So how did I get here?
Well to start, this is not what I though I would be doing when I was in high school or college, though I still daily use the skills I acquired along the way.
I was homeschooled all the way through my high-school graduation, and was blessed to have an insider-track on college prep with a dad who was a college professor. This led to several steps that ultimately resulted in me getting paid to go to college:
1. I had a solid academic foundation
2. I had a clear picture of what career path I wanted to pursue
3. I knew the scholarship requirements early-on and set them as goals for myself in my test-prep
4. I was careful to meet the deadlines and make the right connections along the application process, and chose to go to an affordable school (even though I could have gotten into a higher-ranked college)
5. I didn't stop searching for scholarships once I got to college, but kept pursuing funding each semester
My second year of college I started tutoring...
At the time of posting it's June, and just a few weeks away from the July ACT exam date. Is your teen ready for the test?
Even though more schools have become test-optional, that still primarily just applies to admissions. There is a LOT is riding on the ACT or SAT when it comes to scholarships, so you want your teen to be prepared! So to get ready for the July exam I wanted to pull together some resources to help you make sure you can make the most of this test. You can also grab my FREE 10-page ACT Prep Guide here, or check out my online ACT Prep Course here.
Does the ACT or SAT Make More Sense for Your Teen?
When it comes to standardized exams, you have options! Should your teen take the ACT or SAT (the two most widely accepted tests)? You may have already decided on an exam, but if you haven't (or if your teen has struggled with the exam they've been working on so far) then you should check out our video and blog article that...
A lot is riding on the ACT, especially for homeschoolers where the test can often receive more weight than your GPA. Yet for students with special needs, there is an additional challenge of getting accommodations for the ACT without the assistance of a traditional guidance counselor. Here are the steps you need to go through:
You will need a valid, current Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan (504 Plan), or documentation that specifies a "professionally diagnosed physical or mental impairment that substanially limits one or more major life activities" and "requests allowable accomodations that are appropriate and reasonable for the documented disability" (from ACT guidelines, see here for full text).
If you do NOT have an IEP or 504 you will need to submit the ACT Exceptions Statement Form.
Accommodations are also typically provided if a student has past IEP or Section 504 Plan, even if expired, especially if the...
I was paid to go to college. Yep, at the beginning of each semester I received a check from the university as a reimbursement for scholarships I had received in excess of the cost of tuition. Between undergraduate and grad school I received over $500,000 in scholarships, grants, or assistantship awards or offers, and responding to questions about how I received so many scholarships is how I got started as a college prep consultant back in 2007.
It first helps to understand where the primary sources of scholarships are, so that you can create an intentional plan. Here are the four big sources of scholarships, and where to look for them.
While the Federal government does not offer any scholarships, your state government may offer some opportunities you should look into. These vary dramatically by state, but can comprise a substantial portion of the total scholarships available. In most cases, your application for the scholarships will include...
The next SAT exam is right around the corner.
Your goal is to set yourself up for success. Here are some recommendations:
WEEK BEFORE TEST
In my online course I recommend that students not take any full-length tests the week of the exam. You don't want to mess with your mental readiness by getting a score that's lower than your target, so focus any prep work on just small sections. You can grade to see how many you got right/wrong, but don't convert to a 1600-point scale.
This is also a good time for you to review your prep notes, make flash cards, and update your strategies for each section.
If you have not been to the testing center before, drive by so you know the location and identify where you will park and where you will walk to so that you are taking away as many unknowns as possible. You want the test day to run as smoothly as possible so you can bring your best game, and surprises about testing center location, how far you have to walk, etc can throw...
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...
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...
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:
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
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!
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...
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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