College Admissions Program

How to implement this program?

Participants should sit in a circle or semi-circle. If this course is being administered in a home, you should choose a comfortable place as not to be distracted. Everyone in the circle, including the facilitator (or advisor, parent, coach or teacher), should be able to see everyone. This seating arrangement will make communication easier.

Each session consists of these three elements:

Reading: The reading can be done individually or in a group. Participants whom struggle with reading should not be forced to read aloud.

Activity: The activities are structured to be interactive. A portion of this approach is working with other participants in a common goal. If working one-on-one with a student you may use the activity as a launching point of conversation.

Optional Homework: If you have a long session, you may complete the homework during the session. Some of the homework require use of a smart phone or Internet access and thus may be assigned to participants.

After each reading, participants should answer the following questions:(1) What did I learn from the reading portion? (2) What ideas stand out to me? Why? (3) How would I summarize this passage? (4) What action steps are necessary after reading this passage?  There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. These questions are simply designed to foster conversation and interaction.

Each session should begin with a review of the homework from the previous session.


SAT® Reasoning and Subject Tests, ACT®

Some students will take both the SAT® and ACT® standardized tests. Some may prefer one or the other, and some may perform better on one versus the other. Take full-length sample tests to grow more comfortable with each of the tests, and try each once to see if one is more in line with your style as a test-taker.

The SAT® Reasoning Test consists of three types of sections: critical reading, mathematics, and writing. The test length is 3 hours and 45 minutes; total testing administration time is close to five hours. The SAT® intends to measure critical thinking skills and provide an indication of how academically successful you might be in college.

The critical reading portion contains long and short reading passages and related questions which test comprehension. There are also sentence completions which test vocabulary and understanding of sentence structure.

The mathematics section consists of multiple choice questions and student-generated responses. Topics include number theory and operations, algebra and functions, geometry and measurement, data analysis, probability and statistics.

The writing portion includes a 35 minute multiple choice section and a 25 minute student written personal statement section. Students receive separate scores for each and a composite score for the entire writing section. If they request it, colleges will be able to see a student’s personal statement.

The SAT®
Subject Tests are hour-long multiple choice tests on specific subjects. A handful of colleges require that student submit three, several dozen ask for or recommend two and many do not require Subject Tests.

One hour tests are offered in the following areas: Literature, U.S. History and World History, Mathematics I and II, Biology -Ecological, Biology -Molecular, Chemistry, Physics, and a variety of foreign languages including Chinese, French, German,
Spanish, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Japanese, and Korean. Some of the language tests have two versions – one with and one without listening components.

The ACT®
is a multiple choice test, with an optional writing section. The test is four or four and a half hours long, depending on whether or not the writing section is included. The ACT® attempts to assess a student’s general educational development and their potential to successfully complete college-level work.

It is broken down into four subject areas: English, reading, mathematics, and science. The English section covers standard grammar and usage of the English language, as well as rhetorical skills such as organization and style. The math section
covers topics in pre-algebra through intermediate algebra, coordinate and plane geometry, and trigonometry. The reading section tests students’ reading comprehension. The science section tests understanding, interpretation, and analysis of scientific data and hypotheses. The writing section consists of a 30-minute student-generated personal statement in response to a prompt.

PSAT®, SAT® Reasoning and Subject Tests, ACT® Registration
It is a student’s responsibility to sign up for test administrations. You are urged to discuss your testing plans with a counseling office before you register. You register for the SAT® or ACT®, and at other times during the college process. Juniors should take the SAT® in January and/or May, and strongly consider taking the ACT® in April. Seniors take the SAT® in October, November and/or December, or the ACT® in December, if necessary. Keep in mind that some colleges have deadlines for testing if you are applying under an Early Decision/Action program; some colleges require that your testing is completed by the October or November test date. If you enroll in a prep class, it makes sense to take the test as soon as possible following the conclusion of the course.

You will sign up and pay for all SAT®/SAT II® and ACT ® exams on their respective Web Sites. Speak to your guidance counselor about the possibility of qualifying for a fee waiver as they can provide one to you. You will also choose a testing location and date. The sites are:

Anytime you register for standardized tests, be consistent with the name you use; you should use your name as it would appear on your passport. You should also be consistent throughout the process, using this name on personal statement and all applications, correspondence, etc. Using different versions of your name or nicknames can only complicate the situation. If you create an online account for the SAT® or ACT®, hang onto your password, as you will use this account to register, receive and send scores. You can also view your scores online.

Save your SAT® and ACT® testing admission tickets. These include a registration number to use as a reference if you have a problem with your scores.

Getting Your Scores to Colleges
It is the student’s responsibility to send official test scores. High Schools will not send a student’s SAT® or ACT® scores. Keep in mind that sending scores does not happen automatically, and can take several weeks. Plan ahead! Use the four free score reports you get every time you take the SAT®; remember that subsequent scores will not be sent unless you initiate the process.

Parents, please note: To register and send scores, it is helpful for students to have a credit card to use online.


College Testing Explanation

Standardized Testing (Grades 9 – 10)
Most ninth graders will not take standardized college tests, but some will. If you think you should, you must discuss your plan with a counselor. As a tenth grader, it might make sense to try one of the “practice” standardized tests, such as the PSAT®. Again, you must discuss your plan with a counselor. Some ninth and tenth graders who are particularly advanced in an academic area might want to consider taking the SAT Subject Test® in the relevant topic. Not every college requires these one-hour subject tests. Highly selective colleges, including MIT, Cornell, BU, Carnegie Mellon, and most programs at NYU
require some SAT Subject Tests®; check individual college websites to see which places do.
Those colleges that do require SAT Subject Tests® typically require two, a handful ask for three, and some may recommend specific subjects. You will need to plan ahead for this by discussing your intent with a counselor, and obtaining the guidance and support of the teacher in the appropriate class. You should take sample tests under simulated testing conditions to prepare for the test.

Standardized Testing (Grades 11 – 12)
During junior year, you will take a number of standardized tests. Each person has different strengths, so each student’s testing plan might look a bit different. Here are some general guidelines, however, as far as what to expect:

In October, juniors will take the PSAT® (Preliminary SAT®) at their high school. If it is not being offered, see a guidance counselor and find out where it is taking place. It is highly recommended that you prepare for the PSAT® by taking the sample test included in the student bulletin. This bulletin, available in a guidance office, also explains more about the format and content of the test and has helpful tips.

Online information is available at:

This test has several purposes:
 To familiarize you with the SAT® Reasoning Test, which you will take later in the year;
 To expose you to the SAT® in a no-risk manner – colleges do not typically ask for PSAT® scores;
 To give you a simple analysis of your strengths and weaknesses in the various critical reading, verbal, and mathematical components of the test.

When you receive a score report in December, it will include your answer choices, the correct answers, and list the type of question asked. You will also receive your test booklet, so that you may go back and look at the questions again. This report may help you identify areas in which you need to improve. The PSAT® is also used in the National Merit and Achievement
Scholarship programs®. Juniors who score in the top two percent of test-takers nationwide will be eligible to compete for scholarship funding from select colleges, companies, and organizations.


Understanding the Long-Term Importance of Attending College

Aside from the one obvious benefit of earning a college degree – making more money – there are a myriad of other advantages to furthering your education past the high school level. By devoting the time and commitment to the improvement of personal knowledge and intellectual fortification, you provide yourself with the tools to be a better employee, a better citizen, and a better all-around individual. There are several economic and social factors (both individual and civic in nature) that you might not even consider to be the potential outcomes of you, an individual, earning a college degree. The benefit of earning a college degree does not just have an individual impact, but it has a societal impact as well.

Among the many personal benefits of earning a college degree is, of course, higher personal earnings. A person with at least a bachelor’s degree tends to earn at least two times more money annually than a person with a high school diploma alone. This personal plus has the potential to influence the public sector in turn. The greater number of people with college educations leads to lower unemployment rates, which in turn leads to decreased reliance on publicly-funded programs such as welfare. This concept of personal improvement for the greater good can be further demonstrated.

By achieving a strong educational foundation, a person tends to continue to educate themselves throughout their lifetime. Whether this is by earning further college degrees or by simply being more civically minded and socially conscious, the benefit of a college degree has been shown to increase a person’s sense of civic responsibilities and awareness. Those with higher education show increased participation in voting, increased altruism, and a greater appreciation of social diversity. This in turn can lead to a decrease in crime and poverty rates.

There are many more personal benefits of having a college degree other than making more money. Often, those who have attained a higher education enjoy better long-term health and thus an increased life expectancy, which could be related to higher personal income. With the benefit of earning more money comes the ability to afford better preventative health care. Those with higher education tend to have more hobbies as well. But one important thing to note: those that have a college degree are often able to provide an improved quality of life for their offspring. As a result, college-educated parents often breed college-educated children


Quick Tips For Contacting Colleges

We know you’re excited to demonstrate your interest to the colleges on your list. But before you dash off an e-mail to the admissions office at your dream school, think about how you are presenting yourself to your potential alma mater (the school, college, or university that one once attended).

Admissions officers usually provide their contact information via the admissions website because they want to be accessible and available to answer questions from applicants—either about the college application process or about the school. If you have specific questions about academic programs or campus life (or just want to touch base with the admissions officer), sending an e-mail to college admissions will get you the essential information you need AND show your enthusiasm for the school.

Check out our top tips for communicating with college admissions offices efficiently and effectively:

1. Keep it short! Focus on your questions, not on yourself. This is not the time to tell them how great you are.
2. Minimize the number of questions you ask. You can always ask more questions when you visit campus. Before contacting colleges, make sure the answers to your questions aren’t easily accessible on the school’s website.
3. Introduce yourself. Give your name, school, grade/ graduating year, name and city of your high school and your address either in the body of the e-mail or as an e-mail signature. This information helps the admissions office place you and where you are in the application process (and you’ll definitely want them to remember you if you make a good impression).
4. Check for spelling and grammatical mistakes. Then check again. And then one more time. It’s important that any communication you have with the admissions office is typo free!
5. Be professional. If your e-mail address is anything other than a form of your name or initials, consider creating a new one for college correspondence. If you’re writing from an existing account, check your email signature. Make sure it doesn’t include
anything offensive, silly, or bizarre.

Directions: This is your chance to write your rough draft to your college. This will help you plan what you will email to your college. Be sure to follow the 5 tips AND use the example to help. Once you finish have someone proof read and edit your


Dear UNC,
My name is Charles Barkley, and I’m an 8th grader at Sky View Middle School in Pueblo, Colorado. I’m writing to inform you of my interest in your university. I my class we are have been discussing our future where I have learned a lot about UNC, and other universities.

University of Northern Colorado is ranked as one of the top teaching colleges, and I greatly respect the work and energy your school has put in to achieve such success. I dream of becoming a part of that success in the near future when I graduate high school, and when I become a teacher. Not only am I interested in UNC, but I have enjoyed following your athletic programs. I am a cheerleader and I look forward to cheering at all the football and basketball games, while majoring in history and education.

I am passionate about my future and would love to share that passion with my friends and classmates. Would you please consider sending me any UNC gear that I can wear or display? Thank you!

Charles Barkley
Teacher’s name
School’s Address