Pathways to College
Standardized testing is the dreaded word for many High School students yet it is a reality in the college admissions arena. At NGFS, we focus on preparing students to present their best possible score without focusing specifically on test results in classwork and curricular opportunities. We do, however, offer exposure and practice for college entrance level testing beginning on the 9th grade. We present opportunities for an introduction to the ACT and SAT test formats through offering the PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10 and the ACT Aspire in our 9th and 10th grade test plans. Using these scores will now allow students to begin working on specific areas of challenge with the PSAT through a partnership with Khan Academy online and the College Board. This partnership allows a student to link their test scores from the College Board to the Khan Academy site. Khan Academy is then able to prepare an individualized review and test improvement program for each student based on their question level responses to the PSAT tests. This free opportunity when used by students, particularly after taking the PSAT/NMSQT in the 11th grade has been shown to improve test scores by 100 or more points for students who utilized the review sessions as little as 10 minutes 3-4 times a week.
In the Junior College Journey classes, we encourage participation with the Khan Academy review prior to taking the SAT in the spring of the junior year. In addition, we are offering individual twice weekly review sessions at school for juniors to provide an additional level of support as they strive to improve their testing. This year, we are reviewing for both the ACT and SAT exams since we will be offering both exams on a school day at NGFS. This opportunity to provide home based testing for our students will provide a familiar, less stressful environment which we hope will make test taking more positive for our students.
Test scores, though important, are only one measure of student success in college admissions. A number of selective colleges and universities now are offering test optional admissions or test blind applications where students can choose to submit additional materials in lieu of their test scores if they feel their scores are not reflective of their true aptitude or ability. Many of our students have found success in admission by using this route on their applications. The only downside is that many colleges use the scores to qualify students for their merit opportunities so each applicant needs to weigh the pros and cons when applying test optional if they will also be relying on a need for merit scholarships to support their educational journey. In any case, there seems to be a positive trend in admissions toward a more holistic review of student files without solely relying on test scores alone.
Juniors - Believe it or not, your journey to college has already begun! Many of you have started thinking about places to apply and the steps to get to college. I am here to support you in this process over the next year and a half until Graduation.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1) review your PSAT scores from last year and logon to College Board and Khan Academy to view and prepare a personalized standardized test improvement plan based on your own strengths and challenges.
2) Visit with me to review your interests, select possible colleges and develop a visit plan during family vacations and time off from school
3) Plan to take the ACT in February of 2018 followed by the SAT in May or June. These are the best times for your first scores. Scores for colleges will be "superscored" meaning they will take your best parts of the SAT scores - English, Math and Writing and add those together to provide your top score to schools where you request they be sent.
4) The obvious - your grades this year are important as they are the ones that colleges will look at very closely. Keep up the good work this year and do your VERY best.
Here are some important tasks that each senior will need to complete:
Setup an individual meeting with Lore Fariss to discuss next steps and develop your plan.
Update prospective schools and schools you are applying to in Naviance.
Check deadlines for the schools you want to apply to and discern types of application you will submit - Early Decision, Early Action, Regular Decision, etc.
Begin the Common Application if any or all of your schools accept this format - the Common Application can be submitted along with any supplements required from the individual schools.
Request recommendation letters from teachers and let your college counselor know so that they will receive a link to Naviance.
Consult with your writing mentor to discuss your personal essay/statement and review your plans.
Present completed application materials to Lore to be proofed and reviewd BEFORE submitting online.
Remember - I am here to support you and your parents as well as to guide you through the steps to a succesful college application journey. Don't be afraid to ask me anything - no question is too small. Together we will find the "right fit" college for you!