Taking Practice SAT/ACT Tests: Why, When & How—And What to Do After

Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Tuesday, October 16, 2018

 

 

At Frontier Tutoring, we encourage every college-bound high school student in Anchorage to take advantage of our free practice SAT/ACT testing at the right time as part of their test prep strategy.  And many do—last year, over 40% of Anchorage School District students who took the SAT/ACT electively signed up for a Frontier Tutoring practice test first.  But why, when, and how, exactly, should you sign up for practice tests?  We’ve put together a few tips to help you get the most out of this important resource and navigate the standardized testing and college admissions process.

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Topics: ACT, SAT, PSAT, Anchorage, 11th Grade - Juniors, 12th Grade - Seniors, 10th Grade - Sophomores, College Admissions: Test Well

Rising Seniors College Admissions Checklist: 5 Focus Areas to Start Working on Now

Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Sunday, August 12, 2018

 

After three grueling years of academics, senior year has finally arrived!  Of course, there's important work still to be done.  Now is time for rising seniors to roll up their sleeves and lay the foundation for a successful college application season.  In this post, we’ll run through a checklist of four college admissions priorities for rising seniors to work on starting now.  Specifically, we’ll discuss how to:

  1. Finalize your college list—the single most important factor upon which nearly all of your other decisions over the next four months will depend

  2. Identify and achieve your target SAT/ACT score before application deadlines

  3. Begin essays and applications

  4. Identify financial aid and scholarships

  5. Determine whether you need to take SAT Subject Tests

 

The checklist includes two essay planning exercises which many of our students have used as the basis for highly successful college application essays.  Let’s get to work!

 

 

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Topics: SAT, ACT, College Admissions: Test Well, College Admissions: Explore Early, College Admissions: Excel Academically, College Admissions: Build Your Application Assets, College Admissions: Apply Right, Financial Aid & Scholarships, 12th Grade - Seniors, Anchorage

The College Application Essay Approach That T.D. Used to Get Into the U.S. Air Force Academy

Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Saturday, August 11, 2018

 

Updated to reflect 2018-19 Common App essay prompts

 

Of everything you include in your college applications, the essays are the single element over which you have the most control—make the most of this opportunity to define your narrative.  You know that you’ll need to write a variety of essays for your college applications—and if you're a senior, deadlines are quickly approaching.  How will you craft effective messaging that demonstrates your talent and character in order to maximize your chances of admission?  In this post, we will provide an overview of the college application essay planning and writing process, including:

 

  • What kinds of college application essays you will need to write
  • The Frontier Tutoring essay planning approach for strategizing your topic and planning your structure, regardless of the prompt
  • When you should start planning and writing—including how to get a head start during junior year
  • Keys to success for essay planning and writing
  • An actual draft essay with feedback that T.D., a Frontier Tutoring college admissions consulting student, finalized for her successful application to the United States Air Force Academy, where fewer than 1 in 6 students is accepted.  T.D. successfully adopted the Frontier Tutoring essay planning approach we introduce in this post.

 

Ready to write?  Let's begin!

 

 

 

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Topics: College Admissions: Apply Right, 11th Grade - Juniors, 12th Grade - Seniors, Anchorage

Rising Juniors College Admissions Checklist: 5 Focus Areas to Start Working on Now

Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Friday, August 10, 2018

 

Of everything you do in high school, the activities you undertake during your junior year will have the among most significant impact on your competitiveness for college admissions and scholarships.  As a rising junior, how can you set yourself up for success?  In this post, we’ll walk through a checklist for rising juniors to review before school starts.  Specifically, we’ll show you how to tackle each of the following five priorities with free tools and resources developed specifically for Alaska students:

 

  1. Determine whether you should prepare for the PSAT—something you should do during August)

  2. Craft your SAT/ACT strategy to maximize your scores and efficiency

  3. Get serious about your GPA: Depending on when you submit applications, the next two semesters will comprise the final grades colleges see.

  4. Start developing your college list—the single most important factor upon which nearly all of your other decisions over the next 12-18 months will depend

  5. Determine whether and when you will need to take SAT Subject Tests

 

Let’s get to work!
 

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Topics: ACT, SAT, Anchorage, SAT Subject Tests, College Admissions, 11th Grade - Juniors, College Admissions: Test Well, College Admissions: Explore Early, College Admissions: Excel Academically

Should You Take the SAT/ACT Essay? Making the "Write" Choice

Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Thursday, June 14, 2018

 

Updated September 10, 2018Over the last few months, high-profile colleges including Yale, Harvard, and Dartmouth have announced that the SAT/ACT essay will now be optional for applicants to their schools, citing the inability of a single essay to reliably predict a student’s college writing capabilities. As of this posting, only about 15 colleges still require the SAT/ACT essay—but those colleges include popular powerhouses such as all University of California schools. Furthermore, an additional 20+ colleges, including competitive schools like Stanford and Amherst, recommend that applicants submit an SAT/ACT essay score (Stanford "strongly recommends" the essay).  Finally, Princeton, in a move recently mimicked by Brown (and likely other colleges soon), has made the SAT/ACT essay optional, but instead requires all applicants to submit a graded writing sample. Should YOU plan to take the SAT/ACT essay? Here’s how to decide.

 

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Topics: 10th Grade - Sophomores, 11th Grade - Juniors, 12th Grade - Seniors, Anchorage, ACT, SAT, College Admissions: Explore Early, College Admissions: Test Well

When to Prepare for and Take the SAT/ACT (Including PSAT/National Merit Info)

Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Wednesday, May 16, 2018

 

10th and 11th graders: If you’re like many students, your SAT or ACT scores will play a significant role in your competitiveness when applying to colleges, with 88% of colleges placing considerable or moderate importance on students’ standardized test scores for admissions purposes.1  Given the importance of your SAT/ACT scores, how should you develop your testing calendar and plans?  In this article, we’ll explore the best time to prepare for and take the official SAT or ACT—including whether juniors should consider the July ACT or August SAT dates, plus what sophomores should do over the summer to determine whether they may be competitive for National Merit recognition on their junior year PSAT.  But first, let’s start with a high-level overview of SAT/ACT testing strategy.

 

 

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Topics: 10th Grade - Sophomores, 11th Grade - Juniors, 12th Grade - Seniors, ACT, Anchorage, College Admissions: Test Well, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, PSAT

PSAT & National Merit Scholarship Guide for Alaska Students

Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Monday, May 07, 2018

 

NOTE: This post is targeted at rising juniors (10th graders as of May 1, 2018).  If you have already taken the PSAT (11th graders of May 1, 2018), check out this post instead.

 

Summer is a great time for rising juniors to learn about the PSAT and determine whether it’s worth preparing for the test to potentially qualify for recognition and funding under the National Merit Scholarship Program.  Alaska students earning Semifinalist, Finalist, or Winner status have access to generous scholarship opportunities at a variety of colleges. In this post, we’ll break down what’s on the PSAT, how the National Merit Scholarship Program works, and what rising juniors should do ASAP, ideally by August, to see where they stand.

 

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Topics: PSAT, ACT, SAT, Financial Aid & Scholarships, College Admissions: Test Well, College Admissions: Build Your Application Assets, Anchorage, 11th Grade - Juniors, 10th Grade - Sophomores

SAT Subject Tests: Six Things to Know

Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Friday, May 04, 2018

 

SAT Subject Tests could be an important part of your college admissions profile.  In this post, we'll cover critical things to know about SAT Subject Tests—like the fact that there is still a penalty for guessing, unlike the regular SAT.  We'll also discuss other FAQs from Alaska students, including which colleges require SAT Subject Tests, what makes for a competitive score.

 

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Topics: SAT Subject Tests, 11th Grade - Juniors, 12th Grade - Seniors, College Admissions: Test Well, Anchorage, 10th Grade - Sophomores

PSAT Scores Are Out: Alaska National Merit Info

Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Sunday, January 14, 2018

 

If you took the PSAT in October as either a 10th or 11th grader, you should have received your scores last month.  What do your scores mean?  How do they relate to the SAT/ACT?  How does the National Merit Scholarship Program work, and what are the Alaska qualifying scores?  And now that you have your scores, what should you do next?

 

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Topics: ACT, SAT, PSAT, Anchorage, 11th Grade - Juniors, 10th Grade - Sophomores, College Admissions: Test Well, College Admissions: Build Your Application Assets, Financial Aid & Scholarships

How I Did It: Getting into University of Pennsylvania & Working with Frontier Tutoring – Matt’s Story

Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Friday, October 20, 2017

 

Matt F. is a 2017 graduate of South Anchorage High School who completed a College Admissions Consulting program with Frontier Tutoring during the 2016/17 school year.  He also improved his ACT score by four points after taking our ACT Prep Class during his junior year.  Matt is now a freshman at Penn, where admitted applicants have an average high school GPA of 3.84 and SAT score of 1520/ACT score of 34.

 

In this second installment of our How I Did It series, we're giving you a first-hand account of what it's like to go through the college admissions process with a professional advisor.  Now, let's hear from Matt, along with his mom, Melissa, as they tell us about their experiences working with Frontier Tutoring in a College Admissions Consulting program.

 

 

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Topics: 10th Grade - Sophomores, 11th Grade - Juniors, 12th Grade - Seniors, ACT, College Admissions, College Admissions: Apply Right, College Admissions: Build Your Application Assets, College Admissions: Test Well, College Admissions: Explore Early, Anchorage, SAT