The College Application Process

Report
A Parent’s Informal Guide to the
College Application Process
Sarah Kim Mason
Former President, SAGT
Parent of CISD graduates and current CISD student
Disclaimer: This is based on personal experience and is not intended to replace
any policies or recommendations of Carroll ISD.
Acronyms to Know
SAT
PSAT
NMSQT
ACT
AP
Pre-AP
SAT
Scholastic
Aptitude
Exam
PSAT
Preliminary
Scholastic
Aptitude
Exam
NMSQT
National
Merit
Scholarship
Qualifying
Test
ACT
American
College
Testing
AP
Advanced
Placement
Pre-AP
Pre-Advanced
Placement
Timelines
9th Grade
PSAT in October
College visits whenever possible
th
10
Grade
Summer: PSAT prep
College Visits
Collect college materials
Attend College Fairs
th
11
Grade
Summer: PSAT prep
October: PSAT will be
administered to all Juniors
Continue college visits and
attendance at college fairs
Why is the PSAT such a big
deal??
The PSAT/NMSQT scores are
used to identify participants for
National Merit program
recognition.
National Merit Program
Status
Commended Students
Approximately 2/3 of the top 50,000 PSAT
scores will receive letters of
Commendation in recognition of their
outstanding academic promise, but they
will not continue in the competition for
National Merit Scholarships.
National Merit Program
Status
Semifinalist
Approximately 1/3 of the top 50,000 PSAT
scores will be notified that they have qualified
as Semifinalists. Semifinalists are the highest
scoring entrants in each state and are notified
through their schools. They are eligible to
advance in the competition for National Merit
Scholarships in the following year.
National Merit Program
Status
This is not intended to predict future success of probability of
qualifying for the National Merit Program. This is FYI ONLY!
Commended Scores
Selection Index Scores have historically ranged from
200-215
Semifinalist Scores
Selection Index Scores have historically ranged from
around 220 and above
A Note about Standardized
Testing Accommodations
For students with a disability and
served either by Special Education
or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act, certain testing accommodations
or modifications may be possible
depending on the severity of the
condition or disability.
Class Rank
Does it still matter?
CISD elected not to rank students like many
other high performing districts in Texas.
However, the 10% of the graduating class is,
by Texas law, guaranteed admission to a state
school with the exception of UT Austin (which
is only required to automatically accept the
top 7%)
Class Rank
How important is it?
A 2009 Princeton study of Texas students was
consistent with previous national studies from
1988 (Crouse and Trusheim) and 2002 (Pike)
that a student’s class rank in high school was a
better indicator of academic success in college
than test scores, regardless of socioeconomic
status or high school size.
Class Rank
Let’s look at some profiles of college freshman
admitted in the top 10% of their class:
Harvard 95%
Stanford 81%
Vanderbilt 90%
University of Texas 73%
Texas A&M University 54%
University of Oklahoma 18%
(based on entering class of 2011)
So what can help your GPA?
In Carroll ISD
Pre-AP courses
7 grade points are added to course grade
AP courses
10 grade points are added to the course
grade
GPA Calculation
In Carroll ISD
GPA calculation begins in 9th grade with
the exception of Health and Spanish I
which can be taken in 8th grade.
(These are also on-level courses which do
not carry any extra grade points)
GPA Calculation
In Carroll ISD
Weighted GPA’s are not recorded on student
transcripts but included for purposes or
calculating class rank.
Some universities, however, “strip” extra
grade points when evaluating student
applications.
Besides extra grade points, why should I take
an AP class?
AP courses show rigor of an academic
program
All AP courses follow the same curriculum
across the country.
Passing AP exams may earn college credits
which saves college tuition.
But I am applying to colleges that do not accept AP
exams for credit. It will be a waste of my time if I
have to work that hard!
Remember, AP courses earn 10 extra grade
points that are averaged into the GPA.
AP exam scores help place students when
planning college schedules.
AP exam scores earn recognition:
Distinguished AP Scholar, National AP Scholar
AP Exam Scores
Based on scores 1-5
3 is passing
Many colleges only accept scores of 4 or 5
ACT v. SAT
The ACT is composed of English, Reading,
Math, and Science sections as well as an
optional Writing section.
Scores are reported as a standard score and
percentile score.
The SAT is composed of English, Math, and
Writing sections. Each section has a maximum
of 800 points for a possible total score of
2400.
ACT and SAT Prep Courses
Do they help?
TestWise by Betty Harris
Karen Dillard College Prep
C2
Timarron Prep
Huntington
Stanley Kaplan
Princeton Review SAT and ACT practice books
Private Tutors
This is NOT an all inclusive list of prep courses
“The SAT is not a measure of
your intelligence but a
measure of your stamina and
concentration.”
-CISD graduate and
Commended Merit Student
The bottom line….
PRACTICE
PRACTICE
PRACTICE
Choosing Colleges
-Check with the guidance office!
-Make a list of colleges in preferential
order.
-Check which colleges have a
“Common App”
-Common Application
Keep track of colleges and deadlines
School
Stanford
USC
Claremont/McKenna/Scripps
Harvey Mudd
George Washington U
American University
Wash Univ. St. Louis
Duke
UNC
U Penn
NYU
UT Austin
SMU
OU
App Deadline App Fee Scholarship Deadline Teacher Recommendation Essay Comp? App Submitted
Status
Teacher/Counselor/Administrator
Recommendations
-Make sure that you ask someone that knows your
academic record.
-Ask early, preferably in the summer!
-Include a cover letter, timeframe for completion,
and resume with clear descriptions of academic
record and extracurricular activities.
CISD Student
Address
Southlake, TX 76092
Cell numberHome number
Email Address
Education
Carroll Senior High School
Southlake, Texas Class of 2010
Class rank: 66 out of 647; top 11%
SAT: Reading 690, Math 750, Writing 640
ACT: Composite Score 32; 98%ile
AP Exam Scores
2008
2009
2009
2009
2009
2010
2010
2010
2010
2010
World History
US History
English Language/Com
Calculus AB
Physics B
Biology
Economics-Mac
English Literature/Comp
Government and Poli Sci
Calculus BC
Activities
Carroll Varsity Swim and Dive Team
2008-present
4 year letterman
District finalist 2006-2009, Regional Finalist 2006-2009
Carroll Senior High Drumline, Marching Band
2006-2010
Section Leader 2007-2009
Carroll Senior High Student Council
National Honor Society, member
Spanish Honor Society, member
5
5
3
5
5
5
5
4
4
5
Volunteer and Work Experience
Jamba Juice, Southlake Town Square
2009-present
GRACE volunteer
Grapevine Relief and Community Relief Food Pantry volunteer
Honors and Awards
National Merit Commended Student
Division I Rating State Percussion Solo 2007
Division I Rating State Percussion Ensemble 2007
Division I Rating State Percussion Solo 2008
Division I Rating State Percussion Ensemble 2008
Division I Rating State Percussion Solo 2009
Division I Rating State Percussion Solo 2010
Division I Rating State Percussion Ensemble 2010
Texas Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association State finalist 2009
1 meter Diving
Texas UIL Diving District Finalist 2007, 2008, 2009
Texas UIL Diving Regional Finalist 2007, 2008,2009
Academic All-American Swimming and Diving 2010
American Legion Texas Boys State Representative 2009
AP Scholar with Distinction 2009
AP National Scholar 2010
Recommendations
Continued
-Include exact descriptions of activities and
information as needed
-Follow up with a thank you note and small gift of
appreciation
Essays
-Read and answer the prompt concisely.
-College admission officers have all communicated
the same message:
“We want to get to know the student.
We want to know if this student is a good fit with this
school.”
Essays
Helpful hints:
-Write about what you know
-Read or learn about the school’s mission statement or school
philosophy.
-How do your activities, academic interests, etc. fit with the
school’s mission?
How would you fit in as a student at this school?
Other items to consider:
-SAT subject tests
-Language placement tests
-FAFSA
(Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
-Scholarships
Apply early!
-Service Academies require a nomination by a US
Congressman, Senator, the President, or Vice-President
(US Air Force Academy, US Naval Academy, US Military Academy, US Merchant
Marine Academy, US Coast Guard Academy---no congressional nomination
required)
Helpful websites:
www.collegeboard.com
www.nationalmerit.org
www.fafsa.ed.gov
www.fastweb.com
Books:
A is for Admission by Michele Hernandez
US News and World Report Best Colleges
College Essays that Made a Difference (Princeton Review)
Thank you!
To contact me:
[email protected]
References
Crouse, James and Dale Trusheim, 1988. The Case Against the SAT. Chicago, IL and London,
UK: The University of Chicago Press .
Niu, Sunny X. and Marta Tienda, 2009. Testing, Ranking, and College Performance: Does High
School Matter? Princeton University.
Pike, Gary. R. and Joseph L. Saupe, 2002. Does High School Matter? An Analysis of Three
Methods of Predicting First-Year Grades, Research in Higher Education 43:187-207.

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