What does "TEST OPTIONAL" really mean...?

What does "TEST OPTIONAL" really mean...?

Test optional means you do not need a test score attached to your application for your application to be considered complete and reviewed for admission. It does not mean that students without a test score will be reviewed in the same way, despite what some colleges advertise. Unfortunately, human judgment will still play a huge role in admission decisions during this coming application cycle. So much so that many admission reps at selective schools have shared with KMAC that if they took all of their applicants and spread them out in a room again, they are likely to select completely different students because the majority of their applicants are so similar in grades, test scores, resumes, and awards.

What we have witnessed repeatedly is that students who submitted test scores, even when their scores were slightly below the average for a school, have been granted acceptance at a much higher rate than students who do...

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Why Do Some Students Get Scholarships And Others Don't?

Let's talk about scholarships!

I had a woman reach out to me. Her son had a 4.3 GPA. He had all of the extracurriculars, the volunteer work, foreign language, and yet he didn't receive a single scholarship and they were perplexed. They thought that they did everything right— so where was their scholarship money?

Why do some kids get scholarships and others don't? Sometimes it comes down to the school.

If money is a factor when going through the college selection process and planning your child's future, as it is for most families, figuring out what schools to apply for ahead of time is crucial. The types of school that your child applies to can determine how much money they are awarded. There are some schools that are very generous with the money they award, and there are others that are not.

Often, really elite and selective schools aren't that generous because they have a waiting list. They don't need to incentivize students to attend— if you don't want to take that...

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How To Help Your Child Choose The Right Career Path

One of the goals of high school is to prepare students for the “next level” of education, but the reality is that the "next level" is different for everyone. Not all careers begin with a 4-year degree. Some require a post-graduate degree (which means more than 4 years!), or maybe a 2-year degree, technical or trade school, apprenticeships, or none of the above! The question becomes, how do you decide what kind of school or training you should pursue?

You work backwards!

So many students assume that the next step for them is applying to college at a 4-year school, when they should really be thinking about what they ultimately want to do with their lives. By choosing a career end goal, a student can piece out what steps they need to take in between where they are now and where they want to be.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Your child has been asked this question since they could talk. And while their answers may have changed from the princess, dinosaur,...

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How To Start Your College Planning

Making a plan EARLY makes a difference!

When you child's senior year rolls around and they have to sit down to list out their activities and achievements, what are they going to put down? What will their grades look like? What will they write their admissions essays about? These are all questions to consider early, before the last-minute crunch time stress sets in. Knowing what information to keep track of and look for early can save heaps of stress and set your child apart from the rest. 

9th Grade College Planning Timeline

  • Get Involved. Try new things. No one is asking you to commit to something for four
    years, just try it.

    Clubs, sports, music, drama, yearbook, student council are all valuable on your college application. Don't see something that interests you? Create a club or activity! I know students that have organized a 5k fundraiser for a family that suffered a loss. Think outside the box. If you have the opportunity to take a leadership role, do it. Participation...
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BENEFITS TO LEARNING OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM

What is the most important piece of advice that students should follow?

Should they take as many AP or CCP classes possible? Play three sports? Or perhaps specialize in just one sport? Take a foreign language? Or maybe take a specific foreign language like Latin? While all of those pieces of advice could be helpful in the right context, the most important piece of advice that students should follow is to learn outside of the classroom.

Learning outside of the classroom offers many benefits for students, from the concrete benefits that can be added to a resume or college application, to the more esoteric benefits of becoming a more learned or well-read individual.

Starting with the former, many colleges, especially more selective schools, are looking to admit students that have a demonstrated thirst for knowledge. It is frequently forgotten that students are not only competing amongst their peers at their own high school or in their conference,...

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Approaching College With Foresight

From the day your kids were born, you wanted to create the best possible life for them. So, what did you do?

You planned.

You planned absolutely anything you could, from the big stuff like finding the best preschool to enroll them in to the small stuff like their lunch and outfits for their first day of school. Mapping out your child’s life to set them up for maximal success was never easy, but as they grow up that map becomes much messier, harder to decipher. More avenues are opened, creating more possibilities. In the blink of an eye, the most difficult decision you have to help them make shifts from whether they want a PB & J or a turkey sandwich for lunch to what career they should pursue to ensure a lifetime of happiness and prosperity.

There are so many moving parts that take off at a break-neck speed before your child is even allowed to use the restroom at school without a teacher’s permission. There are college entrance exams to be taken, resumes to...

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Everything You Need to Know When Applying for Financial Aid

FINANCIAL AID 101


Financial aid is money to help pay for college!

Before beginning the FAFSA, you must apply for an FSA ID at StudentAid.gov. This will be used for all financial aid and used for your electronic signature on all financial aid documents. Write this down somewhere!
 
Remember that the FAFSA belongs to the student. The student needs to create an FSA ID using their personal information. They should use a personal e-mail account rather than a school e-mail account, as their current high school e-mail will be disabled after graduation.
When creating an FSA ID, the student will receive both an email and a text message to confirm their identity. The codes supplied in those messages are time sensitive and must be entered into the system to proceed. Please be sure your child is able to access this information while filling it out. In other words— do not attempt to do this while they are at school and have limited access to their e-mail and text...
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3 Tips That Could Save You Thousands On College

1. Make sure your child picks the right fit (both college and major/minor!)

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 41% of students graduate college within 4 years. With each additional semester, tens of thousands of dollars add up. According to data from the University of Texas, those who graduate in 6 years instead of 4 spend 40% more than those who graduate in 4 years.

What causes this?

Multiple things can cause this, but a few of the most common reasons are changing majors, transferring, or taking unnecessary courses.

Why is prolonged graduation common?

Many times students choose a college that they know little about. Their entire decision may be made based on a one-time visit or virtual tour. Many students forego the time consuming process of researching important information, such as:

  • The program of studies accompanying the major the student chooses.
  • Prospective job or career paths possible after graduating with that major.
  • Will there be a demand for...
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Important ACT Information & Hints

act act prep tips Sep 23, 2021

HELPFUL HINTS

Have your child take the test early— definitely by sophomore year. They will take it with no pressure, better understand what is on the test and be better prepared later.

 

Register for the April, June or December test since it allows you to purchase the Test Information Release.

The other test dates do not. This is extremely valuable as many students will say “I have never learned some of the math.” or “I didn't do well on science because it was all physics and I have not had physics.” The reality however is that a student does not need Physics or high-level math to do well on the test, and getting their test back and being able to review it with a professional will help them understand this. It will also help them better prepare in the future and recognize the strategies needed more effectively.

If you do not select schools to receive your scores when you register, it is currently $16 per test date to send them later.

If you can...

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WHY THE ACT IS SO IMPORTANT

First and foremost, colleges are businesses!

There are many reasons that colleges prefer to see a standardized test. One reason is that the curriculum in each high school, and certainly each state varies. When you consider the resources some students have because of their school district versus the lack in others, it is easy to conclude that the level of exposure/mastery a student in a struggling district has when earning an A may be vastly different than a student who earns an A in a district rich with resources like 3D printers, computers for every student, large designated laboratories for science classes and so forth.

Colleges are all too familiar with students who have received generous grades due to being well liked, a star athlete, a star student who is popular, who are not prepared to handle rigorous classes in college. If you have heard your son or daughter mention that the teacher is giving students more time to finish the test because some did not, or someone is able to...

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