Archive for February, 2010

SAT, ACT, PSAT, Math II Test Prep

Friday, February 26th, 2010

For many years now the SAT, ACT and PSAT tests have been a “right of passage” on the way to college acceptance. It has spawned a huge test prep industry with too many options to count.  But a student who finds and applies him or herself to a universally effective test prep program could be offered significant Merit scholarships from some very good colleges!

That is the  GOOD news. But there is BAD news too. The BAD news is that such a test prep program is very hard to find.  But the real GOOD news is that we have found it for you!

It is EPrep.com. Check it out NOW.  Take the eye-opening ~ “light bulb above the head” FREE tour complete with sample SAT or ACT  questions. Then give us a call at (978) 820-1295 so we can discuss the best program (at special reduced prices) for you.

Best wishes for college acceptance to the colleges of your choice,
Eric Goodhart
help@SmartCollegePlanning.org

Test Prep Options

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

It seems like yesterday that I was sweating over the impending SAT test in high school. The memory stays with me because I work with bright-eyed high school kids every day.  I feel their pain.

In late winter and early spring  juniors with college aspirations are intent on preparing for the most important tests in the college planning process. The last half of the junior year is replete with tests; the SAT is not the only one.

SAT II Subject Tests, the ACT test, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests may also be on a high school junior’s calendar, not to mention mid-terms, ‘POP’ quizzes (my favorite) and final exams.

To make it more confusing, the College Board last year changed its’ policy as to SAT score reporting. Even with that new change, there will still be many competitive colleges that will want to receive ALL the test scores a student took, not just a self-selected few. (Check each college’s website using the AAA method to find out their policies.)

By the way, here is a comparison of the new SAT and ACT tests.  Some students may do better in the ACT if they have an overall higher GPA in all five core academic subjects. In addition, many colleges will except strong ACT composite scores in lieu of SAT II Subject tests.

Reflecting upon my high schools years, Princeton was just the name of a University, not of a test prep organization. Today there are so many test prep companies, test prep tutors, books, and websites that one can be overwhelmed by the choices.

The question is which one, if any, should you invest your time and money? But the question is not “IF” anymore because high test scores not only enhance admission chances, but could result in thousands of dollars in merit scholarships from some very good colleges.

That used to the big question until I found this one.  Ironically, it was created by two Princeton University graduates, Eric Barnes and Karl Schellscheidt. They have done a brilliant job in putting together a fun easy to follow method to prepare for not just the SAT, but the ACT and the Math II Subject test.

Here is a summary of their philosophy on Standardized Test Preparation. It will reveal some of the reasons why students are getting 200 to 300 higher scores on their SAT after prepping with EPrep.com.

If you would like to take advantage of one or more of EPrep’s programs give us a call and ask about the special discounts (up to 25%) we offer.

If you have a junior or sophomore, call today! Time is on your side today and could mean literally thousands of dollars of toward college tuition costs tomorrow.

Timeline Note

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

 

As I look at the calendar, I am reminded of two things. One: This is not a Leap Year and we do not have an extra day to accomplish everything we want. Two: It is time to look at our College Planning Timeline to see what needs to be done now…or by now.

With college costs and student debt continuing to go up, we recommend to all families to complete a “Dry Run” as soon as the freshman year. (Step three in the timeline.) The biggest benefits of doing this early are that it will keep you out of the hospital (sticker shock) and lessen the need to borrow unnecessarily for college. College financial aid policies are changing frequently. The middle and upper-middle income families are not helped by these changes.

Look at this announcement made this week at Williams College. Several other competitive colleges will be following suit. You will have more time to explore your options and understand the many different financial aid calculations college use, when you do a “Dry Run” long before high school senior year.

Therefore, one of the steps that is paramount to high school planning is becoming aware of the true costs of college and taking realistic steps to ensure that the colleges on a child’s list are not only academically and socially suitable, but are affordable. If you have not done this yet, then what are you waiting for?  Student debt as shown in this recent study is out of control, college graduates need not graduate with a mountain of debt.

At a recent high school workshop I gave, a parent asked what is the most common mistake a family makes in the college planning process. Good question with an easy answer: Not doing a realistic estimate of the “bottom line” cost of the colleges on their child’s list.

The Dry Run is the first step on the way to a solution.

If you know a family with high school sophomores or juniors this is the best time for the former and a priority for the latter to complete a Dry Run with us now.

There are 72 colleges in the country that have some sort of “no-loan” policies. But  colleges are making adjustments because money (credit)  is tight for them too. Loan and merit scholarship policies at most colleges in the last few years have changed. How those changes effect a family depends on the college and the profile of the applicant.  To learn how your student will be assessed by the college admissions committees at his or her colleges, call us today.

Williams College

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Williams College Nixes No-Loan Student-Aid Policy After Endowment Falls

By Ashley Marchand

Williams College is eliminating its no-loan student-aid program that began in the fall of 2008, saying that it can no longer afford the policy because of its battered endowment.

The college in Massachusetts, which has a sticker price of $49,880 a year, was one of more than 40 in the United States that have no-loan or limited-loan student-aid programs, which eliminate or cap loans for students with demonstrated financial need and replace them with institutional grants and scholarships.

It is one of a number of selective private colleges—at the time buoyed by swelling endowments—that announced no-loan policies in quick succession in 2007 and 2008. Then the bottom fell out of the financial markets, and colleges’ endowments plummeted. Williams’ dropped from $1.9-billion in June 2008 to $1.4 billion a year later.

Now, in a letter dated Sunday, the college’s interim president announced that its no-loan program will end in the fall of 2011. “Williams is in a strong financial situation by virtually any comparison—except with that of the Williams of three years ago,” William G. Wagner, the interim president, said in the letter.

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