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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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Update on the SAT: Dropped Essay and Subject Tests

 

College Board made a big announcement in January that they were going to be discontinuing the SAT Subject Tests, discontinuing the optional SAT essay, and also that they were going to continue working towards a digitally delivered version of the SAT. 

What does this mean?

Dropped Subject Tests

The SAT Subject Tests were exams over individual subject areas that were used to supplement the primary SAT in the application process. Unlike the AP or CLEP tests, the SAT Subject Tests did not offer the possibility of earning students college credit.

The reality is fewer colleges have been requiring/recommending the SAT Subject tests anyways, with the ones who have been using the tests primarily being top-tier schools. So for most schools, this part of the announcement will not matter. College Board made this as a business decision, reflecting the fact that the demand for these tests was no longer there (amplified all the more by the COVID challenges to testing availability).

If...

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FREE Resources for the AP & CLEP exams

One of my recommendations if you decide to attempt credit by examination (using AP or CLEP tests) is to get a prep book (or online resource) and work through the book while completing your related high school subject.

With it being January and the start of a new semester, it's a great time to start preparing for the tests.

I won't get into the details about the AP & CLEP here, but rather want to point you to some awesome resources to help you be ready!

NOTE: though there are definite differences in the exam formats, resources to help you prepare for the AP can typically be used to prep for the CLEP and vice versa.


AP EXAMS

  • Khan Academy: Khan Academy has teamed up with College Board to offer free courses for many of the AP exams. These even include videos that work through actual problems from the tests (something most publishers can't do due to copyright issues). Khan Academy's courses include:
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Math Worksheets, Videos and Resources

Math. The sheer word can strike terror in the hearts of parents and students alike. I’ve been tutoring math for 13 years, and the number of technology tools to help students learn math has grown exponentially. For those times when you need some extra support, here is my top collection of resources for more practice and help (I am not paid for any of these recommendations):

 


 

WORSKHEETS

Sometimes all that’s needed is some extra practice. Here are some websites that can allow you to create or locate free worksheets:

 

www.kutasoftware.com

Free, pre-created worksheets for every primary concept pre-algebra through calculus.

  

www.math-drills.com 

While not as extensive as Kuta Software, Math-Drills still has a robust number of math worksheets available. 

 

www.effortlessmath.com

A collection of math worksheets, practice problems and videos for Algebra 1, Algebra 2, the PSAT and the SAT

 

www.softschools.com

This website...

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Tennessee Hope Scholarship VS The Tennessee Promise: What's The Difference?

 

IMPORTANT: The deadline to apply for the Tennessee Promise Scholarship is TODAY November 2 (11/2/2020)! You can apply online here.

Want personalized help on the college prep process? Schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation with college prep expert Matthew Bullington here!

Okay, so I'm just going to say, if you don't live in Tennessee, this post isn't for you.

Talk to you later!

But...if you do (like myself) live in the great state of Tennessee, keep reading...

I received a question last week asking "what is the difference between the Tennessee Hope Scholarship and the Tennessee Promise?"

Fair question. 

While the TN websites for each are fairly straightforward, there really isn't that much that concisely deals with what the difference is between the two, so I wanted to address that here.

SHORT ANSWER: The Tennessee Hope Scholarship is a 4-year scholarship funded by the state lottery that can be applied to any college/university in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Promise...

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