Presentation on theme: "1 Solving the College Puzzle Akhil Kohli Center Director 510-608-0701."— Presentation transcript:
1 Solving the College Puzzle Akhil Kohli Center Director
2 The College Admissions Process Remember, the admissions process is a process. There is no magic to it. Like baking a cake, the process requires understanding of the right ingredients, the proper steps, and right timing
3 Why Go To College? Higher earning power Lifetime earnings (In Millions!)
4 The World Is Changing Changing global economy – Your life is going to be a whole lot more complicated than your parents’ The Better Education You Have, The Better Your Chances In Life
5 The Ingredients GPA / Honors / AP Coursework Standardized Tests: SAT / ACT / SAT II Extracurricular Activities
6 High School Four Year Plan
7 For Graduation and College
8 GPA & AP Classes There is no formula for how many AP’s to take. Each student can handle a different workload. The key is to find the most AP classes you can realistically handle but not over-stretch yourself GPA The higher your Grade Point Average, the better off you are AP and Honors courses can help increase your GPA in certain circumstances/schools – UC schools give extra weighting to an AP grade. For example, an “A” in an AP class will give you a GPA of 5.0 instead of 4.0. A “B” would give you a 4.0, etc. – Other schools have different ways of weighting AP and Honors classes AP Courses- What They Are Advanced Placement courses are college-level classes given to high- achieving high school students. Your performance in an AP class is a good measuring stick for colleges to see how you will perform in a college-level environment. Advanced Placement (AP) classes are typically taken Junior and Senior year, with limited classes available to Sophomores High AP test scores can give you college credits, allowing you to potentially enter college with credits on your transcript or allowing you to skip entry-level classes to higher level electives When To Think About Them You should start thinking about them freshman year, but no action needs to be taken until you are entering sophomore year – Most high schools in the area only allow one AP class to sophomores. Check with you school counselor on your school’s particular policy
9 SAT I / ACT (and the PSAT / PLAN) The SAT and ACT are standardized college admissions tests normally taken by high school Juniors and Seniors as part of the admissions process Most schools will accept either of the two tests (do not have to take both). SAT I, however, is more popular here in California. The tests are administered by the testing organizations, not your school – separate registration through those companies’ websites, not your school counseling office – SAT: – ACT: There are practice tests given for these tests, usually taken during the fall of Junior year. – SAT: PSAT – ACT: PLAN
10 Example: UC Admit Profile For 2011 As you can see, the average GPA at UC Berkeley and UCLA were higher than 4.0. That is due to high performance in AP and honor level classes by the average student entering these schools
11 SAT II SAT II’s are different from the SAT I. They are subject tests that test one’s achievement in a particular academic subject Certain schools (especially the tougher ones) require students to take 1-3 SAT II’s However, some schools do not require SAT II’s in their application You want to take your SAT subject test immediately at the end of your subject of choice. This way, the material is still fresh in your mind. – This may mean you take scattered testings throughout your academic career (perhaps Chemistry at the end of Sophomore year, US History at the end of Junior year, etc.) Available Subjects Literature History – US History – World History Mathematics – Level 1 – Level 2 Sciences – Biology – Chemistry – Physics Languages – French – German – Hebrew – Latin – Spanish – Chinese – Japanese – Korean
12 Essay and Recommendations Essay Higher level schools will typically ask for an essay. Many private schools may require more than one. Do not worry about these until senior year. The questions change year to year. However, do not underestimate the amount of time you will need to spend on your essays once you start your application. These are not things that you can get done in a weekend. You will need weeks to come up with your statement, and to draft and revise. Recommendations Many schools will ask for personal references for a student. These can typically come from coaches, teachers, adult supervisors of your student’s club/extracurricular activity or other adults that interact with you in a professional manner You will not need to collect these until senior year, but as you go through high school keep in mind certain relationships that you have. Keep them warm.
13 Extracurricular Activities Common Activities: Sports Music / Choir Community Service Work / Volunteer Experience Clubs / Organizations Colleges want to see that you are a complete person, not just a study worm. They want to see: – In what you are interested – Maturity, responsibility and dependability – How you manage time and responsibilities – Your perspective on the world and how you plan on affecting it – Potential diversity you bring to the student body – Passion / Interest / Curiosity
14 Why These Ingredients? Why so many things to worry about? Colleges are seeking to discover the whole person. Any individual piece of the application gives the school an incomplete view of an applicant’s strengths and weaknesses. By having “more things to worry about” gives you a better chance at getting into the school of your choice because you get to show all of your strengths
15 Financial Aid Talk to counselors Both federal and private money is available for grants, scholarships and student loans. “Where there is a will there is a way”
16 Timing Freshman Year: – Work hard. Get acclimated to your new school. Start exploring extracurricular activities – sports, clubs, public service groups, drama, choir, etc. – If you are up for it, try an Honors class – At the end of freshman year, start thinking about and discuss the possibility of taking Honors and/or an AP class sophomore year – if allowed by your school and if you think you are up for it (don’t worry if you don’t think you are, it’s not the end of the world)
17 Timing Sophomore Year – Keep working hard. This is the second most important year of grades – Start expanding your extracurricular roles – deepen your involvement in an activity(ies) that you are passionate about. – You may be taking an AP class this year. Look ahead to potentially taking AP class(es) Junior year – You may end up taking an SAT II if you find a subject that you excel in this year – For the go-getters, try taking the PSAT sophomore year (October) just to get a feel. No downside to taking it, other than a free Saturday morning gone
18 Timing Junior Year – THE BIG YEAR – October: Take the PSAT (even if you took in Sophomore year) – Attend college fairs – Fall/Winter: Start developing a preliminary list of schools in which you are interested – Investigate scholarship opportunities through counselors and school career center – May/June: If applying to higher end schools, will probably be taking SAT II’s – Spring/Summer: Try to plan a college tour of possible schools either Spring Break or summer before Senior year – Summer after Junior Year: Request catalogs and application forms from schools of interest. – Take the SAT I sometime during this year (timing of which discussed on next page)
19 SAT I Timing – The Big Question Most common time of year to take the SAT is May or June of Junior year. However, various factors affect when the right time to take the test – What level math you are in Junior year – Sports / Extracurricular schedules – AP course load If you have finished Algebra II by the end of sophomore year, you may want to explore taking the test in the first half of Junior year, depending on class load and other activities. If you are taking Algebra II Junior year, wait until after January to start preparing, and take the test in the spring Remember, if you need to take the SAT II’s for your college choices, you need to reserve a test date (May or June) for that test
20 Case Study John Doe (Real Example, Fake Name) Freshman year took Algebra Did 3 years of Math (Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II) 2 years of Science 2 years of Spanish Played baseball Freshman and Sophmore year Prepared for SAT in the middle of Junior year Overall GPA: 3.3 SAT: 1700 Accepted to San Jose State Senior Year!
21 Case Study Jane Doe (Real Example, Fake Name) Took 4 years of Math (Through Calculus) 3 years of Science 4 years of Spanish AP US History, AP Spanish Did SAT prep after 10 th grade summer, took test in early Junior year Took SAT IIs (Spanish and History) end of Junior year Played Soccer Sophomore and Junior years Volunteered at hospital, Junior, Senior years Overall GPA: 3.8 SAT: 2060 Accepted to UC Davis Senior Year!
22 Timing Senior Year – Summer/Fall: Conduct your interviews if applying to private schools that require them – Early Fall: Start narrowing down your list of colleges to 5-7 selections. Pick 1-2 safety schools. Start collecting recommendations from teachers and/or mentors Start working on your essays Last chance to take your SAT, ACT and/or SAT II (by November or December at the latest) – Winter: Submit applications. If you are really passionate about a particular school, you may want to look at Early Decision – Spring: you got your acceptance letter! Keep up your grades second semester. Acceptance can be revoked by a schools if your grades fall too low
23 Thank You! Questions and Answers If you have follow-up questions about the process or would like to inquire about our education programs and SAT/ACT preparation services feel free to contact us at For attendees of today’s event, a thank you benefit: all evaluations are reduced to $95 (Reg. $195)