FAQs and Helpful Articles
Freshman year is not too soon to start planning your high school courses, choosing activities to become more involved in, and to visit some colleges. It's never too late to revise your plans or start the process, however.
We work on a sliding scale, depending on your family's ability to pay. No one will be denied advising for this reason. Our first visit is free. Together we'll determine about how much time your college planning advising will take and present a fee agreement at that time.
Use our contact us page to get in touch with us. We can quickly assess where you are in the process and help you prioritize the things you need to do to successfully apply to and receive admission to college.
Students sometimes put off starting college for a year, following their graduation from high school. The gap year can be spent in many productive and interesting ways: some students volunteer in the US or internationally; some pursue their sport through an academy or club to prepare for collegiate participation; others spend the year working to build their college savings. Most students apply to college during their senior year, accept admission, and request to defer attendance for a year. This is commonly done and is allowed and even encouraged by the most selective schools. Here's an interesting article on the subject.
Students who want to participate in athletics in college need to start on the process early. Often college coaches are scouting future recruits as early as freshman or sophomore year. They can begin email contact to students at the beginning of junior year, and some athletes make verbal commitments with colleges at that time. The NCAA has very specific rules about core classes high school students must complete, timing of telephone contact and visits and so on. Check our links page for websites dealing with NCAA, NAIA and more. Our team has experience with athletic recruiting, so contact us with specific questions about your sport and the division or league you are interested in.
Absolutely! Often you can visit colleges while you're on vacation, attending a camp, or traveling for an athletic or music competition. If you're in a new city, take a minute to find out which colleges are close enough to tour. For a list of colleges our team has visited and can give you specific information about, contact us! We are also happy to help you plan a college visit itinerary if you are visiting a part of the country you are unfamiliar with.
The best way to prepare for these tests is to get familiar with the test format and do a few practice tests to help with your pacing. The SAT and ACT sites both have sample tests available for you to get a feel for how these tests work. If you find you need extra help, you might consider searching for an online or local prep class or private tutoring to address specific areas that you need help in. Please contact us if you have questions in this area.
SAT Prep is now fully integrated into Khan Academy. Khan offers free, focused, online tutorials tailored to your PSAT and/or SAT scores.
Yes! The PSAT is important in terms of the scholarships that it makes available for you--not just the lucrative National Merit Scholarships, but it is an important "gateway test" to many other possible merit scholarships. The national merit finalist or commended designation is a valuable notation on your application resume, so do your best on this exam. Selective summer programs at universities often use PSAT scores to identify students to invite to their academic sessions after the sophomore and junior years.
However, PSAT scores are not presented to colleges for admission purposes, so if you're disappointed in your score, consider doing some prep before the SAT, or give the ACT a try. Both of these exams are accepted by all universities.
Five things you might consider as you think about your summer activities:
- Pursue your interests: try to participate in an activity that allows you to follow your interests and expand your horizons.
- Gain experience outside the classroom: extended learning programs or a summer job allow to you pursue valuable "hands-on" experience.
- Improve your transcript: taking a summer class, either at your high school or on a college campus can improve your GPA, give you an elective not available at your school, or allow you more options in your regular school schedule.
- Try your hand at real college work: a summer class or program at a university can give you a feel for the demands of college coursework, as well as allow you to "test drive" a college to see how you might fit in there.
- Search colleges that you have an interest in attending for the summer programs they offer, or contact us for more ideas on summer options. Here's our favorite search engine!
There are literally hundreds of scholarship opportunites out there, but many of them are such a small dollar amount that you really need to focus your search to make it worth your time. Think about your interests/abilities/special circumstances; then use sites such as Idaho CIS or your school's counseling office to sort the options.
For Idaho students planning to study in Idaho, the most important thing is to apply EARLY in senior year, and look at the Idaho State Department of Education Scholarships, and hit their deadlines, in February and March of your senior year.
The most important thing to think about when you are waitlisted is to decide if you really want to attend the waitlisted school, above all your other options. If that is the case, you need to make sure and do everything you can to reinforce your case and show the school why you are the perfect candidate for their school. Write a letter to the admissions committee reiterating your enthusiasm for the school; submit any additional testing, grades, or awards that will bolster your case. If you have a friend/relative/alumni who can vouch for your attributes and your devotion to the school, now is the time to call on them to go to bat for you. We can help you work through some of these details and improve your chances of admission.
That being said, depending on the school, there is still a relatively low chance of being admitted from the waitlist. You should consider your other options, place a deposit, and make plans in a timely manner and then see how the waitlist situation unfolds. Generally, waitlisted students find out their status by mid to late summer and often a student finds they are already happily committed to another school by the time the verdict is in.