How to Organize Your Summer Test Prep Reply

The summertime is upon us! While every high school student deserves some rest and relaxation, it’s also the perfect time to kick your SAT and ACT prep into gear. With no academic obligations on your plate and a long runway to improve your testing performance, now is the time to start setting yourself up for college success. In this brief guide, I’ll show you exactly how to make the most of your summer and walk into the fall ready to knock these tests out of the park.

Summer Prep Tip #1: Cancel the Cramming and Covet Consistency

The most underrated ingredient in any successful test prep program is long-term effort. You can’t cram for the SAT and the ACT – they test large banks of information applied in unique ways, and they test process more than they test knowledge. If you give your brain the time to develop thick, well-developed pathways for these processes and facts, you’ll have an incredibly easy time tackling these exams.

With that in mind, your focus should be on small bits of steady, everyday effort. If you can put in 20-45 minutes a day throughout the summer, you won’t just be making things easier on yourself – you’ll also be using your brain the way it’s meant to be used. Don’t put off your prep and then try to get in eight hours on a Sunday – instead, try to focus on small, consistent study sessions on a daily basis, and feel free to split them up! If you can do twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes in the afternoon, you’ll be in amazing shape.

With that in mind, make sure to pick a program that allows you to study on your own schedule! Most SAT and ACT classes and tutors have somewhat restrictive scheduling limitations, which won’t allow you to optimize your summer prep. Instead, find a way to study that allows you to do small bits of work on your schedule, whenever you have the time.

Summer Prep Tip #2: Make Sure You’re Studying for the Right Test

Things in the testing world have gone topsy turvy. The PSAT is now in the New SAT format starting this fall, the SAT is going to switch in March of 2016, and the most recent versions of the current SAT have had their fair share of problems over the last few months. Fortunately for you, this makes life easier, not harder.

As far as I’m concerned, your best bet is to pursue one of these two paths:

  1. Study for the ACT, which will kill two birds with one stone. Because the New SAT is almost identical to the current ACT, by studying for the ACT, you’ll be able to knock out the ACT, the New SAT, and the New PSAT (I guess that’s three birds…).
  2. If you vastly prefer the current version of the SAT to the ACT, you should study up and take it before it changes in March.

Summer Prep Tip #3: Pick a Flexible Program

Summertime is marked by totally unpredictable schedules. You never know where you’ll be, when, or for how long. With that in mind, it’s essential that you pick a program that works wherever you happen to be, and that doesn’t rely on a set-in-stone schedule. As we already discussed, consistency is key, so choosing a program that accommodates the flexibility of your summer schedule will be essential.

Classroom courses are the worst offenders. If you have to be in a specific place at a specific time week in and week out, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. If you work with a tutor, make sure that he or she can work with you online via Skype or video conferencing software, and be sure that he or she can work on different schedules throughout the summer.

The most flexible way to prep is usually through an online course (a reason why online SAT and ACT prep programs are rapidly increasing in popularity). As long as you have a laptop with you, you can prepare whenever you find the time and wherever you happen to be. All you’ll need is the discipline to log into the program after a day at the lake or the beach (sometimes, it’s easier to study before you’ve been out in the sun all day).

No Matter What, Starting Early is Essential

No matter which program you use, and no matter which test you decide to take, the best thing you can do for your performance is to start preparing today. The longer the runway you give yourself to prepare, the less work you have to do on a daily basis, the more breathing room you have, and the more effectively your brain will be able to retain information. Even if you only put in ten minutes a day, starting now will be the smartest decision you can possibly make!

Thanks so much for reading my guide! Have a great summer, and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.


Anthony-James Green is a world-renowned SAT and ACT tutor with over 13,000 hours of experience teaching these tests, crafting curriculum, and training other tutors to teach their own students. Business Insider recently named Anthony: “America’s Top SAT Tutor


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

What’s Next After Graduation? Looking for Your First Job Reply

Congratulations, you’ve graduated from college! But now that you’ve gotten your diploma, what’s next?

Step one: Find a job.

If you haven’t found a job and you are already into the summer of your graduation, then it is time to update your resume, apply for a number of jobs that you qualify for, and prepare for the professional interviews that are to come.

When building your resume, be sure to research as much as you can online from a variety of different sources. Trends in hiring can, and do, change quite often, which means it is vital for you to be able to create a resume that will highlight your skills and experience and get noticed by potential employers. A resume is a bit like an elevator pitch of your accomplishments. Keep in mind keywords, format, length, readability, relevant experience, and anything else that will show hiring managers what value you can bring to their company.

Depending on your degree, stay open minded about the types of jobs you apply to. Look for work that has decent starting pay, is generally in your desired career field, and offers you a chance to gain quality experience and learn from your employer. You may be sick of learning, but college and work are two completely different worlds. Getting an internship at a company where you want to work is also a good way to get your foot in the door.

Never pass up the opportunity to work under experienced professionals that can mentor you and give you valuable skills to put on your resume for your next job. Believe it or not, only around 27 percent of college graduates find a job that is directly related to their major, according to the US Bureau of the Census. What this means is the bulk of your skills will come from on-the-job experience, so finding an employer that will help you grow is essential.

No matter what your goals are, the most important part is to keep an open mind. You never know what sorts of opportunities will present themselves. Fortune favors the bold, so get out there and start applying.

Important Tips for the Recent College Grad Reply

The late nights cramming for finals is over; you’ve put your cap and gown away…yes, you’ve survived college and it’s time to enter the real world.  Now before you start picking out the Ferrari or the McMansion, the first thing you’ll need to do is find a job.  While you’ve likely taken some type of employment seminar, nothing in the real world is ever textbook.  Below are important tips that I believe every new graduate should follow.

Network, network, network!  Like most recent graduates, your network is likely more limited than those who’ve been in the workforce for several years.  One thing to remember, especially in a tight job market (and even in a great market) is that many times the old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” does hold some truth.  Sure, you still need to be qualified, however it never helps to have someone on the inside.  So how does one network?

  • LinkedIn– not your traditional networking, however this is one social network you don’t want to dismiss!
  • Connect/converse without limits– don’t sell your network short by networking with only those who can help you achieve your goals. Be open, honest and genuine with everyone- it’s amazing how small the world is and karma has a way of coming back to find us.
  • Listen- don’t just listen for opportunities in the ‘now’, listen to what those around you say. What makes their job difficult?  Is that something you can fix?  If you’re able to connect these dots the opportunities afforded to you will be many.

Concentrate on that Resume!  A resume, by Webster’s own definition, is simple- it’s a personal summary.  So why not skip all the theatrics, slap together a few blurbs around your experience and start getting those applications out the door?  The reality is that for each position you apply for, there are hundreds, if not more, other people trying to get the coveted interview.  Now you don’t need to ship your resume off with glitter ink, watermarks and neon orange paper (unless the position calls for quirky or gaudy), however you do need to make sure that the content of your resume is organized in a manner that easy to digest.

  • Styles- make sure the overall style of your resume plays to your strengths. As a recent graduate you will want to focus on the skills and knowledge that you’ve just earned.  A narrative focusing on how those courses and any extracurricular activities relate to the position at hand may be the best way to go.
  • The little things– even the most perfect resume in the world is quickly derailed by spelling and grammar errors. Unless you’ve broke out the quill and ink vial, give the spellchecker a click and then make sure you give it a once over- if possible find another set of eyes to review.  Don’t be that guy…or gal who fails to heed this advice!
  • Customize- unless you’re applying for the same position at the same organization over and over again, you should have more than one resume. In fact, you should make sure that each resume is suited and tailored for each position which you apply.
  • Keywords- make sure your resume is filled with keywords, this will ensure your resume will make it through the applicant tracking system. Often, keywords are simply job titles, skills, certifications and so on. I would suggest making a list of your targeted jobs and review the job posting and make a list of what terms or keywords appear many times, as this will give you an idea of what to use in your resume.

Beyond these tips, remember that even in the greatest of economies it takes time to land that perfect job.  If you’re not getting much traction in the way of interviews, consider using a professional resume writer.  They’re often able to help punch past that first layer and help land the interview.  In the end, remain positive and be persistent as you follow your dreams.

 

Michelle Kruse has more than 10 years of hiring and recruiting experience and a background in coaching and leadership development. At ResumeEdge, Michelle recruits and hires resume writers, provides training and ongoing support, manages strategic partnerships and serves as a subject matter expert on the job search process.

The ABA: Stuck in the 20th Century Reply

There are many online schools that offer law degrees and programs. Such programs can lead to a career as a paralegal and positions in corporations that require extensive legal knowledge. If you have already passed the bar, you can take online Master of Law (LLM) degrees to focus on particular areas of the law. Online programs can boost the career of executive and HR professionals, and provide many other great opportunities. In short, these degrees can take you anywhere you’d like to go… unless you’d like to practice law.

The American Bar Association provides accreditation for law schools that offer a Juris Doctorate (JD) Degree – the degree that allows you to take the bar exam and practice law. Online Juris Doctorate program exists, but as of the time of this article, the ABA has yet to approve any online JD programs. All states except for California require that you have received a JD degree from an ABA approved school before you are allowed to take the exam. So, unless you plan on spending the first several years of your career as a lawyer practicing in California, your only choice for law school is a traditional brick-and-mortar institution.

Since the ABA frequently reviews schools and approves Juris Doctorate programs for schools all over the country, we can only assume that there is a perception in the field that an online education is somehow inadequate for someone who wishes to practice law. To this perception, we have no choice but to say, “we object, your honors!” and ask the ABA to consider the evidence.

  • Exhibit A: Online education works: advancements in technology have provided online environments that allow for a learning experience that equals and sometimes exceeds the traditional classroom. In most cases it is easy to get one-on-one assistance from your professor, attend lectures, find a tutor, and collaborate with other students on group projects. Accredited online degrees exist for most other disciplines, and have existed for quite some time.
  • Exhibit B: The value and quality of online degree programs has been generally accepted in the corporate world. Most employers recognize the validity of online degrees and regularly hire graduates from these programs. State and private universities all over the United States have recognized the quality and rigor of online education and have created their own online degree programs.

We understand that law is the basis of society, and that the profession is one of the oldest and most respected. However, we believe that there is room in the profession for innovation and fresh thinking. It’s time for the American Bar Association to step into the 21st century and seriously examine and consider approving online JD programs.


Tony Hornsby works in the public pension industry and writes in his free time.  He has a BS degree in Business Management and enjoys writing, reading, and martial arts.  Follow Tony on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RoughandRuggedRoad.

Corinthian Colleges abruptly closes 28 campuses; 16,000 students’ future uncertain Reply

After 20 years of operation, for-profit Corinthian Colleges Inc. will shut down their remaining 28 campuses, including 10 locations in California, as well as other colleges in California, Arizona, and New York under the Everest, WyoTech, and Heald college names. Corinthian Colleges was under investigation and charged with a $30 million fine by the federal government for misrepresentation of job placement data, attendance records, deceptive and aggressive marketing tactics, and altered grades.

Even though Corinthian Colleges expected the closure for months, more than 16,000 degree-seeking students received notice Sunday that the college they had been attending will be closed starting Monday. Many students received tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, and will now be looking to transfer their credits to another college in hopes to finish their degree or seek federal student loan forgiveness. However, because Corinthian Colleges was a private college, there is a strong chance that their credits will not be transferable.

Groups of devastated students are now protesting their federal student loans and meeting with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, located in Washington D.C., to help figure out a solution for all of the students affected. Many frustrated students were mere months away from graduating with a full bachelor’s degree and now face uncertainty about their educational and financial future.

At its peak, Corinthian Colleges operated 120 campuses with over 110,000 students across North America and doubled revenue to $1.75 billion from 2007 to 2011. The order of the closure comes from the U.S. Education Department, who barred access to student loans in the summer of 2014, as the Obama Administration works to crack down on frivolous for-profit colleges that promise educational and career success to people looking to better themselves and seek the American Dream.

Though this marks a potentially disastrous outcome for many students and employees of the colleges, it will be a cautionary tale for students and educational institutions alike.

Top Tools to Help You Write Awesome Admission and Scholarship Essays Reply

Writing application essays has to be the hardest part of the college admission process. You have already taken the standardized tests and your GPA is fixed. You’ll get some recommendation letters, and fill in the application form without any serious obstacles. The only thing that stands in your way is the admission essay, which has to be great if you want to present yourself as a candidate that every college would like to have on campus.

The scholarship essay is a story of its own. You have to consider the requirements of different programs and present yourself as a suitable candidate.

The following list of tools will help you complete successful admission and scholarship essays!

You won’t achieve success by submitting a confusing paper that lacks proper structure. The basic essay format works effectively for completing admission and scholarship essays. The chart above, provided on the website of Monash University will help keep your content focused.

If you have any questions about essay writing in general, this is where you’ll find the answer. Feel free to use the search option before you post a thread; it’s likely someone has probably faced the same issue and already received an answer by the forum members. You can even use this website to get feedback on the drafts you’ve written.

Paper writing service Ninja Essays is a great solution for college and scholarship applicants who face serious obstacles during the process of essay writing. You can collaborate with real writers, who will assist you along the way and help you increase your chances of getting accepted into the school of your choice.

This is a collaborative and supportive community of writers with different skills and interests. If you are willing to deal with constructive criticism, feel free to ask for advice. The membership at this website is free and you’ll benefit from it not only during the admissions, but throughout your college education as well.

Story 2 has a specific aim: to help you write better admission essays. This is a writing course based on the Moments Method, which has helped many college applicants construct successful essays.

This site offers tips, sample essays, exercises, and prompts that will help you understand what universities and colleges expect to see in an application. The available resources can help you write great admission essays, as well as fellowships and scholarship applications.

This section of the Teen Ink website is a very useful source of inspiration. Remember one thing: you must never copy or rewrite other people’s essays. The papers featured here can serve as an example, but base your admission essays on your personal experience, interests, and qualities.

This guide breaks down the different aspects of a successful college essay. The tips may seem theoretical in the beginning, but they will lead you toward completing a specific, clear, and concise admission essay.

Before you start writing the paper, you need to know what exactly you’re supposed to deliver. This guide, provided by US News, will get you on the right track. Your admission essays should be accurate, coherent, and vivid. This guide can show you how to achieve that.

A scholarship essay is different from the admission papers you write, according to the requirements of different colleges. This guide, provided by ScholarshipsAndAwards.net, informs you about the standards you need to achieve in order to be considered as a suitable candidate for a particular program.

Regardless of the tools and guides you use while working on your application essays, you should always keep in mind that this process requires a lot of time. Start writing as soon as possible!

Robert Morris is an educator and writer from NYC. He is developing his first online course on English literature, and loves yoga and edtech. Follow him on Google+!

The New SAT: What to Do, When, and How 1

As if the college application process wasn’t enough to worry about, the College Board has decided to layer on an entirely new complication: the announcement of the New SAT, arriving March, 2016 in school gyms near you. Fortunately, while the reasons for the launch of the New SAT are a bit complicated, the actions you should take to deal with it are not.

Before we jump in, let’s take a very quick look at the reasons why the College Board has decided to change its exam for the second time in a decade:

  1. The ACT has become more popular. The College Board is losing market share. The ACT is now taken by more students each year, and the trend away from the SAT and toward the ACT is getting steeper by the season.
  2. The SAT is now seen as the “more complicated” test. Which it is. The ACT and the SAT are both equally as difficult, but the ACT is more straightforward and As a result, the College Board is trying to craft an exam that’s much more like the current version of the ACT.
  3. People hate the current version of the SAT. Switching from 1600 to 2400 points, requiring an essay that no one reads, and disrupting the familiar format of the exam were all very unpopular moves. The new (2005) version of the test was a flop (and largely responsible for the ACT’s surge in popularity), and so the College Board is recognizing their need to change.

What’s going to change on the new test? You can find the entire list of changes here. It’s a lot to digest, so here’s an extremely brief summary:

  1. The test is going back to a 1600-point format. No more 2400-point scale – the test will go back to the familiar 1600-point scale we all know and hate, with two sections: one for math, and one for “verbal.”
  2. The essay will be optional, rather than required. Just like the ACT.
  3. Vocabulary will be less of a concern. There will still be some “in context” vocab, but for the most part, the “pure vocabulary” elements will get nixed.
  4. No more “wrong answer penalty.” Just like the ACT.
  5. More emphasis on “digesting and analyzing graphs and real-time information.” Just like the ACT.

Basically, the test as you know it is gone. For all intents and purposes, it’s going to turn into an ACT with a slightly different structure and a 1600-point grading scale.

The biggest question is this: what do you do about it?

1. If you’re taking either test before March 2016, it’s business as usual. If you want to take the SAT, take the SAT. If you want to take the ACT, take the ACT. To figure out which one you should take, use my free guide here.

2. If you’re taking your standardized tests between March 2016 and June 2016, stick with the ACT. We don’t know exactly what the new SAT will look like, or how well the College Board will roll it out, or how the grading curve will look. If you want to be a guinea pig for the College Board, then by all means – take the March, May, and June 2016 versions of the exam. Otherwise, let them work out their kinks and focus on the ACT instead. The ACT is reliable and predictable – best to stick with the devil you know.

3. After June 2016, we’ll all have a much better idea of what the new SAT looks like, acts like, and “grades” like – from there, pick whichever test works best for you. In June 2016, I’ll be launching a new, free guide to help you decide which test you should focus on.

4. If you’re planning on taking the 2015 PSAT (which will be in the “New SAT” format), study for the ACT! Currently, there aren’t enough materials out to study for the new SAT (the College Board is yet to release their guide, due in mid-June). But the New SAT will be in almost exactly the same format as the current ACT – if you prep for the ACT now, you’ll basically be killing two birds with one stone – knocking out the ACT and prepping for the PSAT. When the new PSAT materials come out this summer, you can just check those for a quick brush up and alteration before you head into the exam.

Not so bad, right? Just follow the four steps above and you’ll be all set. The New SAT is certainly a thorn in our sides, but it’s far from the end of the world. Now that you know what to do, the best piece of advice is to start prepping as soon as you possibly can! The earlier you begin this process, the sooner you’ll have it off your plate, and the more time you’ll have to improve your scores.

Anthony-James Green is world-renowned SAT and ACT tutor with over 10,000 hours of experience teaching these tests, crafting curriculum, and training other tutors to teach their own students. He is also the founder of TestPrepAuthority.com. CNN recently named Anthony: “The SAT tutor to the 1%

Visiting Campuses. It’s That Time of the Year Reply

Going on a campus tour is a great way for both students and parents to get a sense of what a college has to offer and a feel for the entire campus environment first-hand.

For students, a campus visit will help you find out about the social scene, what kinds of activities are available, and the dorm room living situation. For parents, you can find out if a specific college will give your child the education they need to help them become successful after graduation. Student-to-teacher ratio, average classroom size, extracurricular clubs, and sports are all things that will factor into the decision of whether or not a college is a good fit.

Start by researching local and distance campuses online to see what each has to offer and choose a few that you would like to visit. Be selective about how many campuses you would like to visit. Campus tours can take a half or even a whole day depending on how in depth you would like to get.

Once you are ready to schedule a campus visit, contact the admissions office so that you can find out when tours are offered and if you need to reserve a spot. Typically, campus tours are done with a group of other prospective students and their parents, so be sure to call ahead in advance.

Also, ask the admissions representative about informational sessions where you can learn more about the college’s history, courses and majors offered, financial aid, tuition and fees, and any other questions you might have that you aren’t able to find in brochures or by visiting the college online. This is also a good time to find out about other opportunities that you can arrange, including attending a class and meeting with a professor, going to a club or sports event, visiting the student union and eating in the dining hall, and sometimes even spending a night in a dorm.

As you are walking around the campus, peeking your head into classrooms, and collecting informational resources, don’t be afraid to ask a few questions to some of the college’s existing students. Here are some great questions you could ask to give you an insider’s view of the college:

  • How easy is it to meet with professors after class?
  • Is it easy to register for the classes you want?
  • How do you like living in the dorms?
  • What sorts of activities outside of class do you like to do?
  • What is the reputation of the sororities and fraternities?
  • Is there anything that you don’t like about the campus?
  • What is the safety and security like on campus?

With the vast amount of choices for incoming freshman, it pays to be selective when choosing a college or university that is great fit throughout your entire degree program. Take notes and consider scheduling a follow-up visit to the school you are leaning towards. Going to college can be a very expensive endeavor, but it will pay off in the end – especially if you chose one where you are most likely to be successful and happy.

Use Online Course to Pick the Right College Major Reply

Written by Joseph Rauch, writer at SkilledUp.

Have you decided on your major? If so, great! However, you won’t actually know what it will be like until you take a course.

Only a few years ago, there was no practical way of testing the water before stepping onto campus. Students had to take a somewhat blind leap and hope the courses in their majors would live up to their expectations and fulfill their passion. If they didn’t, oh well. There went a huge chunk of their money and at least a year of their lives.

Students do have the option of entering college with an undeclared major. However, this means they run the risk of wasting time and money by sampling in-person courses in an effort to figure out their major. For example, a student could spend hundreds of dollars and an entire semester on an introductory economics course only to discover the field wasn’t right for them.

Now things are different. Thanks to the rise of Massive Open Online Courses [MOOCs] and their respective providers, incoming college freshman have a way to test drive their major for free online instead of discovering whether they like it after they’ve already registered.

MOOCs attempt to offer as much of the college course experience as possible from the comfort of your home computer. Each one has video lectures, class materials such as slides, quizzes, and assignments, and the option of reaching out to professors and fellow students for feedback and answers to important questions. You can take them on a schedule or sign up for self-paced, archived courses, which will limit your interactivity but still offer the same information.

These courses are a smart way of planning ahead so you don’t end up with the wasted investment in a major that did not live up to your expectations. MOOCs also help high schoolers affirm their interests and prepare for their majors before entering college.

“I’ve always been pretty interested in programming, but I had never had a lot of exposure to it,” said Florida high school senior David Cooney. “Through Coursera and a few entry level programming courses, I was able to get a better understanding of what computer science was like. I’m applying to a few schools in Florida and to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with my intended major being computer science.”

Cooney is one of millions of online course takers who have used Coursera, which people in ed tech often refer to as one of the “Big Three” MOOC providers. There are also older students who take MOOCs and look back on the issue of choosing a college major with a nuanced perspective, wishing they had once enjoyed the option of testing the water with free resources.

“When I decided on my major, I was extending my high school interests, most often created by a teacher who had made an impact,” said Thomas Johnson, an avid MOOC taker in his 50s and Germanic studies scholar, as he described his college years. “Bad mistake. I went all the way through pre-lims and was writing a dissertation before I awoke to my actual interests. My excuse is simple: I was making these decisions before the digital information age.”

Johnson also recommends using Quora, a curated online forum that allows you to pose questions and receive answers from a community.

“So my advice is simple: examine which Quora topics get you interested or intrigued. Then take a free MOOC to see if the academic approach to that topic still works. Then go for it at the very best school you can find to match your skills and abilities,” he said.

Granted, this advice may not be for everyone. If you have no idea what your interests are, college can be a great place to discover that so long as you can afford it.

Still, it’s clear that MOOCs are one way to test drive your major, discover new interests, and perhaps even give yourself an advantage over other freshman. Most of them are free. So, the worst case scenario is that you’ll waste a few hours of your life as opposed to hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on the wrong major.

Joseph Rauch is a Writer who graduated with a degree in psychology and creative writing from NYU. He writes for SkilledUp and has published pieces with The Huffington Post, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, FindSpark, The Halo Group, and many more publications.

Is Studying for the SAT Useless? Reply

iStock_000001927691SmallThe SAT is a test shrouded in myths. One of the most prominent is the idea that woven deep into the very fabric of your DNA is an “SAT gene”, and stamped on that gene is a number as immutable as the number of commandments Moses received up on Mt. Sinai. Those who buy into this idea regard prepping for the SAT as akin to moving Mt. Sinai itself. More…