Tag Archives: ACT

3 Reasons Reading is the Key to Getting into College

Everybody knows that reading is really important once you’re in college. Most college classes typically involve lectures followed by massive reading assignments. If you don’t like to read, college is going to be a struggle.

Most people know this, but did you know that reading is actually the key to getting into college in the first place?

Here are three reasons reading is the key to getting into college:

1. Admission Tests

Your high school grades are important to colleges, but admission test scores are equally important.

Why?file0001494750257

SAT and ACT scores are important because they are consistent.  Grades can vary from school to school. An A+ at one school may not equal an A+ at another school. Some teachers require more out of their students. For example, getting a B+ in a challenging chemistry class may mean that you have learned and can apply more knowledge than a student who received an A+ in a chemistry class with a teacher who wasn’t challenging at all.

The bottom line is that if you want to get into college you will need to demonstrate your knowledge and ability through a good score on the SAT or ACT.

So what does any of this have to do with reading?

Reading drastically improves SAT and ACT scores. It’s all about vocabulary and comprehension. To do well on either the SAT or ACT you have to have excellent reading comprehension and vocabulary.  Being able to read (and understand what you are reading) will help you in every section of the admission tests. You will save a lot of precious time if you don’t have to stop and think about what words mean and what the questions are asking.

Reading is the single best way to improve vocabulary and comprehension. You can prepare for the admission tests by studying vocabulary specifically, but honestly, how long can you study the dictionary? Reading is a much more natural and effective way to improve your vocabulary. The earlier you start the better. Reading should be a part of your daily routine.

 2. Essays

When it comes time to start applying for college, students will need to be able to write. Essays are a crucial part of the college admission process as well as the scholarship process. Colleges want to find out about who you are and what better way is there than through your essays.

But wait, I thought this article was about reading not writing? It is, I promise.

Consistent and regular reading is one of the best ways for you to develop your own voice, your storytelling voice. Reading great books, magazines, blogs or anything else that interests you will help you learn how compelling stories are told. As you read you will naturally and effortlessly absorb great writing skills. You’ll learn more about writing from reading your favorite sci-fi series than you could possibly imagine and it won’t even feel like studying.

3. The Reading List

Are you smart? Prove it. Colleges want to know if you are smart enough to handle their most challenging courses. After all, colleges are all about academics. A lot of students will only submit the required information to colleges when applying, but you can do more.

Submit a copy of your reading list.

Show admission officers that you are self-motivated and that reading is a part of who you are. They know that reading is crucial to your success at college and this will go a long way in helping them see that you are ready.

So what are you waiting for? Set some goals for yourself this summer to read more than ever before. You’ll be glad you did.

What About You?

Now I’d like to hear from you. What’s your reading list look like? Do you even like to read?

Share your favorite book(s) of all time below. Maybe we can all find some great books to add to our reading list. Thanks so much.

 

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Are Standardized Tests Necessary for College Acceptance?

Hammond Quote

Standardized Tests; nobody likes them but we (and by “we” I of course mean they, them, the powers that be) can’t seem to get enough of them.  We’re addicted to them.  From elementary school on we’re teaching kids how to become expert test takers, a skill that becomes nearly useless the minute they leave the school. 

I’m an optimist though, so I’m going to assume most people are smart enough to realize that tests like the SAT and ACT only measure a tiny fraction of what is gained through an education. These tests show a very narrow view of the student. They fall tragically short of how the real world measures success. Real life solutions are not presented with options A, B, C, or D.  Outside of the classroom, critical thinking is king, multiple choice answers simply don’t exist.

Are the SAT and ACT Really Necessary?

Despite all the gloom surrounding standardized tests I’m holding out hope. I recently read this article about the SAT and ACT. Personally, I like the idea of not judging a student based on their 4 hour performance on a Saturday morning. Hard work, creativity, problem solving, commitment, ingenuity, these are the things that can make great students, but get lost on standardized tests.

As of now, you still need to take them, but maybe someday we’ll move past all that. There are currently around 800 colleges that leave the SAT and ACT test submission as optional. Those colleges want more than a standardized test scores to determine what kind of student you are. Results of a recent study showed that students who did not submit SAT and ACT test results to colleges performed just as well as those who did.

Imagine…

Imagine a world where you actually had to be creative and find new ways to demonstrate your abilities to gain acceptance into college. Maybe instead of SAT scores you could show the admission team a successful business you started. Maybe instead of ACT scores you could show them a portfolio of web based projects you’ve worked on. Or perhaps an engineering student could show a construction project he or she designed and completed. Maybe instead of a score on one test you show them a pattern of hard work and commitment to your intended major.

Just a thought.

What do you think? What experiences have you had with these types of tests? How do you think a person should be judged for acceptance into a college program?

Share your thoughts.

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ACT: Two Dates Left

Juniors and seniors have options when it comes to college admission tests. Some students take the SAT, some the ACT, some take both.  The ACT is a test that measures what a student has learned. It has 5 components: English, math, reading, science, and an optional writing test.

Your ACT score is one of the major criteria that admissions officers will be looking at when they make the decision whether or not to accept you. If you take the test early you’ll have plenty of time to retake it if you need to. Don’t push the ACT off to the last minute.

April 12th  is the next available test date for the ACT.  The registration deadline for that test is March 7th.

June 14th is the last test date available for seniors. The registration deadline for that test is May 9th. 

For more information about the ACT and to register online for an upcoming test visit: http://www.actstudent.org/regist/

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Profound Tip #1: Like Your Major

Like your major.

There you go, pretty profound, huh? Apparently some high school students need to hear this, actually a lot. You see, only 36% are actually following this advice.

The ACT College Choice report for 2013-2014 recently reported that 36% of students said that they are planning on choosing a major that is a good fit with their measured interests. ACT’s figures are taken from two simple pieces of data; first, the students ACT Interest Inventory scores and second, the students intended major.  After matching what students reported interest in and what they are going to be majoring in only 36% aligned. Does that surprise you?

Only 36% of high school seniors getting ready to head off to college think it’s a good idea to do something that they are interested in; 64% don’t.

Choosing a major

Maybe that’s why about 64% of people working today can’t stand their jobs and live for the weekend.  Coincident? I think not.

We can’t forget it takes three things to make a career work:

  1. Passion
  2. Talent/Ability
  3. Money

If you aren’t even interested in something how in the heck are you going to be passionate about it? A career without passion is soul-sucking. Don’t do it. Choose a major that will meet all three criteria for a successful career, and while your at it make sure its something you like.

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SAT or ACT: Which Test Should I Take?

It’s that time of the year. Fall has finally come. School is in full swing and it’s time to get to work planning your life after graduation. If you’ve decided that going to college after high school is going to be a part of your plan, then you need to consider which college admission exam to take. The two big ones are the SAT and the ACT.

What are the SAT and ACT?

The SAT and ACT are nationally administered standardized tests. These tests are designed to help colleges evaluate potential students. Your scores on these tests are often a prerequisite for college acceptance.

Which test do I need to take?

Most colleges accept either test’s scores but it is always important to check with the colleges you are applying for to make sure of their specific requirements. You can typically find this on their website under admission requirements.

Which should I choose?

If after looking up the requirements of your potential colleges you find that you have the option of taking either exam, then the choice is yours. There are a lot of differences between the two exams and the choice is mostly a matter of preference.  The SAT is more of an aptitude test whereas the ACT is an achievement based test. Here are some specifics about each test to help you make a more informed decision.


The SAT

As I mentioned above, the SAT is an aptitude test. It measures reasoning and vocabulary much more heavily than the ACT.

The Content:

The SAT has three major components which include: Critical Reasoning, Mathematics, and Writing.  It is then broken down into 10 smaller sections which require you to rotate back and forth between math, writing, and reading. If you choose to take this exam you have to be comfortable with switching between content a lot. This exam also has a lot of reading comprehension and sentence completion, so if you enjoy vocabulary and language is your thing then this test might be your first choice.

Scoring:

The SAT also scores differently than the ACT.  The SAT has no room for luck. That’s right, no guessing; ¼ of a point is subtracted from your raw score for each wrong answer. Colleges will look at the results from each individual section with the SAT.

Time:

The SAT takes 3 hours and 45 minutes.

 


The ACT

The ACT measures what you have learned in school. It focuses more on content and what you know in specific subjects.

The Content:

The ACT has five sections: English, Math, Reading, Science, and Writing. The writing section of this test is optional but may be required by the colleges you are applying to, so make sure you find out before skipping it! This exam moves through the five sections without jumping around. It also focuses on more advanced mathematical concepts than the SAT (think basic trigonometry). The ACT is unique in that has a science section which requires reasoning skills and the ability to interpret data.

Scoring:

The ACT has no penalty for guessing and only scores the questions you answer correctly. It also has a composite score which shows potential colleges how your combined scores measured up against others. With ACT tests, colleges are more concerned with your overall score and less with how you did in a specific section.

Time:

The ACT takes 3 hours and 25 minutes.


Remember:  

Don’t put off taking your test. Sometimes life happens and you get sick, nervous, or have family issues and you tank your test. You need to leave yourself enough time to get the scores back look at them and decide if you need to take the test again. Charles Baudelaire says it best “In putting off what one has to do, one runs the risk of never being able to do it.”  Don’t procrastinate.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments about the SAT or ACT I’d love to hear from you.

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