Monday, May 3, 2010

May I Have Your Attention?

Who doesn’t want your attention this month? Prospective colleges, parents, teachers, classmates, teammates, study partners, girlfriends and boyfriends all seem to want you at your best. Yes, it is a lot of pressure. But as I often tell my students, you will survive! In fact, you can thrive. Here’s how:

If you’re a sophomore . . . You want to build momentum to soar in your junior year! Don’t hesitate to meet with your teachers to be sure you’re on track for a strong finish. During your study time, try to anticipate the questions on your finals. Be diligent about any research papers. Go for the big score! Also, consider taking SAT Subject Tests such as Math Level 1 or the science in which you are currently enrolled: biology, chemistry or physics. The best results on these tests come while the course material is fresh in your mind, and that’s now rather than your junior year. (Be sure to check in with the appropriate teacher first to make sure the curriculum he or she teaches is consistent with the material on the College Board Subject Test.)

If you’re a junior . . . This is the time to perform in the clutch. If you have AP tests, be prepared. Look on the College Board site for some excellent practice questions; they have all subjects! Get quality review books. REA is a wonderful publishing company with titles such as AP US History: Are You Serious About Getting a 5? and AP U.S. Government and Politics Crash Course. AP students report that REA publications are indeed worthwhile investments. Remember this: colleges will examine not only your grades but also your AP scores. Go for that 4 or 5 to eclipse any disappointing report card grades. A score of 4 or more is usually good for placement credit.

Plan to take SAT Subject Tests in June. Many colleges are looking increasingly at your performance on these tests rather than traditional “aptitude tests” like the SAT. NYU, for example, has just announced changes to its standardized test requirements. Whereas past applicants had to submit the SAT or ACT along with Subject Tests, in 2010-2011, they can opt to submit three SAT Subject Tests or three AP Tests instead of the SAT or ACT. For more details, check NYU’s admission site.

If you’re a senior . . . The party isn’t necessarily over! Finish your courses on an up note. Go for 4s and 5s on your APs. If you’re taking finals, end with As and Bs. Remember, colleges have every right to see your grades through the end of the year. Moreover, you may be on a wait list now or you may decide to transfer at some point. That means you want to have a transcript that shows no signs of slacking off. Also, remember to show exemplary behavior and keep your Facebook page respectable!

June will be here soon!


Question of the Day

A parent asks you to stop by the bookstore and pick up a book on college admissions. There are so many on the shelves. How do you decide which to buy? What aspects of college do you feel a good book should cover? Send your feedback to and become eligible for a complimentary consult on the essay of your choice.

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