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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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Counting Junior High Classes for High School Credit

academics credits phase 1 Jul 20, 2021
 

I received the following question:

 My daughter is in 8th grade this year. I am curious, if she takes classes this year that meet her HS requirements, can I count them as such or does she have to wait until next year for them to count?

The answer to this really depends upon your specific school or entity that you are under academically, but generally speaking yes, you can typically count 2-3 credits from junior high (7th/8th grade) towards your high school credit requirements.

Usually there are restrictions on the type of credits that are allowed, and they typically fall into the following three categories:

  • MATH: This is the most common one, if you take Algebra 1 and/or Geometry in 7th or 8th grade then those courses will count towards your high school credit requirements (note that sometimes you might still have to take math every year of high school even if you get an early start, such as in Tennessee).
  • SCIENCE: You can typically count Physical Science...
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Is Dual Enrollment a Better Option than AP Classes?

 

I received the following question on Facebook:

Is Dual Enrollment a better option than AP classes?

Great question! There is a growing trend to earn college credit early, but we should always step back and ask ourselves which tools best fits our circumstances (or if early credit even makes sense for your situation).

To best understand this question I want to quickly summarize what each of these tools are:

Dual Enrollment: Where you take a college course while still in high school, with the goal of earning both high school and college credit.

AP Classes: An advanced, college-level high school course created by College Board that is designed to prepare you to take an AP exam and possibly earn college credit.

AP Exams: A test that is designed to be taken at the end of

It's important to realize that while both of these tools have become increasingly popular, they still are very specialized college prep tools that are not required and do not make sense for...

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AP or CLEP Tests (or neither)?

ap clep phase 3 Jul 06, 2021
 

There is a growing trend to utilize credit by examination, whether that's AP exams or CLEP tests or other tools like DSST exams.

But just because something is a trend doesn't mean it makes sense for you

Here we'll take a look at the difference between the two exams and then some criteria for you to determine if these tools make sense for you:

 

AP Exams

 

CLEP Tests

  • Not as widely accepted as AP exams, but are generally considered easier.
  • You can schedule to test whenever works for you and your local testing facility (often community colleges).
  • Exams are 90 minutes long, computer administered,...
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Pros and Cons of Pursuing an Associate Degree During High School

 

I received the following question this week: What are the pros and cons of earning an associate degree during high school?

There are more and more opportunities to earn college credit while still in high school, even leading up to a full Associate Degree. The person who asked the question lived in one of the growing number of states that offer a free or drastically reduced option for dual enrollment. This sounds great, get a whole Associate Degree while still in high school, but you should 

Pros:

  • Students can develop the study habits needed to excel at college while still in high school and with their high school resources and support team.
  • Completing an Associate Degree in high school can allow a student to jump right in to their major after graduation (rather than having to focus on general studies).
  • There are a growing number of well-paying jobs that only require an Associate Degree, providing more options for the student employment-wise (in case they decide...
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4 Reasons Every High-Schooler Should Take Personality Tests

 

One of the most frequent questions I get from parents is "how can I best help my teen figure out a career path?"

There are several tools that can help, but I always recommend starting with personality or strengths tests. There are a variety of options, but ultimately a personality or strengths test is a short quiz (taking anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending upon the exam) that provides a categorization of characteristic patterns of behavior that might be exhibited in different scenarios. Obviously these tests aren't flawless, and some will fit certain people better than others and all will have their strengths and weaknesses, but they are a good starting point.

I recommend all high school students to take at least one personality test in high school. There are four reasons in particular why I think this is the best route:

1. Personality tests provide insight.

Personality tests provide insight about the student that is beneficial for...

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ACT or SAT - Which Exam is Right for You?

act exam prep phase 3 sat Apr 28, 2021
 

Where Do I Start?

So first off when deciding whether to take the ACT or the SAT, it's important to note that since 2007 every college in the country accepts both the ACT and the SAT exam for admissions.

This means that students no longer have a college-motivated reason to take one exam over the other, but instead should take whichever exam they perform better on.

How do you determine that? Well we'll talk you through that, but first let's take a look at the basic structure of each test:

 

ACT Format

  • LENGTH: 2 hours, 55 minutes (without essay), 3 hours, 40 minutes (with essay)
  • SECTIONS: English, Math, Reading, Science Reasoning, Essay (Optional)
  • MATH: 60 minutes, 25% of your composite score, heavier on geometry than SAT, more math concepts than SAT, requires memorization of formulas, can use calculator on all questions, all questions are multiple choice
  • SCIENCE: Contains a Science Reasoning section
  • TIME PER QUESTION: Less time per question on every section than...
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High-School Credit Requirements

 

PHASE 1: ACADEMICS

What classes do I need to take?

That's a really important question, and is based on two factors:

  1. What credits are required to graduate high-school
  2. What credits are wanted by the colleges you are applying to

The answer to the first question is dependant upon the state and academic program you are with (if you are homeschooled check out the bottom of this article for a little more advice). We have a list below of the ranges of credit requirements for most states. 

The second question is a lot easier. Most colleges have relatively straightforward credit requirements, and pretty much any state's basic graduation requirements would meet the admissions requirements for ~90% of schools. There are some top-tier colleges that are looking for more challenging academic workloads, and there are some specific departments/majors that might want more than the standard number of credits (engineering may prefer students with 4+ science credits, for instance). To find...

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Considering Dual Enrollment? 4 Questions You Need To Ask First!

dual enrollment phase 3 Apr 16, 2021
 

Let's talk about a popular subject:

Dual Enrollment

Everyone seems to be doing it. And it sounds amazing: take inexpensive or even free classes at college that meet both your high school and college credit requirements.

Amazing!

Yet in my 12 years as a college prep consultant I have seen many, many families that rushed into signing their teen up for dual enrollment before they had a plan in place, and ended up shocked when they realized the credits weren't all they were hyped up to be when a college wouldn't accept their credits, or just counted them for electives and made the teen take the general studies classes again (boy is that a downer), or even realized too late that their teen wasn't ready for college-level work and was permanently stuck with a low grade on their college transcript.

Dual enrollment is a great tool for specific situations. But it can also way overpromise and underdeliver in other circumstances. So if college credit early is your goal, here...

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Should I take Algebra 2 or Geometry first?

 

Math help!

So I've received multiple questions from individuals who are planning out their course load and trying to determine whether to take Geometry or Algebra 2 after completing Algebra 1. It's an understandable question, so in this article I'll take a look at the arguments for both routes, but the short answer is either way is fine. Now let's take a look at the reasons for each route...

 

A Short History (and a little about test preparedness)

Parents, chances are pretty good that you took courses in the order of Algebra 1, Geometry, and then Algebra 2. You probably also only had to take 3 math courses in high school, and there was probably very little integration of geometry into your algebra curriculum. Since students were required to take the ACT or SAT (and usually with little to no prep work), it made more sense for students to take geometry before algebra 2 for test purposes so that they had at least seen some geometry before they took the test.

But things have...

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