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Updates to The Common Application For The 2015-2016 School Year

Updates to The Common Application For The 2015-2016 School Year

As a high school student, you may have heard about this thing called the “Common Application.” The Common Application is just that; it’s a single undergraduate college application that you can use to apply to over 550 colleges (if you should so choose, however we don’t recommend that you apply to that many!).

7 Ways To Ease the Transition to College

7 Ways To Ease the Transition to College

Congratulations to you, new high school graduate!  Welcome to college!

At this point, you’ve probably already been inundated with tasks from the college to complete– signing up for orientation, submitting your housing paperwork, registering for classes, sending your final transcripts, and more!  Now that you’re entering summer, you’re probably thinking that this is going to be the best summer of your life.  And it will be…BUT there are some things you can do to help prepare for the transition to college.

7 Tips on Planning a Successful College Visit

7 Tips on Planning a Successful College Visit

Having coordinated numerous visits to many college campuses over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to plan a college visit as well as how to make the most out of your visit.

1. Make a list of colleges you’d like to visit by region. If you’re planning a trip to Boston, for example, make a list of the colleges that you’d like to visit while you’re there.  Prioritize the list by “must visit,” “would like to visit,” and “nice to visit, but not necessary” so that you can realistically travel to all the campuses.

Escaping Senioritis: How to Still Have Fun Without Failing Your Classes

Escaping Senioritis: How to Still Have Fun Without Failing Your Classes

According to Urban Dictionary, senioritis is: “noun. A crippling disease that strikes high school seniors. Symptoms include: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of track pants, old athletic shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts. Also features a lack of studying, repeated absences, and a generally dismissive attitude. The only known cure is a phenomenon known as Graduation.”

Professors Do Not Bite: How I Made Friends in College (And What I Learned)

Professors Do Not Bite: How I Made Friends in College (And What I Learned)

No one believes me when I say it today, but I was on the shy side in high school.

I’ve come a long way since then. I teach SAT and ACT classes to groups large and small, I thrive in both lecture halls and class discussions, and I’ve become very social. I was helped along in my growing process by the fact that socializing in high school is, in many ways, quite different from socializing in college—the impetus I needed to proactively build social confidence. I wasn’t expecting the difference, so I was surprised at the number of new things I had to adapt to. A few of the most memorable:

What? How Did He Get Into Harvard?

What? How Did He Get Into Harvard?

The admissions statistics can be terrifying. Just under 9% of all applicants got into the Ivy Leagues in 2014 and the numbers seem to get impossibly lower every year. So how can I set myself apart compared to the thousands of other applicants?

What is College Admissions Consulting?

What is College Admissions Consulting?

It seems that these days, everyone talks about admissions consulting, but what is college admissions consulting?

With school counselors’ caseloads at an all-time high and student needs going unmet, many students and families are turning to admissions consultants to provide them with the support they need through the college application process.

3 Reasons Why You Should Attend Office Hours

3 Reasons Why You Should Attend Office Hours

The first year of college can be daunting. A new school means an entirely new environment: new friends, new living situation, and most of all – new classes. It’s a lot of “new” in a short period of time, and one of the most difficult aspects to get adjusted to is the heightened level of difficulty in class.

I Accepted My Offer of Admission, Now What?

I Accepted My Offer of Admission, Now What?

Congratulations!!!  After a long process of applying to colleges, you were admitted and have committed to attending an institution in the Fall.  We hope that you will celebrate your accomplishments and enjoy the final days of your high school career!

4 Ways to Prepare for Independent Life in College

4 Ways to Prepare for Independent Life in College

Woohoo! You’ve done it! After all the hard work creating beautiful animations on Powerpoint, memorizing the Monarchs involved in the War Of The Roses (the ORIGINAL house of Lancaster before Game Of Thrones co-opted the name by changing three letters), and busting your behinds trying to memorize SAT vocabulary words (only to hear that next year the test won’t have a vocabulary section. Oh the humanity!), you have finally gotten into college! So, now what? Sure you know how to thrive in the bustling world of high school, but how do you succeed when there are no parents to keep you honest about whether you have completed your work, no curfews to keep you home in time to get a good night sleep, and no one there to make sure your laundry gets done and you don’t smell like the inside of a tennis shoe after a marathon? The start of a more independent life is both daunting and exciting. There are a number of paths to success in this new arena, but here are a few ways to make sure that this next step towards adulthood also sets you up for success academically and professionally for years to come.

What Will it Really Cost to Attend College?

What Will it Really Cost to Attend College?

As you’re starting your college research or perhaps comparing financial aid award letters, one of the questions on your mind might be “how much will it really cost to attend college?”

With the cost of college going up and up, here’s a quick guide to breaking down those costs and some tips on how to save money.

7 Things to Remember Your Freshman Year (Hint: Don't Bring Too Much Stuff!)

7 Things to Remember Your Freshman Year (Hint: Don't Bring Too Much Stuff!)

The moment I sent my SIR to UC Berkeley, I was sure I was more than ready to leave high school. College had been the big dream for most of my life–no curfews, no morning classes, no standardized testing (for the most part) and more freedom than I’d ever had before. I knew the city of Berkeley halfway decently already, so I wasn’t worried about the transition. About twenty of my high school classmates, including some of my best friends, were coming with me. I was all set up for an easy, exciting transition to college life.

You & Your Major: Don't Get Too Attached

You & Your Major: Don't Get Too Attached

I absolutely love my major. I’ve been studying international relations since the end of my freshman year; two years in, it’s still my favorite field. I think it’s incredible that seven billion people, despite all their differences and disagreements, are able to coexist through governments and agreements. I love my professors, read the news religiously, and travel around the world to take political science classes from different countries’ perspectives. It’s awesome.

I'm Waitlisted: Now What?

I'm Waitlisted: Now What?

Hooray!  Admissions decisions have arrived!!

Unfortunately, instead of a clear decision, you find out that you have been waitlisted.  Your friends may know exactly where they will be attending college in the Fall or at least the couple of schools they are deciding between, but you are stuck in limbo.

3 Ways to Stay Calm in the Chaos of Campus Life

3 Ways to Stay Calm in the Chaos of Campus Life

You’re trying to organize your calendar. You have a Spanish Club meeting at 4pm. Happy hour at 6pm. Then you have to come home and pack for your girls trip over the weekend… Your roommate keeps talking about how she bombed her organic chem exam. She keep repeating herself, so head into the kitchen for some peace and quiet. Suddenly you see a mound of dishes…

5 Best Pieces of Advice for College Freshmen

5 Best Pieces of Advice for College Freshmen

If you’ve gone to a few college fairs and admissions events, especially if you’ve already been accepted to a college, you start to hear the same things over and over again. Specifically:

  • Go to office hours.
  • Don’t skip class.
  • Have a financial plan.
  • Make sure you finish your graduation requirements.
  • Explore the career center, clubs, and other resources that colleges have to offer outside of classes.

All of this is excellent advice. After all, you probably wouldn’t have heard each one of these fifty times each if it weren’t. I’d go as far as to say these are probably the best five pieces of advice an entering college freshman should hear.

Time Flies: How to Stay Focused During Your Academic Career

Time Flies: How to Stay Focused During Your Academic Career

Teachers, students, parents, Buzzfeed, and Hollywood pretty much all agree: College is awesome.

They’re right. Many high schoolers tend to think of college primarily in academic terms–which isn’t wrong, since it’s hard for someone who has never attended college to fully realize how much social, emotional, personal, intellectual, and sometimes even spiritual growth happens there. College students discover that they have more freedom and independence than most of them have ever experienced in their lives, so they quickly begin exploring new ideas, new friend groups, and new ways of thinking. In this fascinating, and sometimes dizzying, rush of new experiences and self-discovery, it’s easy to forget that the whole thing will only last about four years.

This is How You Can Be Successful on the ACT!

This is How You Can Be Successful on the ACT!

The following interview comes from testprepstore.com. Testprepstore.com recently had the opportunity to conduct a Q&A session with Jonathan Er, one of Veritas Prep’s expert ACT instructors, to inquire about the ACT and get his take on the questions that many college applicants would like to ask with regards to ACT prep courses and how to be successful at achieving their desired ACT score.

4 Considerations Before You Choose Your College Experience

4 Considerations Before You Choose Your College Experience

The biggest myth surrounding the college experience is that there is a conventional “way” to do college. The truth is, like anything in life, a college experience is relative to your personality and circumstances. There is no right or wrong way to do college, instead there are a bunch of different ways to ensure that you have a great four years on campus. Some students want to have fun and party. Others want to hone their skills and prepare for graduate school. Some want to make connections in order to ensure job security. Most want a mix of these elements.

This is How You Can Be Successful on the SAT!

This is How You Can Be Successful on the SAT!

The following interview comes from testprepstore.com. Testprepstore.com recently had the opportunity to conduct a Q&A session with Eric Fischer, one of Veritas Prep’s expert SAT instructors, to inquire about the SAT and get his take on the questions that many college applicants would like to ask with regards to SAT prep courses and how to be successful at achieving their desired SAT score.

Do AP Scores Really Matter When it Comes to College Admission?

Do AP Scores Really Matter When it Comes to College Admission?

One of the most common questions we get during our free college profile evaluations is “will my AP scores count?”  If you’ve done any research on the topic, you’ll find that the opinions are varied and there is no clear answer.  Veritas Prep breaks it down for you.

The Art of Showing Up

The Art of Showing Up

One of the best kept secrets about succeeding in college is that it’s pretty simple: Show up.

Much like the director Woody Allen famously said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” In college that same rule applies. Show up to class. Show up to office hours. Show up to review sessions. Of course, this alone won’t guarantee you an A in organic chemistry, but it certainly goes a far way in advancing your cause.

College Considerations: Location, Location, Location

College Considerations: Location, Location, Location

Many students create their college list based on the US News & World Report rankings or Associated Press Football Bowl. However, students are much better served by reviewing colleges and considering other important factors that may not be as glamorous as school prestige. Here are three that are often forgotten but play a major role in your day-to-day life on campus:

The High School Transition: 3 Tips for Success in College

The High School Transition: 3 Tips for Success in College

The great leap is upon you! So far you have been a star pupil in High School and there is no reason to believe that college will be any different, right? Right?! You begin to panic in the way only the young have really mastered, imagining the hundreds of pages of reading you’ve heard about, the “weed out” classed where half the students fail, and distracting the frat parties, how can a person NOT fail in this crazy environment? This is an inevitable, and not wholly unproductive, question.

Is College Really Worth the Investment?

Is College Really Worth the Investment?

As you’re starting your college research, you might be experiencing some sticker shock at the price tag on colleges across the nation.  Who has $50,000 to spend on a college education?  Are colleges really worth the financial investment?

I'm a High School Junior: What Should I Do Now for College Admission?

I'm a High School Junior: What Should I Do Now for College Admission?

As a junior, you’re actually really well positioned to get a leg up on the college admissions process.  You still have some time to complete your testing requirements and you can start to research colleges before the crunch of application season.  Here are some things you can get started on right away:

I'm A Senior: Is It Too Late to Apply To Colleges?

I'm A Senior: Is It Too Late to Apply To Colleges?

The rush of college admissions has started to wane and your peers may be awaiting their admissions decisions.  In the Fall, you had decided not to apply to a college, but now you’re having second thoughts.  Is it too late to apply?

How Do You Choose the Right University?

How Do You Choose the Right University?

As you are sitting and surfing through the seemingly infinite educational institutions to which you could send the credentials? It is easy to descend into a full-fledged panic attack. After all it’s only the ONE decision that will determine EVERY PROCEEDING MOMENT OF your LIFE.  Take a breath, friend! This decision, like many others that determine your surroundings for a period of time, is important. But before you get so stressed you decide to ditch the whole process and start a new life for yourself in Malaysia (a tempting place to start a new life, take my word for it), ask yourself these questions and know that any experience is very much what you make of it.

Low GPA? This Is How You Can Still Get into that Affordable College

Low GPA? This Is How You Can Still Get into that Affordable College

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, from 2001-2002 and 2011-2012, the cost of an undergraduate education at a public institution has risen 40% and 28% at a private institution.  It’s no secret that the cost of higher education is going up and students and parents may be looking for colleges where you can get the most bang for your buck.  Money magazine recently posted their annual rankings for the best colleges for your money.  The top 10 colleges on the list are:

9 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad

9 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad

Most universities offer the opportunity to explore other countries. You may be hesitant to do so, but here are 9 reasons why you should take advantage of your college’s international student programs:

1. Experience new surroundings. If you’re like the great majority of undergraduates (or incoming undergraduates), you haven’t traveled much before, much less on your own. Far too many students never study abroad simply out of a fear of, or distaste for, intense unfamiliarity. Don’t be scared of the fact that you may not have done anything like this before; the study abroad program will help you adjust to your new surroundings, you can work with the students you travel with to learn new things together, and friends and family back home are just a phone call away. If you’re anything like the overwhelming majority of study abroad students I know, once you actually arrive, you’ll find it a lot more fun than daunting.

Paying for College: Beyond the Numbers

Paying for College: Beyond the Numbers

It’s no news that college is expensive. College finance considerations, however, go far beyond the simple price on a college’s website. Everyone’s financial situation is different, but every prospective freshman should know that in every case – advance planning is key. Here are some guidelines to consider before taking the plunge into your first year.

College Life: Getting Involved in Extracurriculars On Campus

College Life: Getting Involved in Extracurriculars On Campus

I came into college with no idea how to find or get involved in extracurriculars, nor did I have any mentors to help me through the process. This (and a general lack of preparedness for the less academic aspects of college life) meant that I didn’t become active in clubs and groups until my second semester of freshman year. While I’m very happy with the groups I’ve come to know and love–I spent two semesters in a hip-hop dance group, I am currently the president of a law club, and have edited for an undergraduate journal–I know I missed out on a lot of opportunities just because I didn’t have much time to explore college before my academic and career planning workload really kicked into high gear. Here are a few tips I wish I had known earlier in my college career.

Mind The Gap Year: 6 Considerations for a High School Senior

Mind The Gap Year: 6 Considerations for a High School Senior

I have quite a number of friends who participated in The Gap Year, taking a break between high school and college. The results were mixed. As a graduating high school senior, I thought the idea of a gap year was ridiculous (why put off something I had been planning on doing since elementary school?) but now that I’m nearing graduation I see its value a lot more clearly. Here are a few things I wish I had considered three years ago.

Making the Best of Application Season: A Guide for High School Juniors

Making the Best of Application Season: A Guide for High School Juniors

Though my junior year was the most academically challenging of my high school experience, my senior year was easily the most stressful. Even though I only took three serious academic courses, none of which were particularly difficult, I found myself consistently swamped with work, short on sleep, and starved of social interaction. Between August and December, I applied to seventeen universities and twelve scholarships, wrote fifteen unique essays, took two SAT’s and three SAT II’s, spent hours with college counselors exploring financial aid options, and maintained straight A’s and a part-time job. The work was certainly worth it—I got more than 90% of my application fees waived, was accepted or waitlisted at 14 of the 17 colleges, and am now a UC Berkeley student studying on a full scholarship—but there are countless ways I could have spared myself unnecessary stress (and gotten a lot more sleep.) Here are a few of the things I’m glad I did (and a few I wish I had done) four years ago to prepare for application season.

Get Creative on Your College Essay: Part 4

Get Creative on Your College Essay: Part 4

Let’s get back to getting creative on your college essay. First take a look at Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this blog series. Once you have brainstormed, refined your ideas, and finally gotten them down on the page, the most taxing part of the creative process is arguably behind you. No longer must you stare into the infinite void of a blank page. However, the fun doesn’t end with the first draft.

Get Creative on Your College Essay: Part 3

Get Creative on Your College Essay: Part 3

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I have guided you on how to structure your creative college essay and where you could look for stylistic inspiration. However, by its very definition, the college essay is a personal response to the most common interview question, “Why don’t you tell me about yourself?”

Get Creative on Your College Essay: Part 2

Get Creative on Your College Essay: Part 2

In Part 1 of this series we looked at what makes for a good structure for a college essay. More specifically, we discussed that it won’t look like your typical high school expository essay. Even the most well structured college essay is ineffective without an idea to work with when molding your statement.

Get Creative on Your College Essay: Part 1

Get Creative on Your College Essay: Part 1

Unlike the essay prompt that resides at the start of the SAT Reasoning Test, the “personal statement” essay you will write for college admissions require a considerable amount of creativity. The template-based, mechanically structured essay that impresses SAT graders won’t fare so well in the eyes of an admissions committee, particularly at more selective colleges.

5 Things You Need to Know About the ACT

5 Things You Need to Know About the ACT

Of all of the decisions facing hopeful college applicants, the choice between admissions tests can be one of the most confusing. Should you take the SAT or the ACT? Do you need to take the ACT Writing Test? Will colleges think less of you if you submit scores from one test or the other? This quick guide provides an overview to understand the ACT.

5 Tips for Requesting Teacher Recommendations

5 Tips for Requesting Teacher Recommendations

Colleges judge applicants by pouring over a variety of materials, from test scores and grades to personal statements and a list of extracurriculars. One component of the application, however, can seem particularly nebulous and perhaps beyond the control of students: The teacher recommendations.