Test Optional Should My Teen Bother with ACT or SAT?

 

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I recently answered this question for a popular news outlet, 'What’s different in college admissions now, then just last year or many years ago?' On the same day, a client asked, "With all of the colleges going 'test-optional' should my teen bother taking the ACT or SAT?"

There are a lot of weird things going on in the age of COVID and those weird things do have an impact on college admissions.

I want to talk specifically about taking the ACT and SAT exams. These are the high stakes exams that have been in place for decades!

Parents are under the mistaken impression that all colleges and universities have gone ‘test-optional’.

But what IS test-optional and why should you care?

Test optional in college admissions is an option the student has to submit or not submit their ACT and SAT scores for college admissions decisions. What they are saying is that if the student chooses to not submit their test scores, the college will use the rest...

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FAFSA-3 BIG Mistakes that Cost You Money & Why Everyone Needs to File

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The FAFSA-3 Big mistakes that cost you money! & YES! You need to file

Hi, I’m Denise Thomas.

Today is October 1st, it’s FAFSA day!

This is the day the Free Application for Federal Student Aid opens for high school seniors.

First, Don’t panic! You do NOT have to submit the application today! This is just the date that it opens. But I do suggest that you file it sometime this month because the money is given out on a first-come-first-served basis.

Now, most parents are under the mistaken belief that it’s not worth filing the FAFSA because they make too much money to ‘get anything’. Just last week a parent asked in confidence, “My husband makes 200,000 dollars a year, should we bother with the FAFSA?

The short answer is YES. Everyone needs to file the FAFSA.

The application is not only for federal grant eligibility for low-income families. Without filing the FAFSA your teen won’t be offered a work-study job on campus or...

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Students Talk About How They Went to College Debt Free

There are many paths to a debt-free college education even without using parents' money. Here are a few keys talked about in this video.:

1-Talk with your kids early, in or before freshman year, about the financial expectation of college. 

2-Have a strategy

3-Living at home saves tens of thousands of dollars

4-Working and saving for college from an early age. Working during college.  

5-Winning scholarships begets more scholarships. Both college admissions and scholarship committees like 'winners'. Having won even one scholarship is 'proof of concept' not only to you, that you can do it and it's worth your time but committees tend to look with more enthusiasm when you already have a win on your resume.

(Image credit: pexels-buro-millennial-1438072)

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Elon Musk Rules for Success-Work Like Hell

The first rule, "Work Like Hell." I'm not going to sugar coat it. I want you to succeed as I did. A debt-free college education can change your life and the lives of your kids. It's worth it. Hands down. You'll never hear someone say, they wish they had college loans instead of going through the effort to gain a debt-free degree. But you will hear, 'It wasn't worth it' when they've graduated with tens or hundreds of thousands in student loan debt. 

There are a lot of takeaways and 'gold nuggets' when you have the opportunity to listen to Elon Musk in this video. But his first 'rule for success' in this interview is 'Work Like Hell".  I have to agree.

Very little comes from a silver platter in life and when the goal is to achieve a debt-free college education, there is work involved. A lot of work. Someone has to look for scholarships. Someone has to complete the application (your kid.) I've known National Merit Scholar parents expected scholarship offers to show...

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Make a Difference

Colleges expect to see some number of community service hours. It really doesn’t matter how many hours exactly. They will also know how many hours of service is required for graduation from your high school. So if your high school requires 50 hours of community service and you have exactly 50 hours, they will know it. Keep that in mind.

What is more important than the number of hours to college admissions is the impact you are making on your community, what you have done, why you are doing it, and what you are getting out of it (how participating in this service activity has affected you.) You should be able to answer these questions. Community service that showcases the best vision of who you are will include commitment, passion, and leadership.

Commitment to one organization or type of service. Most admissions officers would rather see something long term over the course of time rather than a quick one-week volunteering in another country. That’s not to...

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Course Rigor vs GPA - What’s Really Important?

Course Rigor vs GPA - What’s Really Important?

There’s a lot of pressure in choosing the right courses for high school. Should your teen take regular classes, honors, or AP? Is it better to have a higher GPA in regular classes or a slightly lower GPA in AP or honors courses? Is GPA more important for college admissions? And what about stress and burn out? Don’t they need time to have after school activities and some ‘downtime?’

Keep in mind, AP, Honors and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses only look good when the grades are A’s and B’s. This is because schools offering theses classes usually bump up the grade points for those classes (meaning your teen gets credit 5 points for an A, 4 for a B, 3 for a C instead of the typical 4,3 and 2 credit points respectively) it inflates your teens GPA. Therefore almost EVERY college recalculates the GPA WITHOUT those extra points. (A few colleges use the extra points when nearly every student is...

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What Your Teen Should Know Before Leaving the Nest! (Part 3)

Missed Parts 1 & 2? Start here: 

https://www.getaheadoftheclass.com/blog/What-your-teen-should-know-before-leaving-the-nest-Part-1

If your teen is going to college or venturing out immediately after high school your young adult is probably missing several very Important skills for adulting. Take a quick look at this series of videos for suggestions of things you can include in preparing your teen for the real world.

Here's the link to the 12 Scholarship Hacks: 

https://www.getaheadoftheclass.com/12-Winning-Scholarship-Hacks-Opt-In-Download

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What Your Teen Should Know Before Leaving the Nest! (Part 2)

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Missed part 1? https://www.getaheadoftheclass.com/blog/What-your-teen-should-know-before-leaving-the-nest-Part-1)

If your teen is going to college or venturing out immediately after high school your young adult is probably missing several very Important skills for adulting. Take a quick look at this series of videos for suggestions of things you can include in preparing your teen for the real world. 

Here's the link to the 12 Scholarship Hacks! 

https://www.getaheadoftheclass.com/12-Winning-Scholarship-Hacks-Opt-In-Download

 

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What your teen should know before leaving the nest! (Part 1)

 If your teen is going to college or venturing out immediately after high school your young adult is probably missing several very Important skills for adulting. Take a quick look at this series of videos for suggestions of things you can include in preparing your teen for the real world. 

Go here to part 2: 

https://www.getaheadoftheclass.com/blog/what-your-teen-should-know-before-leaving-the-nest-part-2

 Here's the link to the 12 Scholarship Hacks! 

https://www.getaheadoftheclass.com/12-Winning-Scholarship-Hacks-Opt-In-Download

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How would you handle $1,000,000 in Student Loan Debt?

Just because there is the very real potential of a large income, does not mean you should blindly take on excessive college loan debt. This gentleman has $1Million in student loan debt. Yes, he has a high income, but he will have to live like a broke college student to get through it. (Think of it as a $100,000 debt on a $25,000 income!) 
It won't be pretty.
Do the math. After taxes, an extremely huge chunk will go toward those loans. And he has more than one!

Download the Checklist, "12 Scholarship Hacks: Tips from Prestigious Scholarship Judges" and help your teen get on the path to a debt-free degree. (Link in the sidebar.)

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