College Conversations: Is a Gap Year for You?

Several years ago, my family and I had the opportunity to live in Sydney, Australia and Christ Church, New Zealand where we discovered that many of the college students we met took time off before starting university. They traveled, worked on sheep farms, in restaurants or in the tourist industry. In other words, these young Australians and New Zealanders took a Gap Year. As Americans, this was a new and interesting concept to us, since traditionally in the United States students march directly on to higher education.

The idea of taking time off before starting college is becoming more and more popular in the United States. For example, after she was accepted to Harvard University, Melia Obama took a Gap Year. She served as an intern in the American Embassy in Spain, volunteered on environmental and conservation projects in Peru and Bolivia, and worked in Hollywood, before starting college the following fall. The practice of deferring enrollment for a year, as Melia did, is a trend Harvard and many other institutions such as Colgate, Yale, Carnegie Mellon, Colorado College, and Florida State support. Helen, a student with whom I worked, was accepted to Bates College in Maine. She then she decided she needed a break. Helen paid her admissions deposit and took a year off to volunteer and travel. Bates held her spot, and she went back the following year as a freshman. About 60% of all students who take a Gap Year apply to college and then defer for six months or a year. Others wait to apply once their Gap Year is underway.

According to the American Gap Year Association, a Gap Year offers students experiential learning, new skills, different cultural and career perspectives, maturity and independence. In addition, researchers at the University of Chicago and Middlebury College found that students tend to excel in academics after taking a Gap Year and graduate from college with higher than average GPAs.

Wendy Bachman, of Boalsburg, is the parent of two Gap Year participants. She suggests that the experience of a Gap Year helps young people “learn what they don’t want to do.” It helps them to adjust to the demands of a university – both emotionally and socially – once they start their college career. She also says that “planning for a Gap Year allows a student to relax and enjoy his or her senior year and offers a gradual transition toward independence for the entire family.”

Students may choose to do one or a combination of activities during a Gap Year which often involve voluntarism, career exploration, paid work, or travel. For example, during his gap year a student might volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, the library, or for a political campaign. Career exploration might include shadowing a professional in a certain field such as physical therapy or getting an internship based on career interests in a graphic arts company or law office. Working is a great way to save money for future college expenses as well as adding to one’s resume.

Many students find part-time work in a restaurant, a bookstore, in construction, or day care while they take a class at a local college or pursue other interests in art, music, or sports. There are travel programs for mature teens to learn a language and immerse themselves in another culture. The company Visions offers language immersion and service programs in countries such as Guadeloupe or the Dominican Republic.

You can learn about structured Gap Year programs at TeenLife.com, GoAbroad.com, WhereThereBeDragons.com, or IrishGapYear.com. There are also several books available about Gap Year experiences, one of which is Gap Year: How Delaying College Changes People in Ways the World Needs, by Joe O’Shea. The idea of a Gap Year is certainly not for everyone, but for students, such as those we met in Australia and New Zealand, who aren’t quite ready to start college right after high school, a Gap Year may be the answer.

Acceptances and Making Your Decision

2018 Seniors Who Worked With Heather Have Been Accepted at the Following Colleges and Universities:

  • Case Western Reserve
  • The College of Wooster
  • Connecticut College
  • Denison University
  • Fairfield University
  • Franklin and Marshall College
  • Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Juniata College
  • Lafayette College
  • Lycoming College
  • Ohio State University
  • Penn State University-Altoona
  • Penn State University-University Park
  • Penn State University-Schreyer Honors College
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Syracuse University
  • Youngstown State University
  • Villanova University-Honors
  • University of  Connecticut
  • University  of Massachusetts-Honors
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Texas-San Antonio-Honors
Best wishes to these students who will be graduating this Spring from Canfield High School, (Youngstown, Ohio) East Catholic High School, (Manchester, CT), State College Area High School (PA), and St Joseph’s Academy, (Boalsburg PA). 

It’s Time To Make Your Decision About Which College To Attend!

You’re In! Your hard work has paid off. You may have been accepted to several colleges where you applied and now it is your turn to decide. Where will you be happy and thrive? As you are making your final choice about where to spend the next four years of your life, here are some suggestions you may want to consider as you move ahead in making your final college choice:

  • Make a list of the pros and cons of each school to which you have been offered admission. Consider location, academic majors, size, the type of students who go there, the political climate, and social scene. While making this list, talk to anyone you know who currently attends or has graduated from the colleges you are considering. They will be glad to share their impressions and experiences with you.
  • Go visit again. It is important to try and attend the accepted student “open houses” and other events such as “overnights” that colleges have in the spring for their admitted students. If you can’t make these events, try to go at another time and arrange to attend a class. Once you are on campus you can get a sense of the culture of the campus. Read the school newspaper and check out the bulletin boards. Talk informally with current students, look around, and listen. What do they do in their free time and on the weekends? Are there living and learning communities you would like to be part of or intramural teams for you to play on? If you are a recruited athlete be sure and meet with the coaching staff again and with the members of the team.
  • Check out the graduation data for each college you are considering. Find out what percentage of students graduate in four years and how many take five or six years to graduate? What percentage of the graduating class go on to graduate or professional school? How many get jobs when they graduate? What kind of career counseling is available on campus and what companies come into recruit.
  • Where will you be most comfortable academically in order to achieve your educational goals? If you think you have decided upon a major, carefully research what each college offers in the field you have selected. How many and what kind of courses are offered? How many full-time faculty are in the department along with the number of part-time faculty? Is undergraduate research encouraged? Do the schools you are considering offer you a variety of other academic choices, if you change your mind about your major? Be sure you know the kind of internships and other off-campus learning opportunities are offered. For example, students in the geosciences program at Dickinson College can spend two weeks on research projects in the Arctic, and students at Gettysburg College can spend time in Washington D.C. studying at the Eisenhower Institute.
  • Make sure you and your parents really understand the “financial aid packages” you have been offered by each school. Is a particular school offering you unsubsidized or subsidized Federal Direct Loans? Is it offering you scholarships and grants or just loans? How much are you really getting, compared to the cost of tuition? Take care not to saddle yourself with too much debt that will have to be paid off after college. Find out what fees you will be charged in addition to tuition. Don’t forget that there are other costs besides tuition and fees that you will incur such as books, travel, and recreation. Determine how you will afford these expenses. What if you no longer want to, or can play that sport for which you were offered a scholarship? Would you still want to be at that college? Could you still afford to be there?
  • You only have until May 1, 2018 to make your decision since you will need to send in your deposit confirming your place in the freshman class at the college of your choice. Be honest with yourself. Think about your own interests, values, and preferences as you make your decision. Where will you feel most comfortable and challenged?
  • Once you have decided on a college, thank your teachers, your school counselor and other professionals who have helped you along the way, so they can celebrate with you as you look ahead to new experiences. Good Luck!

Season’s Greetings

Enjoy The Holidays

This winter break, get off the couch and start exploring with some of these activities:
  1. While it’s not golf season, you can still enjoy some outdoor time. Take a hike, go for a run, build a snowman, go ice skating or sledding. Do some activities you don’t usually do when you’re busy with school. Walk downtown, go to the movies, attend a sporting event on a nearby college campus.   Ask your grandparents to teach you a card game, or play some board games with your friends
  2. Read.  Whether you read a paperback, or on your device, a good book offers a chance to imagine, learn and escape into the world of other times, cultures and settings. Reading improves your comprehension and vocabulary and may contribute to an improved SAT or ACT score. Reading is good preparation for future college courses in which you may be required to read a new book every week.
  3. Take some time to start exploring colleges by going to the website of each college you might find of interest.  You can also find out information about colleges at:  
    www.bigfuture.collegeboard.org
    or  www.collegedata.comor www.cappex.com
  4.  Think about possible careers that might be of interest to you and what you may want to major in when you go to college.  Talk to relatives or family friends who may be visiting during the holiday season and who work in certain fields that you might want to explore. Check out www.collegemajors.com
  5. Perhaps you’d like to help out with the cooking over the holidays.  Learning to cook is a great life skill. Check YouTube or online tutorials for online recipes and instructions. You’ll find cookbooks on the Schlow Memorial Library website such as Teens Cook: How to Cook What you Want to Eat, by Megan Carle. https://search.schlowlibrary.org.
  6. You may want to volunteer some of your time during your break.  Offer to babysit for a friend or neighbor to give that mom, dad or grandparent a few free hours, Get a group of friends and go caroling at a retirement or nursing home.  Explore how you can help out at your local church or synagogue.  Collect items for the food bank, a pet shelter or a homeless shelter.

Have fun over your holiday vacation and occasionally, instead of TV, videogames and snapchat, get going and try something new. With your time off enjoy exploring!

6 Tips for Your Next College Tour

Read on for a few tips for your next campus visit.
1. Learn as much as you can about a college before you go visit so you are prepared to ask relevant questions.
2. Take part in an official campus tour and information session.  Be sure the admissions office knows you are there and make some contacts.
 3. Eat lunch in the student cafe, read the school newspaper, check out what’s happening on campus on bulletin boards and talk informally with students.
4. Note the environment of campus.  What are the freshmen dorms like, the town, the athletic facilities and fitness center,  the theater and student union?
5. Arrange to meet with a faculty member to discuss your academic interests and talk with coaches if you want to play a sport.
6. Be sure and follow-up with an email or thank you note to any admissions or staff member you met and make notes of your impressions of the college or university you toured.

Colleges You May Want to Visit

I recently attended the Independent Educational Consultants Conference in Washington D. C. where I had the privilege of visiting Johns Hopkins University, Goucher College, the University of Maryland and Georgetown University.
Georgetown  University, located in historic Georgetown, is a competitive Jesuit university with strong Division I sports teams. If you are planning on a future in government or international relations you  can major in  the Walsh School of Foreign Service.
If you would like to be near urban areas, University of Maryland with 28,000 undergraduates is close to Annapolis, Washington, and Baltimore. It has an endowed school of journalism, an extensive new computer science building and a variety of living and learning communities.
At Goucher College you’ll find a new innovative curriculum where cultural competency is stressed and all students study abroad. A strong equestrian team rides on the three hundred acre campus right near Baltimore.
Johns Hopkins University encourages student involvement in the Baltimore community and boasts a 1 to 10 student faculty ratio. At JHU you will find that sixty percent of undergraduates have a double major and 75% of students participate in undergraduate research and internships.

College Decisions and Playing College Sports

College admissions results are coming in….Here are some overall acceptance rates for the Class of 2021 at: 
  • Wellesley College-21%
  • Boston College-32%
  • University of Virginia-27%
  • Georgia Tech- 23%
  • Georgetown University- 15%
  • Wake Forest University -25%
  • Middlebury College-20%
  • Swarthmore College-10%

College Decisions: What to Do When You Get In

High School is almost over and, as a senior, you’ve worked hard.  By now you have been accepted to a number of colleges where you applied Early Action, or Regular Decision.  Perhaps you have been waitlisted or denied admission by others.  The deadline for your final college decision is May 1, 2017 so it is time to take a deep breath and look at your choices.
Successful college admissions is about ending up with a choice with which you are happy.  You may be disappointed about not getting into a particular school you had your heart set on, but it is important to remember that it is not just about you and your qualifications.  It is much more about what colleges call “enrollment management” and about the fact that more students are applying to colleges than ever before. In 2016 the total number of applications submitted to the colleges and universities in this country went up 6%.  It is true that there is a college for everyone.  It is also true that there are many colleges and universities where you will thrive and be successful.   So regain your confidence, and move ahead with the choices you have.   It is now your turn to decide.
As a college admissions advisor, let me suggest several actions you may take to help you with your decision making:
  1. Make a list of the pros and cons of each school to which you have been offered admission. Consider location, academic majors, size, the type of students who go there, the political climate, and social scene. While making this list, talk to anyone you know who currently attends or has graduated from the colleges you are considering. They will be glad to share their impressions and experiences with you.
  2. If you think you have decided upon a major,  carefully research  what each college offers in the field you have selected. How many and what kind of courses are offered? How many full-time faculty are in the department along with the number of part-time faculty? Do the schools you are considering offer you a variety of other academic choices, if you change your mind about your major?  Be sure you know the kind of internships and other off-campus learning opportunities are offered.   For example, students at Colgate can study for a semester at the National Institute of Health in Maryland and students  in the geosciences program at DickinsonCollegecan spend two weeks on research projects in the Arctic.   
  3.  Make sure you and your parents really understand the “financial aid packages” you have been offered by each school.  Is a particular school offering you unsubsidized or subsidized Stafford Loans?  Is it offering you scholarships and grants or just loans?   How much are you really getting, compared to the cost of tuition? Be sure you know what fees you will be charged in addition to tuition.  For example, the University of Connecticut  charges  $3000.00 each year in “fees”  to cover technology, activities and facilities and Penn State University Park charges $947.00 in fees per year.  Don’t forget that there are other costs besides tuition and fees that you will incur such as books, travel, and recreation.  Determine how you will afford these expenses. What if you no longer want to, or can play that sport for which you were offered a scholarship?  Would you still want to be at that college? Could you still afford to be there?
  4. Go visit again. It is important to try and attend the accepted student “open houses” and other events such as “overnights” that colleges have in the spring for their admitted students.  If you can’t make these events, try to go at another time and arrange to attend a class and spend a weekend in the residence hall.
  5. Be honest with yourself. Think about your own interests, values, and preferences as you make your decision. Where will you feel most comfortable and challenged?    For example, if you have grown up in a small town, such as State College, PA or Tolland, CT a large urban campus in a distant state may look appealing and sound glamorous to you and your friends, but do you visualize yourself happy there six months from now?  Conversely, a smaller rural college in the mountains of New England may seem more to your liking now, but will it allow you to grow in the ways you want to in the next four years?
  6. Once you have decided on a college, thank your parents for all those college visits they made with you, your teachers, your school counselor and other professionals who have helped you along the way, so they can celebrate with you as you look ahead to new experiences.
You only have about a month to consider your decision since you will need to send in your deposit confirming your place in the freshman class at the college of your choice  by May 1, 2017.  Jay Mathews, author and educational columnist for the Washington Post, writes in his book, Harvard Schmarvard,
The best college to attend is the one that looks like an adventure, a place that will take you where you have always wanted to go.”
You may want to keep these words, and my suggestions in mind as you make your decision. Good Luck!

Get in the Game

Advice for High School Student Athletes

If you are an aspiring student athlete who hopes to play on a varsity team in colleges here is some advice in the article I wrote for the magazine HOME TOWN SPORTS.

Tips for Aspiring College Athletes

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, nearly eight million teenagers play high school sports. If you are one of these high school students you’ve probably worked hard on your high school team. Hopefully, you have also worked hard in your academic classes. If your goal is to play a sport in college keep the following guidelines in mind:

1. There are three divisions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

NCAA Division I: In general, offers athletics scholarships, but many Division I schools do not fully fund all of their athletic programs. For a more detailed understanding of what this means, visit: http://informedathlete.com/athletic-scholarships-financial-aid-issues/
NCAA Division II: In general, offers scholarships, but most NCAA Division II schools do not fully fund their athletic programs. For a more detailed understanding of what this means, visit: http://informedathlete.com/athletic-scholarships-financial-aid-issues/
NCAA Division III: No athletic scholarships, but many may offer merit-based, need-based, or diversity-based scholarships or grants.

No matter the Division, early in the process, you should make contact with the financial aid offices at the schools that interest you. They can explain the types of financial aid packages they offer, which in some circumstances can be in addition to or “stacked” on top of any athletics aid you receive. You and your parents also need to be sure to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Assistance) in October of your senior year.

2. If you want to compete at the NCAA level, many times high school competition is not enough to gain ample exposure. Look to join select, premiere, AAU, travel, or club teams or programs in addition to your high school team. College coaches often attend large club/AAU events because there are more athletes to see in one place versus a select number at a high school gym or field where only one game is occurring.

3. If you intend to play NCAA DI or DII sports, you MUST register with the NCAA eligibility center at www.eligbility.org. I advise that you register in your sophomore year of high school. For more information on the NCAA eligibility center requirements, see the following link: http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/EB16.pdf

4. When you visit campuses, be sure and call or email the coaching staff well in advance, to see if he or she is available to meet with you. It will help if you include video content with your communication to the coaching staff. Remember, coaches get hundreds of emails and you can’t be sure they will want to see you. In addition, it is important that your high school and club or travel team coaches are advocates for you.

5. There are hundreds of NCAA rules that may prohibit coaches from seeing and/or initiating contact with you via phone or email depending on your year in high school. Know that many times the only way a coach can communicate with you is if you contact him or her. Furthermore, your parents are considered to be an extension of you, so coaches may not be able to initiate communication with them either. According to Alex Ricker-Gilbert, the athletic director at Jacksonville University, a DI institution,: “High school student-athletes need to be proactive if they hope to be seen by college coaches. Sure, there are “superstars” that coaches might be aware of, but most recruitment usually occurs when student-athletes or their high school and club coaches initiate communication with the desired college coaching staff. It is also important to know the events that coaches traditionally attend in order to try and ensure the teams you play on have a presence at these events so your talents and abilities can be exposed. Recruitment is not a one-way road. Student-athletes have to play their part.”

6. High school athletes also need to be proactive with regard to their course work. As Richard Ciambotti, Assistant Athletic Director and Head Basketball Coach at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Boalsburg, suggests: “The most important aspect of becoming a college athlete is keeping your academics in order and committing time each day to your sport. College athletics is obviously competitive and I’ve known players who have lost scholarships because their academics were not in good standing. Additionally, anyone who has an interest in playing college sports needs to understand the commitment level required. Each day, you need to be doing something to work toward your goal, whatever it may be.”

Good luck toward reaching your goals both academically and athletically as you look ahead to your future in higher education.

New Facebook Page & Save The Date

Looking for the most up-to-date information about Higher Education and College Admissions?

Introducing CollegeGateway’s new Facebook page! It will keep you informed about the latest developments and news to help guide your college admissions journey.

Please help me develop my Facebook page by sharing it with your friends, family and colleagues.

Are You Thinking About College?

Check out my column  entitled, “Now Is the Time To Take Charge of Your College Search” in the online edition of the Centre County Gazette.

Save the Date!

Join me and other panelists from the State College Area School Board, the State High Counseling staff and Administration, and Representatives from Penn State on Tuesday, March 14, at 7:00 p.m. at the Mt. Nittany Middle School in State College to discuss the book “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be,” by New York Times writer, Frank Bruni.

Make the Most of Your Holidays

Try These Student Gift Ideas

If you  have someone on your holiday gift list who is a high school senior or someone who is already a college student, I hope you may find some of these holiday gift ideas helpful and relevant for the young adults in your life:
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers, by Sean Covey
  • A cookbook such as: 27 Easy College Cookbook Recipes, by Diana Bricker; or 4 Ingredients: One Pot, OneBowl, by Kim McCosker; or This is A Cookbook: Recipes for Real Life, by Mac and Eli Sussman.
  • How To Be a Straight A  Student, by Cal Newport
  • A gift certificate for Starbucks or an off-campus eatery for a meal or snack away from the dining hall.
  • Tickets to a sporting  event or concert at your child’s favorite college
  • For all those future or current college writing assignments I recommend: The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, by Steven Pinker; or On Writing Well, by William Zinsser.
  • A Gas Gift Card
  • Personalized stationery for thanking the teachers who wrote college application recommendations,  for future graduation gifts, or for internship assignments
  • A phone case with an external battery to extend the life of an iPhone or iPad
  • A loyalty card for a local grocery store
  • A monthly subscription to the digital music service provider, Spotify
  • Snapchat glasses for instant snapchat pictures
  • A Donation to your child’s favorite charity made in his/her name
  • The ABCs of Adulthood, by Deborah Copaken and Randy Polumbo

High School Students: Make Time to Read Over Your Holiday Break

One of the best ways to prepare for college is to read.  Reading books, blogs, magazines and news articles may contribute to your SAT and ACT test scores since reading improves your comprehension and vocabulary. So, as you look ahead to taking standardized tests in the coming months, reading should be part of your test prep.

When I recently attended an admissions information session at Columbia University, prospective students were told that, as college freshmen, they would be required to read a book a week for each of their courses. Thus, getting into the habit of reading is great preparation for future college classes.

I also encourage you to read just for pleasure and enjoyment. A good book offers a chance to imagine, to learn, and to escape into the world of literature.  Here are some of the books the students I have worked with tell me they especially liked reading:

  • Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
  • The House of the Scorpion, by  Nancy Farmer
  • Madame Secretary, by Madeleine Albright
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by J .D. Salinger
  • Fathers and Sons, by Ivan Turgenev
  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Speak, by Laurie Halse  Anderson
  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown,
  • An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green
  • The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
  • The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Wall
  • The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
  • The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
  • The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Windby William    Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
  • All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
  • Seabiscuitby Laura Hillenbrand
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret,  by Brian Selznick
  • Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, by Barack Obama
  • Tracks, by Louise Erdrich
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
You may want to check out other book suggestions at NPR’s Book Concierge.
Have fun over your holiday vacation, but occasionally instead of TV, video games, and snapchat, pick up a good book and enjoy!
  
Wishing you and your Family a Happy Holiday,
Dr. Heather Ricker-Gilbert

Harvard Dean Speaks & 2016 College Acceptances

Harvard Dean Shares Admissions Insights

 William Fitzsimmons at a lecternI recently heard William Fitzsimmons, Harvard Admissions Dean speak at the Independent Educational Consultants  Conference  about  the need for access in higher education. He is a strong proponent of the new Coalition Admissions Application.
Dean Fitzsimmons said Harvard is looking for freshmen who will engage in and work with one another in the learning process, students who will make the biggest difference to one another during their four years of college.
“The education received from fellow classmates is the most important.”

Congratulations to 2016 College Gateways Seniors who have been Admitted to the Following Colleges and Universities:

  • Mattea Whitford in Graduation Regalia

    Mattea Whitford, Great Path Academy

    Albright College (2)

  • Allegheny College
  • College of Charleston
  • College of Wooster
  • Dickinson College
  • Duquesne University (2)
  • Elon University
  • Fordham University
  • Gettysburg College
  • James Madison University
  • Lebanon Valley College
  • Penn State University, University Park  (6)
  • Rider University’s Westminster Choir College
  • Sewanee: The University  of the South
  • SUNY Purchase
  • Susquehanna University(2)
  • Temple University
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Rhode Island
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of Vermont
  • United States Coast Guard Academy
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute
  • Washington and Jefferson College
  • Washington College
  • Wilkes College
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
These seniors are graduating from the following high schools:

Grace Prep, State College, PA; Great Path Academy, Manchester, CT;  Oldfields School, Baltimore, MD; South Windsor High School, CT; State College High School, PA; Wyoming Seminary Preparatory School, Kingston, PA.

Best Wishes to You All! 

College Gateways’ Students Featured on CBS News

Productive College Visits

Video Spotlight

Watch our recent video spotlight, “School agents” helping students, parents with college process, via WTAJ at WeAreCentralPA.com. (View full printable article.)

Find out what high school students are saying about applying to college:

Before College

Bulletin Boards

As you are touring college campuses in the coming months, don’t forget to check out the bulletin boards which tell you a lot about what is going on at that particular campus. Also, you can go online and find out what are the main campus issues and activities by reading campus newspapers online.

Sophomores
What are colleges looking for?  What courses should you be taking? What college will be right for you? College Gateways offers a range of services to support you through the college admissions and application process.  Call me, text me, or email me for more information.

Juniors
Now is the time for you to be thinking about your college list, plan for college visits, create a resume, and schedule your standardized tests.  I will be happy to help you develop strategies to find the best possible college for you!  We should set up a meeting soon.

The New SAT & Successful College Placements

The Changing World of the SAT

The newly revised SAT will debut March 5, 2016. The PSAT, when it is administered in high schools in October, 2015 will reflect the new version of the test.  Click here for the full article from Tyler Morning Telegraph published on June 22, 2015.

The new SAT will include a reading and math section with a maximum score of 1600.  There will be an optional essay scored separately.  The SAT which was originally developed as an aptitude test based on critical thinking, will now be more of an achievement test based on the Common Core curricula and evidence-based reading and writing.  The math section will include algebra, problem solving and data analysis, geometry and basic trigonometry.

Current SAT test dates are:  October 3, 2015, November 7, 2015, December 5, 2015, January 23, 2016.

New SAT test dates are: March 5, 2016, May 7, 2016,  June 4, 2016

Many test preparation companies such as Ivybound and Summit Educational Group are suggesting that students either take the old SAT or focus on the ACT, since it is a known quantity.

Upcoming ACT test dates are: September 12, 2015, October 24, 2015, December 12, 2015, and February 6, 2016.

For more insight and advice on the new SAT read:
Prepping for the Future: The Redesigned SAT and the Changing College Admissions Testing Landscape by Summit Educational Group.

Make Time to Read this Summer!

One of the best ways to prepare for the SAT and ACT is by reading books, magazines and newspapers.  Reading improves your comprehension and vocabulary and may contribute to  better test scores. When I attended an admissions information session at Columbia University, prospective students were told that, as college freshmen, they would be required to read a book a week for each of their courses. So getting into the habit of reading is good preparation for future college classes.
I also encourage you to read just for pleasure and enjoyment. A good book offers a change to imagine, to learn and to escape into the world of literature.  Here are some of the books the students I have worked with tell me they especially liked reading:      Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, The House of the Scorpion, by  Nancy Farmer,  Madame Secretary by Madeleine Albright, The Catcher in the Rye, by J .D. Salinger, Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Speak, by Laurie Halse  Anderson, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown,  An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green,  The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak,  The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Wall, The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien, The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown and The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green.

You have probably read Harper Lee’s memorable book To Kill a Mockingbird. You may now want to download a copy of her newly published  book Go Set A Watchman. You may also want to check out the American Library Association’s 2015 list of best fiction for young adults.

Accepted Seniors

Congratulations to CollegeGateways Seniors Who Have Graduated from: 
Bellefonte High School (PA), Concordia International School, (Shanghai, China), Glastonbury High School (CT), East Catholic High School (CT), Portsmouth Abbey School (Rhode Island), State College Area High School (PA), and Tolland High School (CT).They have chosen to attend the following colleges and universities: 

  • Colorado College
  • Denison University
  • Fordham University
  • Harvard University
  • Loyola University Maryland
  • Penn State University
  • Syracuse University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Illinois
“The best college to attend is the one that looks like an adventure, a place that will take you where you have always wanted to go.” 

–Jay Mathews, educational columnist for The Washington Post and author of Harvard Schmarvard.