contact you have with them. How to demonstrate interest.

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) annually surveys member colleges and universities. Here are the latest survey results for what colleges say is important:

  • Grades in college prep courses: 79.2%
  • Grades in all courses: 60.3%
  • Strength of curriculum: 60.2%
  • Admission test scores: 55.7%
  • Essay or writing sample: 22.1%
  • Student’s demonstrated interest: 16.9%
  • Counselor recommendations: 17.3%
  • Class rank: 14.0%
  • Teacher recommendation: 15.2%
  • Subject test scores (AP/IB): 7.0%
  • Portfolio: 6.6%
  • Interview: 3.5%
  • SAT II scores: 5.3%
  • Extracurricular activities: 5.6%

Preparation for Standardized Tests

  1. Study Beforehand

See where your weaknesses are and learn what you don’t know. Get comfortable with the format of the test so you can be ready for the type of questions that they ask. There is an enormous range of test prep choices available, from personalized tutoring to free resources, available online or at the local library.

  1. Take Practice Tests

The more you practice, the better you will get at taking those long tests. Sitting for three plus hours is hard, so the weekend before the exam, make yourself go through a whole test. Please, however, remember to take breaks. Staying focused for hours at a time is like athletics, if you don’t practice, you won’t perform well.

  1. Know the ACT / SAT Test Location

If you are unfamiliar with the test location, take a trip there before the test. You don’t want to get lost on the way to the test and arrive late. This will help reduce any extra stress having to find your way on the day of the test.

  1. Prepare Required Items the Night Before

Prepare all of the items on the SAT or ACT test day checklist the night before so you’re not searching for them the morning of the test.

This means you’ll need to have your ID, admissions ticket, No. 2 pencils, eraser, calculator (if allowed), extra batteries, healthy snacks, and a water bottle ready to take to the test in the morning. Put everything together the night before. Minimal stress before the test will help boost your confidence and let you focus on what really matters.

  1. Go to Bed Early for Two Nights before the Test

Many times we are exhausted the day after we have stayed up too late. Make sure to get enough sleep for both nights as this will help your concentration and attention span.

  1. Get up Early on Test Day

Do not press the snooze button. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Grab all your stuff and breathe deeply if you start feeling anxious.

  1. Eat Protein for Breakfast

You will need to keep your stomach full and energy up for this long test. Consider having something healthy and filling with protein.

  1. Control Your Thoughts and Stay Focused

When you don’t know answers to questions it is easy to start accumulating negative thoughts. Stay positive and focused on the task at hand. You are not supposed to know all the answers, just do the best hat you can. It helps a lot of people to take deep breaths as it brings more oxygen into your body which helps keep you calm and focused.

Standardized Testing before College Applications are Due

Register for Standardized Tests Now

Even if the submission date seems far away, there are many instances in which you might decide to submit earlier than expected. Applying to colleges early through Early Action will give you an advantage in both acceptances and in many instances, merit scholarships. Applying through Early Decision will give you an admission advantage, but probably no merit scholarships. It is important to note that the Early Decision option is binding and says you will attend a school if accepted. Early action is not. No matter which option you choose, it is important to be fully prepared with your best scores possible.

 

The good news is that as a high school senior you will probably get your highest scores yet. The less happy fact is that practicing for the ACT or SAT over the summer will help determine your success. This means balancing having fun and quality time with your books.

 

College consultants are seeing the more popular colleges’ test scores rising each year. This means that the test score that would have gotten you in last year may not be enough next year. Below are the dates and links to register early so that you can go to the testing center of your choice.

 

ACT testing dates 2015-2016

Test Date Registration Deadline (Late Fee Required)
September 12, 2015 August 7, 2015 August 8–21, 2015
October 24, 2015 September 18, 2015 September 19–October 2, 2015
December 12, 2015 November 6, 2015 November 7–20, 2015
February 6, 2016* January 8, 2016 January 9–15, 2016
April 9, 2016 March 4, 2016 March 5–18, 2016
June 11, 2016** May 6, 2016 May 7–20, 2016

*No test centers are scheduled in New York for the February test date.

www.ACT.org

SAT testing dates 2015-2016

Below are the dates for the SAT.  March 5 is the first date for the new SAT and scores will not be available until June. Make sure to check the website for registration deadlines.

SAT Date SAT Subject
Tests Available
(
Find Dates)
Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline Deadline for Changes Status
Mail Phone/
Online
Oct
3
·         Subject Tests Sep
3
Send Reminder
Sep
18
Sep
22
Sep
22
Register Now80 days left
Nov
7
·         Subject Tests Oct
9
Send Reminder
Oct
23
Oct
27
Oct
27
Register Now116 days left
Dec
5
·         Subject Tests Nov
5
Send Reminder
Nov
20
Nov
23
Nov
23
Register Now143 days left
Jan
23
·         Subject Tests Dec
28
Send Reminder
Jan
8
Jan
12
Jan
12
Register Now196 days left
Mar
5
Feb
5
Send Reminder
Feb
19
Feb
23
Feb
23
Register Now235 days left
May
7
·         Subject Tests Apr
8
Send Reminder
Apr
22
Apr
26
Apr
26
Register Now298 days left
Jun
4
·         Subject Tests May
5
Send Reminder
May
20
May
25
May
25
Register Now325 days left

Additional fees apply if you register late or make changes to your test type, center or date after registering.

Sunday administrations usually occur the day after each Saturday test date for students who cannot test on Saturday due to religious observance.

Please check the SAT website for dates for the subject tests.

www. SAT.collegeboard.org