Test-Optional College Admissions

Evelyn Jerome-Alexander, M.A., CEP Evelyn Jerome-Alexander, M.A., CEP
Posted at 4/3/2020

As things are moving quickly in the world of college admissions, we’re hearing a lot about colleges deciding to go test-optional, even if it’s just a temporary move.  What do colleges mean when they say they are test-optional, and who benefits from a test-optional admission process?

Why do colleges go test-optional?
Colleges decide to go test-optional for different reasons.  There are studies showing different data about what the SAT and ACT actually indicate, whether or not they correlate to students’ ability to succeed in college.  Additionally, some studies indicate that the tests discriminate against different types of students.   You may believe the tests show intelligence, and that a higher score means you’re smarter than someone who has a lower score, but that’s not necessarily how colleges interpret test scores.

When colleges announce a new test-optional policy, they may be attempting to level the playing field, to attract more students who don’t necessarily ...more

Categories: Application & Essay Guidance  |  Comprehensive College Guidance  |  Featured  |  Test Prep
  • testing
  • test prep
  • test optional

Coronavirus Throws Colleges A Curveball

Evelyn Jerome-Alexander, M.A., CEP Evelyn Jerome-Alexander, M.A., CEP
Posted at 3/14/2020

In between running to pick up your kids from what could have been their final day at school in person for the semester and dashing to the supermarket to grab the last package of TP, you might have a few questions about how coronavirus will impact your child’s college application process.

Hopefully this post will provide some answers.  Feel free to contact us if you have questions specific to your child’s college admission process.

Class of 2020

You’re probably right in the throes of receiving your college admission decisions.  Congrats!  A handful of colleges are still reviewing application files; most colleges have reviewed files remotely for years and can easily transition back to remote file review as they make their final admission decisions.  You’ll get your decisions soon!

However, if you didn’t visit all of the colleges to which you applied, and were planning to visit during spring break, you may find yourself in the strange position of having to make a decis...more

Categories: Application & Essay Guidance  |  Comprehensive College Guidance

Quick Webinar: Three College Admission Tips for Parents

Evelyn Jerome-Alexander, M.A., CEP Evelyn Jerome-Alexander, M.A., CEP
Posted at 2/7/2020

Happy to present our '3 College Admission Tips for Parents' webinar



Categories: Application & Essay Guidance  |  Comprehensive College Guidance  |  Featured
  • captioned
  • parenting
  • college apps
  • college admissions
  • inclusion
  • access
  • Class of 2021
  • Class of 2022
  • Class of 2023

When Should I Take the SAT or ACT?

Evelyn Jerome-Alexander, M.A., CEP Evelyn Jerome-Alexander, M.A., CEP
Posted at 8/27/2018

While most people would tell you that the “right time” for students to take the SAT or ACT is spring of their junior year, the reality is that it depends on a few things.  One of the most important factors in determining a student’s testing timeline is whether or not the student has completed Algebra 2.

If you’ve taken Algebra 2, you’re probably ready to start prepping!  And if you haven’t taken it, you aren’t ready and you’ll likely be frustrated, because you’ll be presented with math questions you have absolutely no idea how to approach or solve.
So here’s how we advise our clients:

If you take Algebra 2 in 10th grade, great!  During the summer between 10th and 11th, take a full-length practice SAT, and a full-length practice ACT.  These will not be fun.  And they should be real, retired exams (see below for explanation on this).  After you’ve taken both practice tests, it’s time to determine which you like better, and on which you sc...more

Categories: Application & Essay Guidance
  • college admissions testing
  • SAT
  • ACT

Advice For Juniors Part II: Taking Notes & Taking Ownership

Tina Boyer Tina Boyer
Posted at 4/25/2018

In addition to practice writing, the other form of “essay prep” that naturally occurs during junior year is researching the colleges on your prospective list. While doing this research, take written notes on each school. Include the things that interest you most and make a note of anything unique to a particular school. Jot down the reasons why the school could be a good fit for you. Same deal for campus visits: take notes! These notes will save you precious time and energy when you’re ready to tackle the “Why Us” supplemental essays on your applications.
Now it may sound like my advice to date is adding extra work to your already busy life. And it can be tempting for a well-intentioned parent to want to step in and do some of this early prep work. But the college application process is a crucial step in a student’s growth and that growth starts with the student taking ownership of their process.
So, it goes without saying that you will be the sole author of your c...more

Categories: Application & Essay Guidance
  • College Essays
  • Essay Prep
  • Supplemental Essays
  • Owning The Process

Advice For Juniors Part I: Journaling/Practicing Personal Narratives

Tina Boyer Tina Boyer
Posted at 4/16/2018

I’m a firm believer that the best time to work on your college application essays is the summer before senior year. But when that time comes, some juniors feel a little leery about shifting their writing style to personal narratives after spending their high school years focused on expository writing (aka thesis papers). Unlike most school assignments, your college application essays require you to tell stories about yourself.

If you want to get into a “personal narrative mindset,” you may find it helpful to do some journaling. Journaling is simply writing down your experiences, thoughts and reflections. You can spend as much or as little time as you like and you can write in whatever form you choose: by hand, on your computer, your phone, etc. It’s helpful to have a central location (whether it’s an actual journal, digital document, etc) to keep all your entries. I strongly recommend not posting your writing to social media; journaling is for you, not the rest of humanity. In add...more

Categories: Application & Essay Guidance
  • College Essays
  • Personal Statements
  • Juniors
  • Writing Practice

New Year's Resolutions for High School Students - Alliteration Style

Evelyn Jerome-Alexander, M.A., CEP Evelyn Jerome-Alexander, M.A., CEP
Posted at 1/29/2018

Contribute to a Club
This comment typically results in a giant eye roll from high schoolers, but hear us out!  It is a small investment on time that could potentially reap great rewards.  If you haven’t participated in a club thus far, now’s the time to do some investigating and commit to participating in something new for the spring semester.  If you’ve already been participating in a club, take it to the next level by raising your hand for a leadership position or simply diving deeper into the club.  It’s important to realize that any type of participation is important and meaningful if you make it that way – you don’t have to have a title next to your name.  More importantly, it’s worthwhile if it speaks to who you are.  Who knows, you may discover a hidden talent or new best friend along the way!

Ramp up the Rigor
Now’s the time:  show colleges you can handle tough academic work!  Colleges are looking to see that you are challenging your...more

Categories: Application & Essay Guidance  |  Comprehensive College Guidance
  • college advice
  • new year's resolutions

What's my GPA for College Admissions? Weighted or Unweighted?

Evelyn Jerome-Alexander, M.A., CEP Evelyn Jerome-Alexander, M.A., CEP
Posted at 1/8/2018

When a parent first calls us, they invariably report to us their child’s most recent semester GPA – in weighted format.  We usually have to break the bad news that the GPA for college admissions purposes is a student’s unweighted, academic, 9th grade through 11th grade GPA.  And it’s almost always lower than you think it is.

The problem is that there’s no ‘standard’ way for high schools to report GPAs, and there’s no ‘standard’ way for colleges to require them. So that leaves us in the horrible gray area where high schools can calculate students’ GPAs however they want – and report whatever numbers they choose to parents and students.  In some cases, high schools report multiple GPAs on a student’s transcript.  In the worst instances, some high schools report ONLY the weighted overall GPA.

On top of the weighting issue, many high schools include EVERY class a student has taken in high school in their GPA, such as athletics and non-academic electives.&n...more

Categories: Comprehensive College Guidance  |  Application & Essay Guidance
  • GPA
  • weighted GPA
  • unweighted GPA
  • weighted vs. unweighted GPA