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WHY do I have to take this class?

 

I've heard the following questions SO many times! 

Do I really need to take algebra?

Why do I need to read that book?

Why am I required to study history? 

When am I ever going to use proofs?

Am I actually going to use chemistry?

This is a waste of time!

I get it. There are a bunch of subjects that are required for high school that, if you look from the outside, seem like they are completely unrelated to the direction we are headed. So why are they required? How can we motivate our teens to do their best in a subject when we can't name the last time we had to diagram a sentence or complete an algebraic equation?

 

You Don't Know Where You're Headed

I'm not doing what I thought I would be career-wise in high school. Statistically, neither will your teens. Right now the average person is holding 12+ jobs over the course of their life according to Zippia! The days of preparing for and staying in one career field for life have been replaced with a progression of...

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How to Register for the ACT®

act phase 3 test prep Nov 18, 2021

Okay, so I know this may sound straightforward, but I frequently have students ask about how to register for the ACT®.

In some cases the ACT® is offered through your school (if you attend a public or private school). In these cases the ACT® date does not correlate with the typical 7 days a year the ACT is offered, and registration is usually completed by your guidance counselor.

If you are homeschooled or planning on taking a regularly scheduled ACT®, here is what you should do:

First off, you should ask the question should I register for this upcoming ACT® test date? I talk about choosing dates for the ACT here, so if you are unsure check out that post! You want to give some evaluation to whether you have time to adequately prepare for this test. I recommend 4+ weeks of active prep before each exam, preferably 8-16 weeks for your first test (check out my FREE 10-page ACT prep guide here or my online ACT prep course here).

Once you have decided that you...

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4 Keys to ACT and SAT Success

act exam prep phase 3 sat Oct 28, 2021
 

The 4 Keys to ACT and SAT Success

I’ve been working to help students prepare for the ACT and SAT for 14 years, and over that time I’ve determined there are four key factors to test prep success:

  1. Content
  2. Strategy
  3. Practice
  4. Review

All four of these elements MUST be in place for you to be successful! You could even consider these to all relate like a math equation:

CONTENT x STRATEGY (PRACTICE + REVIEW) = SUCCESS

OR

C S ( P + R ) = SUCCESS

For you to hit the target score you need for admission to your top choice schools AND to open doors for scholarships that make college affordable you need a plan for each of these four factors, so that’s what we’ll tackle in this post!

1. CONTENT

  •  The first key to ACT/SAT success is CONTENT. There are some things you just need to know. Primarily this is centered around the English and Math tests.
  • Remember that these are standardized exams. That means they don’t test everything, but rather have a limited...
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A Virtual Guidance Counselor

 

If you’re a parent looking for help getting your teen prepared for college (or maybe a non-college path)  while still keeping the peace at home then you already know that there are a ton of decisions and options ahead.

You want to see your child succeed after high-school. You have researched and talked with friends, but there is so much conflicting college prep advice. Which exams should your high-school student take? When should they start preparing? Do you need to sign up for dual enrollment or AP tests? And how can you start preparing for college if your teen doesn't even know what he or she wants to do? What if they want to pursue a career path you don't know anything about? What then? If this sounds familiar then you are in the right place! 

I was paid to go to college because I had a clear plan for a career path, and I created UniversityReady to help families be strategic in their approach to career and college preparation!

My heart is to help...

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Should a senior fill a light school year with Dual Enrollment?

 

My senior doesn't have many credits left for his senior year and is doing Dual Enrollment, how many Dual Enrollment credits should he take so his transcript doesn't look weak that year?

If your teen is starting credits early in junior high, or if they end up taking very full semesters or a super senior year, it's very easy to end up in a situation where there just aren't many credits left their senior year.

That is normal.

Don't stress out over trying to pad their schedule with a bunch of extra courses. You don't need busywork to get into college. Here are a few considerations when trying to determine how much to take on that senior year:

Is your teen applying to a college that has a holistic application process?

We refer to a college as having a "holistic" application process if they are looking at all angles of the student, not just transcripts and ACT/SAT scores. Many lower tier and state schools are not holistic, so having a bunch of DE course might help some, but not as...

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What books should you buy for ACT prep?

act phase 3 test prep Oct 20, 2021
 

Whenever I travel to speak, I am frequently asked about my recommendations for ACT Prep Books. While I do offer an online ACT Prep Course, I wanted to go through and talk about the print resources I recommend. 

NOTE: Grab my FREE 10-page ACT Prep Guide here!

Practice/Review Books vs Strategy/Content Books

First, it's important to differentiate between the differences between the purposes of your books, and for that I want to highlight the four components that are essential for ACT Prep:

  • STRATEGY
  • CONTENT
  • PRACTICE
  • REVIEW

PRACTICE/REVIEW: The ACT is a paper test, so you need to practice it that way-you need paper copies of official exams. Only one free ACT exam is released officially online, so if you don't get any other book, you need to own an Official Guide to the ACT.

Why the Official Guide? The ACT is copyrighted, so while Princeton Review, Barrons, Kaplan and other publishers sell books touting practice questions or practice tests, they are real exams and can actually...

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Do I have to take Biology / Chemistry / Physics?

I received the following question about science credits:

I have a daughter finishing 9th grade. She has done well in Biology 1 but doesn't want to take Chemistry or Physics. She is preparing for college and is unsure of her career at this point. She's not interested in science or math careers. She's English and History minded and artsy. What is your opinion of allowing her to take advanced Biology and maybe Marine Biology instead of Chemistry and Physics.

 Great question! It can be confusing on the requirements when it comes to science, as we typically associate the core sciences of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics as being mandatory.

Flexibility in Science

However, unlike math where Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry are pretty much required nation-wide, there is a lot more flexibility in most states when it comes to science requirements. By far Biology is the most commonly required science (if any), with Physical Science coming in second. In most states, there are...

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Learn to Eat the Frog

phase 1 study skills Sep 13, 2021
 

One of the most important skills a student can learn in high school is how to eat a frog.

Yep. You heard me right.

There are a couple of different quotes, attributed to Mark Twain (although more likely said by Nicolas Chamfort), which go something like this:

"Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day"

or

"If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first."

Eww. Gross.

Okay, now that you've lost your appetite, let's get serious. Obviously we're not really encouraging you to go out and gorge yourself on a poor amphibian, but rather that you should tackle whatever sounds the least appealing first in your day. Getting that unpleasantry out of the way on the front end allows for things to be smoother as the day progresses because you've already got the most difficult part out of the way.

Academically speaking, this means...

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Does Dual Enrollment Count as 1 Credit or .5 for High School?

 

For dual enrollment, does each college semester class count as 1 credit or .5 credits for high school?

Great question! So when you are looking at the content that is covered in a Dual Enrollment course, a one-semester college class is typically considered to be the equivalency of a year of high school. So what you would normally cover in a whole year of high school Spanish 1 will be covered in one semester of Spanish at a college, a year of biology in high school will be equivalent to the first semester of biology in college, etc (should definitely take that into consideration when evaluating if your teen is ready for Dual Enrollment!).

How does that count when it comes to your transcript? When you take a Dual Enrollment course through a college (whether online, at the college campus, or at your high school through a DE arrangement), you will typically receive 3 hours of college credit (which will be on a transcript from that college that you will send to the school you...

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The BEST career prep book (in my opinion)!

 

I received the following question:

"Can you recommend a good career preparedness book or youtube video?"

There are a lot of different resources I could recommend, but if I'm going to boil it down to one it would be this:

"So Good They Can't Ignore You" by Cal Newport. I feel like this book is essential. I actually spend a whole week of my 4-week Career Prep Challenge based around the ideas in this book to help students build a framework around how they will approach the career pursuit decision.

So much of our focus in America is on passion. What are you passionate about, what do you enjoy, what are your interests, etc. When it comes time for teens to explore career paths those questions usually play the lions share in their decision. 

Only problem with this is if most teens make their decisions based solely on what they are "passionate" about, we'll end up with the majority of the workforce being YouTube personalities, video game developers, LEGO set designers, etc.

...
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