…from GuidedPath Edge Guru

  • Study in the UK

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    Have you considered studying abroad?  What if you could study abroad for your entire college experience rather than just one semester?  Studying in the United Kingdom could be a great way for you to experience another culture for college without worrying about a language barrier.  

    The UK has some of the most prestigious universities in the world – Oxford, Cambridge, and Imperial College of London all rank among the top 10 – along with over 160 colleges and universities across the country.  Just like in the U.S., you can find a university that fits your style. 

    There are several advantages to studying in the United Kingdom: 

    1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in 3 years.  You can finish your bachelor’s degree in 3 years (in England, Ireland, and Wales – still 4yrs in Scotland) which means moving on to graduate school or a career sooner than at an American university.  And a 3-year degree means less tuition cost!   
       
    2. Skip the general education.  General education courses are not required in the UK system.  You take only the classes you need for the subject you are studying.  This means as a freshman you’ll be studying business, engineering, political science – or whatever you’ve chosen as a major.
       
    3. Travel opportunities.  The UK can be a great jumping off point to travel to many other places in Europe and beyond.  You can fly from London to 10 other European capital cities in under 2 hours.  What a great way to spend some of your school breaks –  exploring other countries, cultures, and languages!  
       
    4. No additional cost.  The United Kingdom offers student loans to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who attend approved UK schools.  It’s possible for you to actually pay less to go to school in the UK than you may pay at an expensive school in a high-cost area of the U.S.  International Student Loan has more information and a list of eligible colleges in the UK.  

      Additionally, there are many schools around the world – including in the UK and Canada – that will accept U.S. Federal Direct Loans.  You can apply for Direct Loans using the FAFSA and use your U.S. loan money abroad.  The Federal Student Aid website has some helpful information and a list of eligible schools.    

    Take Action
    Explore United Kingdom schools through the Educate in UK website.  Make notes in your GuidedPath account. 

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  • College Size Matters

    college size matters

    As you explore which colleges are the right match for you, consider the size of the student body.  How many undergraduates attend the college?  This can make a big difference in your experience on a college campus.  Think of college sizes in these four categories (based on undergraduate student attendance only).

    Boutique Size (<2000) 

    Over 500 colleges in the U.S. enroll fewer than 2000 students.  These schools are ideal for students with a strong participant learner approach to college.  You get to know your teachers and fellow students very well.  This provides opportunities to maximize your involvement in activities and construct your own learning experience.  Most boutique size schools are private, examples include Julliard, Amherst, Pomona, California Institute of Technology, Davidson, and Haverford.

    Liberal Arts Size (2000-5000) 

    Over 300 colleges in the US fall in the Liberal Arts size category.  Some of the most well-known and prestigious colleges fall into this category including Dartmouth, Rice, Middlebury, Carleton, and Vassar.  Small class sizes with a focus on undergraduates, opportunities to engage with faculty and peers, and close-knit campus communities are all reasons to consider colleges of this size. 

    Just Right Size (5,000-10,000) 

    “Just Right” refers to the college that is not too big, not too small, as Goldilocks stated, it is “Just Right”.  The college is bigger than most high schools, yet small enough to still retain a personal feel.  This is the smallest group of colleges in the US, with just over 200 campuses.  Both public and private schools fall into this category.  Examples include: Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Duke, the College of William and Mary, many California State Universities, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and many more.  This is a campus size where many students feel comfortable.

    City University 

    There are some universities that are comparable to the size of a large town or small city.  Students benefit from many choices however the trade-off is you must be your own advocate and reach out.  You have the freedom to create your own path on a campus of this size.  Of the 58 colleges in this category, most are public schools including Arizona State, UCLA, UC Berkeley, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Michigan, Florida State, UT Austin, University of Alabama and many other flagship state universities.  There are a few private schools in this category as well, including New York University, Brigham Young University and University of Southern California.

    Take Action
    Use the Guided Search to find colleges within each of these size categories.  Explore the college profiles. Comment on what you find in the Discussions tab. 

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  • Why So Many Questions…

    So Many Questions… 

     Have you signed up to take the SAT yet?  Or maybe you’ve already taken the PSAT?  Did you notice that there are a lot of questions about your grades, your interests, your intended college major, etc. in the registration?  What’s up with all those questions?    

     

    The CollegeBoard Student Search Service 

    Those questions are part of the SAT Questionnaire.  There’s also a box to opt-in to the College Board Student Search Service.  By completing those questions and checking the box, you are giving permission for the CollegeBoard to provide your contact information to colleges and scholarship programs.   

     

    Why do colleges and scholarship programs want my information?  

    You are searching for colleges that are a good fit.  Colleges and scholarship programs are doing the same thing – searching for applicants that are a good fit.  One of the ways they find applicants and promote their programs is by sourcing student information from the CollegeBoard.  Through the Student Search Service, colleges and programs can access your contact information and send you promotional materials by mail or email.   

     

    Should I opt-in?   

    That’s entirely up to you!  There are advantages to allowing colleges and scholarship programs to access your information – you may find out about a school or a program that is a great fit for you that you didn’t already know about.  However, it also means an influx of mail and email.  You can always filter this college email into a specific folder to keep it from cluttering your inbox.  You can also decide to stop participating at any time and contact CollegeBoard to opt-out.   

     

    What about the ACT?   

    ACT has the same kind of service for their test – it’s called the Educational Opportunity Service (EOS).  Just like with the SAT, colleges and scholarship programs are using the ACT to access to your contact information.  Opting-in to the EOS is completely optional and you must check the box on the ACT registration form to allow colleges to access your information.        

     

    Take Action 

    If you are a junior, it may be time for you to take the SAT or the ACT.  Spring test dates are: 

    If you are a sophomore, your school may be administering the PSAT or the PreACT.  Check with your school counselor to find out the test date.   

    Enter your test dates into GuidedPath so that you will receive registration deadline and test date email reminders.   

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  • How to Make the Most of Your College Visits

    The College Visit 

    Depending on your time and interest level, plan one of the following types of college visits: 

     

    Basic Visit 

    1. Attend an information session.  Ask questions about admissions, financial aid, choice of majors.  IMPORTANT: Get a business card from an admissions person. 
    2. Do a college and dorm tour.  What does the campus look like?  Where do freshman live? What are the housing options? 
    3. Eat a meal on campus.  Go to the dining hall or coffee shop and eat.  Introduce yourself to some students and ask questions.  You will be surprised at how much they want to share about the college. 

     

    Extended Visit 

    In addition to the basic visit schedule – an information session, a campus tour, and a meal on campus – ask if you can add the following appointments at the schools that you are most interested in:  

    1. Meet individually with an admissions counselor.  Ask more about special programs, what the college has to offer, and your admissions expectations.  IMPORTANT: Get a business card from an admissions person. 
    2. Meet with a financial aid advisor.  What types of financial aid and/or merit scholarships do they offer?  What questions do your parents have that need answered? 
    3. Meet with an academic advisor in the field of study that interests you.  Learn more about the courses and professors in your selected field of study. 
    4. Visit a class.  Before your visit, get permission to sit in on a class.  This gives you a feel for what college will be like, and what it would feel like to be a student there. 

     

    Overnight Visit 

    Some colleges offer prospective students the chance to spend the night on campus to learn more about the school.  An overnight visit will provide great insight into student life on campus.  These visits are usually organized by the college, and include college tours, classes on campus, and the chance to stay in a college dorm with a college student host. 

    Check with your counselor for a list of colleges that offer overnight stays. Save overnight visits for your top college choices. 

     

    On Your Visit 

    As you do the college tour of the campus, ask yourself these questions: 

    • Would fit in academically here? 
    • Would I fit in socially here? 
    • Do I feel comfortable with the physical location? 

     

    Follow up after your visit 

    • Send a thank you email to the admissions representative that conducted the information session or that you met with individually. 
    • Record your visit using the Discuss Tab – or download our college visit form.  Pros/Cons can be listed on the Decisions Tab under Decision Details. 
    • Add visits as milestones or tasks.  Use college profiles to learn about a school. 

     

    Take Action 

    Make plans now to visit colleges on your list.  Enjoy your visits and find out which school fits you best!

      

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  • Road Trip: Preparing for Spring Break College Visits

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    Using your spring break to visit colleges is a great idea, but be aware of spring break schedules for the colleges you wish to visit. It’s best to see a college when students are on campus. Here are a few tips to prepare for your spring college visits. 

     

    • Create a College Visit Itinerary. Using a map, look at college locations and decide on an itinerary that fits within your given time.  Don’t worry if you can’t see all of the colleges on your list. Focus on some of your top choices and then plan other school visits that are within the same geographic area. 
    • Register for college visits online.  Once you have a list of colleges to visit, register for campus tours online with the admissions office.  Resist the urge to plan “drive through” visits.  An official campus tour takes more time, but gives you a better feel for the college/campus. And don’t plan too many visits in a day –  one or two per day is best. 
    • Review your priorities for a good college fit. As discussed in the blog  What is College Fit, fit includes 4 components; academic, social, emotional and physical.  
    • Learn the basics.  Look up the school’s size, majors offered, and other details that interest you. Your visit will be more meaningful when you know the basics.
    • Create a List of Questions. Write down your Top 10 Questions for each college visit.  Focus on what you would study and who would you study with. 

     

    Take Action 

    Use GuidedPath to find links to college admission offices to schedule visits. Take a virtual tour of a college by viewing YOUniversityTV videos from the “Tours” tab. 

     

    Review the details on the colleges by clicking on the “Info” and “FISKE” tabs.  Watch for next week’s email: How to make the most of your college visits.  


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  • Seven Tips for Acing the SAT


    How can you ace the SAT? Here are 7 tips for you:

    1. Test Day Checklist.  Get a good night’s sleep before the test. Be sure you arrive at the SAT prepared with the right tools. See TEST DAY CHECKLIST. Be sure to bring a protein snack, a watch, and an approved calculator.
    2. Consider Using Score Choice. Consider waiting to send your scores until you see them. You can send them to selected colleges later.
    3. Guess. There is no penalty for wrong answers on the SAT or ACT meaning that the most important strategy is to answer as many questions as possible.  Eliminate as many answers as possible, then make a calculated guess. It won’t hurt your score.  If you see that time is running short on a section use the last minute to fill in as many bubbles as you can – you can add a few points to your score by simply guessing one more right answer.
    4. Brush up on Algebra 1 & 2.  The SAT emphasizes Algebra, with some Algebra 2 and Trigonometry.  Not much Geometry. The math section includes many word based problems.
    5. Pace Yourself. Remember you have two sections to do: Evidence based Reading and Writing, and Math. The optional essay section is at the end of the test. The test is 3 hours if you are not doing the essay section, 3 hours and 50 minutes with the essay. 
    6. Prepare for an Analytical Essay.  The SAT essay is 50 minutes long, optional, and focused on analyzing content. Gone is the persuasive essay. Prepare to support your analysis in your writing.
    7. Relax.  This is just a test. It shows your ability on a single Saturday. It does not define the rest of your life.  You will have a chance to retake it or take the ACT. You have been going to school for over 10 years. You know more than you realize. 

    Take Action 

    Review your testing schedule and keep track of test registrations. Add all your spring tests to your testing schedule. 

    Registration links: 

    ACT
    SAT  

    Ask at your school about taking a practice SAT or ACT test.

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