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College Planning

College Planning

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What is a college?

Regardless of your background and/or socio-economic status, everyone has the opportunity to go to college. Even, if your grades weren't always perfect, or the best, there is a college for you. Even if you have a disability, every college in the country has a Disability Resource Center on campus to help you make it through college.Any post-secondary (after High School) education that is at least 2 years of education. This includes community colleges, vocational or trade schools, and 4-year colleges/universities. Students who go to college and obtain at least a long-term certificate make on average $6,100 more a year than a person who did not. A 4-year college grad earns an average of 60% more (which is $36,000 plus a year).

Types of Colleges

Community College

2-year colleges, although for some it may take longer depending on number of classes you take. They offer Associate Degrees and Certificate Programs.  They also offer technical training in specific occupations, (booking keeping, culinary arts, cosmetology, health professions, etc.). Students may attend part-time or full-time.  Students can take some college classes while in high school, which will help them finish college or obtain a college degree faster. A great way to get a specialty or skilled training at a low cost. Plus, each community college has agreements for students to transfer from their 2-year college to a 4-year college.

State Colleges and Universities, Private and Independent

4-year+ colleges that offer Bachelor of Arts/Science degrees, Master of Arts/Science degrees, J.D. (Juris Doctorate), M.D. (Doctor pf Medicine) and Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)  degrees.


We recommend you take both tests in order to boost your chances of getting into the college of your choice.  All colleges accept BOTH tests.  Some people score higher on ACT vs. SAT and vice versa.  With the NEW SAT test, it is now more along the lines of the ACT.  They are in line to a student’s applied knowledge, and include what they should have learned up to a student’s present age or grade level.

The ACT is an abbreviation of American College Testing. A college readiness assessment is a standardized test for high school achievement and college admissions in the United States produced by ACT, Inc.  The highest score one can achieve on the ACT test is 36.

The SAT used to stand for Scholastic Aptitude Test, then it was change to Scholastic Assessment Test, and now apparently through much concern and better understanding, it is just called the SAT test. It doesn’t stand for anything; it is just the name of the test that is also used by colleges to accept students into college.  The old test had 3 parts-Critical Reading, Math, and Essay for a maximum score of 800 in each section for a total score of 2400.  The essay section is no longer required, so the maximum score is 1600, and it is more aligned to the way students are taught or learn in school.  

The ACT and SAT is not a requirement of all colleges.  Many colleges have omitted the ACT and SAT from being a requirement.  Many college presidents feel these tests don’t measure the real student.

The New SAT, which launched on March 5th of 2016, is basically a carbon copy of the ACT – it was designed to be just that.

what's the difference?

- The New SAT doesn’t have a science section. The ACT does, but is has nothing to do with science.

- The essays are different. Both tests come with optional essays. The ACT essay asks you to come up with your own argument and support it – the New SAT essay asks you to evaluate an argument that someone else has already written for you. Neither is easier or harder; it’s just an issue of personal preference.

- The New SAT has a few fill-in-the-blank math problems, and half of the math problems don’t allow calculator use. The ACT lets you use a calculator on all of its math problems, and all the answers are multiple choice. The New SAT has a “with calculator” and “without calculator” section, and 13 of its problems force you to fill in your own answer. The “without calculator” problems aren’t difficult because they don’t require any difficult arithmetic, so it’s not that much of an issue.

- The New SAT is far less “time intensive.” This is the big issue that really separates the two exams. The New SAT gives you far more time per problem, so it’s a much less intense testing experience. Alternatively, the ACT makes you go at a blisteringly fast pace.

- Aside from those differences, the tests are practically identical. The material tested is the same. The formatting is basically the same. They both test your knowledge of math, English grammar, and reading comprehension. They both take 3-4 hours to complete. And they both accomplish the exact same goal: help you get accepted to college, and possibly help you get more money for college if you score well.

Essay Writing Tips

Consider the Topic

Read the essay requirements.

Prepare your Facts

Plan your essay before you write.

- Think about each question or topic and make an outline of what you plan to write.

- Make a list of your achievements/accomplishments (both academic and other), community involvement and leadership positions you have had in school or your community.

- Make a list of your personal characteristics including your strengths, weaknesses, and any obstacles you have overcome or are currently confronting.

- Determine key pieces of information you feel the committee should know about you and have concrete examples to demonstrate your points.

Writing the Essay

The Introduction
Begin with a strong introduction. You want your essay to stand out from all the others. Be sure your introduction captures the readers' attention and compels them to learn as much as they can about you in the following paragraphs.

Be Personal
Make sure the committee can assess what type of person you are and what motivates you.

Be Specific
Give examples. Do not simply tell the committee you are a leader; give an example of how you have demonstrated leadership.

Turn Negatives into Positives
If you have an obvious weakness such as limited extracurricular activities, show the committee that you have been particularly involved with your family or the classes you have taken, depending on your personal situation.

Follow Standard Grammar and Writing Rules
Make sure your body paragraphs relate to your introduction and that your conclusion summarizes the points you have made in your essay.

Review your Essay

Do we have to say this? Proofread, proofread, and proofread!

- Have several people read your essay.
- Edit it for clarity, conciseness, grammar, and spelling.
- Did you address the essay topic?
- Does the essay convey who you are and why you should receive a scholarship?
- Is the essay interesting? Does it come alive when you read it?
- Did you provide examples of your skills and abilities rather than broad statements and claims?
- Does the essay meet the word count requirement?

What is a Major?

A major is a group of courses that focus and shape a student’s skills, development, and experiences. A major should interest and excite a student, as it will take a significant amount of their academic time and energy. Majors can be Biology, Computer Science, Engineering, Psychology, Business, Physics, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapy, Gerontology, Sociology, and so on.

Choosing a Major

We suggest a student major and go into a profession that he or she has passion for.  For instance, if you love sports, you may want to think about being a Physical Therapist, Sports Medicine, Communications as a Sports Announcer.  You love building, being innovative, solving problems to help make life better, you may want to major in engineering.  

Know your interests- what you love, who you are, what makes you…you.

Research- check out all majors and what’s available, interview family or people that you think you would like doing what they do, shadow people while they are working to see if it is something you would like.

Make sure you do your homework and see what jobs/careers exist for the type of major you are thinking about. Remember your major should be what you love. Find what interests you and research it.
And please ask questions.

What is Financial Aid?

Money to pay for college, career, trade or vocational school. This financial assistance covers educational expenses including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. The different types of aid are:

- Grant
- Scholarships
- Work Study
- Loans

Grants and Scholarships do not have to be paid back.  This is FREE money.  Work Study gives you work on or around campus while you go to school.  Hours are flexible and employers know school comes first.
There are BILLIONS of dollars available in financial aid.