Smart Q & A: How early should I begin searching for scholarships?
Feb15

Smart Q & A: How early should I begin searching for scholarships?

QUESTION: How early can my son start working on getting scholarships. He is currently 11. ANSWER: If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Monica Matthews, our Scholarship Mom, it’s that it’s never too early to begin your scholarship search. According to Monica, there are scholarships available for all levels of students, even elementary school kids! No matter when you begin your search for scholarships, two important things to keep in mind are these: Stay organized and know your deadlines. Create project folder for each scholarship and note the deadline. Even better, use a large sticky note and log the due date as a week before the actual...

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Smart Q & A: Is Optional SAT really Optional?
Jun01

Smart Q & A: Is Optional SAT really Optional?

QUESTION (via Twitter): from: @suddenlyfrugal Admissions officer told us optional question on common app isn’t optional. So are SATs really optional at SAT-optional schools? ANSWER: by: Jeannie Borin, M.Ed. , founder of College-Connections The word “optional” regarding college essays and test optional colleges is a choice.  However, it is recommended to complete any optional college essays.  Admission officers are attempting to gain as much insight about the applicants as possible.  Writing an additional essay is an opportunity for the applicant to show yet another experience, interest or side of themselves not revealed elsewhere on the application. Currently, there are about 850 test optional colleges in the United States (a list can be found at www.fairtest.org). Many colleges have selected not to require test scores because they consider other components more relevant in determining a student’s success in college. If a student does well on standardized tests, they can still send scores to test optional colleges.  However, they do not need to do so to gain acceptance. Students need to understand that without test scores, their grades, courses selected, extracurricular activities, essays and recommendations are extremely important. Jeannie is a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (ICEA). Do you have an admissions or college visit question? Ask and we’ll do our best to answer your question. Click here to submit a question for our experts!   PREVIOUSLY ANSWERED: Senior Year Honors or AP Classes? Is it Better to Apply “Undecided” or Declare a...

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Smart Q & A: Is it Better to Apply “Undecided” or Declare a Major?
Jun21

Smart Q & A: Is it Better to Apply “Undecided” or Declare a Major?

Smart Q & A is a new service on SmartCollegeVisit where readers submit a question related to college visits or the college admissions process and we’ll have an expert advisor provide an answer. To kick things off, Christina McIntyre, associate director for University Honors at Virginia Tech, founder of BecomeAlum, and president of Innovative Academic Solutions, answers questions related to academic planning. What’s your question? You ask the smart questions and we’ll provide the answers. You’re invited to submit your questions using the comment form below or post them to our Facebook Page. Answers will be published in a post on this blog. QUESTION: Is it better to apply “undecided” or declare a major and change it later? ANSWER: This is a great question and the answer will likely vary from one school to another. However, it’s an appropriate question to ask during a campus visit. I would recommend asking whether you should declare a major when visiting a variety of offices on the same campus to see if there is a consistent or varying message. The answer may even vary within a given university when it comes to specific programs. In general if you are truly undecided starting university under this category is the best place to be. You are sending a clear signal “I’m searching for who I want to become.” Often times colleges and universities will have specific classes, workshops or other opportunities for undecided students that can help you explore a variety of fields as well as work through honest self-evaluation that will help you to truly identify an area of study that compliments your passion and where you can find fulfillment. If you are certain you want to declare a major and enter a specific program (i.e. Architecture) but are concerned that you wouldn’t be admitted because it may have higher standards than applying as “undecided” then, you really should ask the admissions representative “How many students move from “undecided” (or another major) to Architecture after they are a student here?” As you compare schools, look closely at which schools have restricted majors and what are the qualifications to get into the majors. You may notice differences between universities. Keep in mind that the majority of college students change their major at least once. Declaring yourself as undecided should not be a stigma. This is an important decision that is worthy of investing your time and energy. In most cases students who declare they are undecided are more honest (with themselves) than their peers. *** Got a question for an advisor? Submit your question via the comment form below. Comments regarding the post are...

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