College Prep

2015 College Reps Visiting Nottingham: 

Common App2016-17 Common App writing prompts

Nottingham College Night:

Junior/Senior College Planning Calendar: To-Do List for Junior and Senior Years

College Board Announces Changes to SAT; New Test Rolls Out in 2016:  SAT Changes Take Effect in 2016


Naviance: While it sounds like an indie rock band, it’s a web-based college organizer/resource that your student uses at school, often with his or her guidance counselor. Your child can begin inputting activities beginning in freshman year, start the search for colleges representative of his or her interests and access all kinds of nifty resources geared to making the college application process a little bit easier. Ask your child about this resource…chances are that he or she has been using it all along even if you were not aware of this fact.


College Application Checklist: While I’ve been told that Naviance has a similar checklist built into their program, this link ( allows parents access to what needs to be done by your child and by you. While seniors will be doing the lion’s share of the work, parents or guardians are responsible for the FAFSA ,and, in many cases, the CSS profile  ( e.g. the latter required for institutional aid in several private colleges nationwide, including Syracuse University).

FAFSA Changes for 2017–18 | Federal Student Aid  and 4 College Financial Aid Questions That Can Cost You Money | MONEY  are worth reading if you have a child planning to begin college next year.

FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form that is prepared annually by current and prospective college students to determine their eligibility for student financial aid. 

The College Board’s CSS/Financial Aid Profile is an online application that collects information used by colleges and scholarship programs to award financial aid from sources outside of the federal government.  After you fill out the application, the College Board sends it to the colleges and scholarship programs you have chosen.  Not all colleges and scholarship programs require the Profile so check with the ones you’re interested in.

Sending your Profile to one college or scholarship program costs $25. Additional reports are $16 each. Students from low-income families with limited assets can receive fee waivers.

**Quick note about the CSS profile: If your child is applying early decision (ED) or to meet a merit-based scholarship deadline (sometimes as early as November 1st) and requires the CSS profile, please note that this form needs to be completed approximately 2 weeks before that deadline. As an example, if it’s a November 1 deadline, plan on sending it  in next week…and leave plenty of time to work on it. It will take 2 hours or more to complete, as the questions are far more detailed than the FAFSA.

Writing your college essay:  There are dozen of websites available, but a stand-out example that was shared by another parent is from Tufts University. The examples are helpful as they discuss ordinary people creating a personal statement, and take some of the intimidation factor out of the process…just an opinion, of course. As a reminder, one caveat to any good essay is taking the time to edit (e.g. typos, punctuation errors, etc.) and letting others review your work.

SAT Subject Tests:   A select few colleges require them, and some others do not, but will factor those test results in when considering admissions. Students should absolutely discuss these potential tests (in a wide variety of subjects such as U.S. History, Physics, Math II, etc.), and whether he or she should take them, with his or her guidance counselor AND review college websites during the application process to see if any of these tests are required. Ivy league schools tend to love these tests, and some other private schools (and a few public schools) favor them as well. A sane approach to scheduling a subject test is to align it with the  actual subject being taught, so if your student is, for example, taking SUPA or AP U.S. history, he or she may want to register for the U.S. history subject test. One advantage to the subject test is that it is all multiple choice questions, so no essays to contend with if your student does not enjoy writing under pressure.

Say Yes Information:  Say Yes

The College Board is the website where students and parents will spend a lot of time, especially during their junior and senior years. Students will want to log in, then follow the link for STUDENTS to set up an account. They’ll use this account to register for SAT and ACT tests (and SAT Subject tests if the colleges or universities they’re interested in require them).

The College Board site will also post Advanced Placement (AP) test scores, and students will go to this site to have their AP scores sent to the college or university they decide to attend. Students HAVE to send the scores to their college or university if they scored well enough on an AP exam to receive college credit; the College Board does not automatically send the scores.

The College Board site also contains a lot of useful information about the college search process and preparing for SAT/ACT exams.

Note to parents: taking the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, ACT and AP exams costs money, and sending the scores to multiple schools also costs money. Encourage your student to think carefully about how many time he or she plans to take these entrance exams, or how many schools test scores will be sent to.

College ScholarshipsStrategies for Finding College Scholarships

College Applicants and Social Media – Check Your Profile:  Do You Need to Clean Up Your Social Media Before Applying to College?

March is traditionally the month for college acceptances (or rejections or wait listing).  Here are some thoughts on the college acceptance process: thoughts about college admissions


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