FINALLY (College Prep)

Finally, my 30 years of coaching remind me how important stress reduction is to high SAT I scores. In fact, in my opinion, it is the most important preparation variable. For Christians, at least, stress reduction is best accomplished by a frequent and rigorous devotional and Bible memorization program and disciplined devotional time.

Here are a few common-sense sorts of things to know about college admission:

  • Don’t be discouraged by high tuition charges. Private colleges, for instance, especially the costly ones, usually have much more money to give away in financial aid than state-supported schools. While cost consideration is an issue, many competitive colleges are very generous with financial aid.
  • Financial aid is offered according to SAT scores, need, race/gender, transcript/ recommendations, zip code—in that order. The financial aid process is separate from the admission process.
  • A college will look at your entire high school record, from ninth grade on. But a college knows that a transcript is subjective and still want an SAT I or ACT score.
  • Keep good records of interviews. Use your prayer journal to record what God is doing in your life through the process.
  • You should make sure that you have taken pre-algebra, algebra I, algebra II, geometry, and advanced math (optional). If the way is clear, for practical considerations, take a consumer math course senior year.
  • Playing a musical instrument and participating in debate are two events that many colleges consider special, and applicants with special talents get special consideration, above and beyond those who do nothing in school but get good grades.
  • A second language helps your college application but I recommend Latin as one of your languages. By all means, take at least two years of each language.
  • The volume of your mail is an early indication of how desirable a college applicant you will be. Colleges only recruit students they really want. The more mail you get, the more colleges want you.
  • Show interest in the college. Be assertive.
  • Be creative on your transcript. Advanced Literary Analysis: Beowulf to Ben Jonson sounds a whole lot better than English Literature I.
  • Take the SAT I in the spring of your junior year.
  • Take the SAT II if necessary. The SAT II is a subject area exam. Besides many competitive colleges require that all students take 2-3 exams, it is a way to show special knowledge. For instance, engineering majors who wish to attend Georgia Tech may find it advantageous to take a subject area in physics.
  • Consider taking a CLEP or AP test or two.
  • In your junior year visit the college(s) you are considering.
  • If you apply to a college, you want the admission officer to have a favorable impression of you, even before reading your application. The interview when you visit the campus is your shot at creating that impression. The interview is important-especially to a home school student.

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