Introduced last year throughout the United States in grades K-12, the “Common Core” quickly gained a plethora of proponents as well as opponents.
As the controversy of the “Common Core” continues, the curriculum’s proponents are taking the importance of it a step further, pushing for it to be used in college admissions, according to a recent article by Andrew Desiderio.
Lindsey Tepe, an education policy program associate at the New America Foundation, told Real Clear Policy, “We don’t want this effort to stop at the college door.” Tepe added that the Common Core standards were “developed with the idea that they are college and career-readiness standards” and it would seem “very silly that they would not also then say that if you meet your state’s standard, that should then qualify as a minimum admissions standard to the lowest tier of four-year universities in that state.”
On the other hand, Joy Pullman, a researcher at the Heartland Institute and managing editor of School Reform News, said, “The central problem with using Common Core as the standard for immediate, non-remedial entrance into all colleges is that it is a low standard fit, not for all college admissions, but for two-year community colleges.”
According to Desiderio, Pullman said if colleges were to use Common Core for admissions, it would force competitive colleges and universities to “reduce their admissions standards, because Common Core standards are far below what competitive colleges have in the past required.”
So what would this mean for the ACT and SAT, the two college admissions exams that students take to qualify for college?
Tepe suggests Common Core assessments might even eliminate the need for the ACT and SAT. She suggests that if a state that has adopted the Common Core standards and a student in that state scores at the “college ready” level “it does not make sense for a student to have to both pass college-ready (Common Core standards) as well as college-ready on ACT or SAT in order to gain minimum admission to a university.”
Time will tell if the Common Core may or may not be the bench mark for colleges and universities in determining if a student is college ready, and if, in fact, the ACT and SAT may be replaced.
The important factor is that students will still need to be college ready and, for them to be best prepared, students will still need to practice and be mentored by professionals to achieve the scores they need to get into college.
We offer a variety of programs that will prepare you for college, so if you are interested, please give us a call as we can discuss what you need to do to prepare for the college admission process.
Three months after the College Board, who runs the SAT, announced major changes in its college admissions exam, the ACT has said that it is broadening how it reports students’ scores.
According to a recent article by Kimberly Hefling, the ACT’s traditional 36-point scale will remain the same, but beginning next year, high school students will receive scores on two new “readiness indicators.” These new indicators will show students how they performed in terms of “career readiness” and “understanding complex text.”
There will be new category which will give students a separate score on their STEM performance, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, and combines the science and math sections of the ACT.
The second new category will be in the area of language arts, which combines how students performed on the reading and writing portions of the ACT.
The essay, or writing section of the ACT, will remain optional for those who take the exam, but the writing section will be modified to make the essay topics more advanced and to require test takers to provide multiple perspectives on a topic.
The ACT officials reported that these changes have been “well-researched” and have been years in the making.
President of the ACT, Jon Erickson said, “We’re continuing to polish it, but not rebuild it.” Erickson mentioned that these new results that students will see will allow them to interpret them and added, “it will be enlightening and, dare I say, exciting.”
In 2012, the ACT actually had more students take the exam than the SAT, and last year, there were 1.8 million students who took the ACT. And, last spring, the ACT said it would begin offering online testing and started piloting it this year.
The ACT also said it is working on developing language for 2016 that will explain what the ACT scores actually represent as they relate to the newly implemented Common Core standards that a majority of states across the USA are now rolling out.
In addition, the ACT is also making new “open-ended” questions available to school districts in the subject ares of reading, math and science.
If you are planning on taking the ACT, SAT, or both, we offer a variety of programs that will help you be better prepared for these college admissions exams. Please feel free to call us and set up an appointment and we can explain how are program works.
For all of you high school juniors that are planning on going to a four-year college in California once you graduate in 2015, the statistics are in showing how increasingly more difficult it is becoming to being accepted due to the large number of applicants.
The University of California system continues to have a record number of applicants, led by UCLA, which received more applications for the fall of 2014 than any other UC school. UCLA, with its 86,472 freshman applicants, is the most applied-to-four-year university in the nation. Overall, applications for undergraduate admissions at UC campuses rose for the 10th consecutive year.
In addition, UCLA showed that diversity increased among applicants this year, as Chicanos/Latinos, African-Americans, and Native Americans applied in greater numbers than in previous years.
Even though the number of California high school graduates is projected to drop in 2014, UCLA saw a 1.7% jump in the number of California freshman applications. Statistics also showed that 42% of UCLA’s freshman applicants would be first-generation college students and 37% would come from low-income families.
Making it more difficult to get into UCLA, the academic quality of the applicants, measured by high school grade point average, SAT and ACT scores, and the number of academic courses completed, remains extremely high.
UC Berkeley received 73,711 applications for freshman admission for the fall of 2014, an increase of almost 8% compared to last year.
UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore said, “The increase in applications shows that interest in attending UC Berkeley remains high. We’re pleased to see that, year after year, demand remains high, at record levels, and the academic strength of the applicant pool remains high as well.”
UC San Diego received 73,356 freshman applications for the fall of 2014, up 8.8% from last year. In addition, the mean high school GPA for freshman is 3.79 and all SAT reasoning test average scores increased as well.
UCSD Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla said, “UCSD’s global reputation as an academic powerhouse has attracted many talented and well-qualified students. Our rankings as one of the top universities in the world are testament to why UC San Diego continues to enroll the best and the brightest students from all backgrounds.”
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo received its highest number of applications in history this year as 43,794 high school seniors applied. Over the past decade, Cal Poly has nearly doubled its number of applicants. And, while Cal Poly’s application numbers continue to rise drastically, its enrollment figures haven’t climbed quickly, making it even more difficult to be accepted.
As you can see, getting accepted to a college, especially in California, is increasingly becoming more difficult. That is why scoring well on the SAT and ACT, and having an attack plan to get into college is so important.
At Advanced College Solutions, we’re experts at getting students admitted to UC schools! Please give us a call and we can discuss how you can best go about getting into your dream college.
Last week, we wrote about the new and improved Common Application that many high school seniors will need to complete when applying to college in the fall.
Independent college adviser Lee Bierer says that according to the Common Application, the changes are “revolutionary” for applicants, counselors, and teachers as well as the 527 member colleges. The Common Application has undergone a two-year, $8 million overhaul and it is the first update since 2007. Bierer also says that Aba Blankson, the Director of Communications for Common Application said that during the last admissions cycle “723,576 applicants used Common Application to submit 3.05 million applications.”
So, how is the “new” Common Application different?
- According to Bierer, the essay length will now be more closely monitored. The minimum word count will be at 250, while the maximum word count will be capped at 650 words. In addition, the new version will give the opportunity for students to return to their applications and make changes for future applications.
- The new Common Application will no longer include the Extracurricular Activity short answer question, but individual colleges may choose to review a response to that question on their supplements. Also, colleges will have the option to accept “more” writing samples or resumes on their Writing Supplements.
- The biggest change for students applying using the Common Application will be the “new” essay prompts. These are designed to allow students a greater opportunity to be insightful and introspective about their life experiences. Bierer suggests that students should review and evaluate all five topics carefully before “jumping in” and writing what they think college admissions professionals want to read.
- The “Topic of Choice” prompt has been eliminated. Students will need to respond to one of the five new prompts, which are:
- Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
- Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
- Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
- Describe a place of environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
- Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
If you are going to be completing the Common Application and need help organizing and practicing the essay portion, please give us a call and we can set up an appointment to guide you in the right direction.
Did you know that to be eligible to compete and play NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division I or II sports, student-athletes must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center?
So, if you are thinking that you might want to participate in sports at a NCAA Division I or II college, you must register so the Eligibility Center can certify whether you, a prospective college athlete, is eligible. The Eligibility Center does this by reviewing the student-athlete’s academic record, SAT and/or ACT scores, and amateur status to ensure each student-athlete conforms with NCAA rules.
In order to play sports at an NCAA Division I or II college, you must do the following:
- Complete a certain number of high school ‘core courses’
- Earn a certain minimum grade point average in these ‘core courses’
- Earn a certain minimum score on the SAT or ACT
- Graduate from high school
These ‘core courses’ are on the database that the NCAA Eligibility Center keeps and you can also view a list of approved core courses on its High School Portal.
Even though there is not a registration ‘deadline,’ the NCAA recommends that student-athletes register at the beginning of their junior year, although many student-athletes do register later. It is important to know that you must be cleared by the Eligibility Center before you receive an athletic scholarship or compete at a Division I or II college. You must register online so if you need assistance, please contact us to help you. You will need to enter personal information, answer questions about your high schoool course work and sports participation outside of high school. In addition, there is a registration fee, but that can be waived if you meet the criteria.
Once you have completed at least six semesters of high school, you need to arrange to have your transcript sent from your high school to the Eligibility Center. You will also need to have your SAT and/or ACT scores reported directly to the Eligibility Center. You can arrange this when you register for either of the tests.
Remember that the best way to prepare for your future in college is to complete the approved ‘core courses’ and earn excellent grades in each of those classes.
If you need any help or have any questions about the NCAA Eligility Center, please contact us to set up an appointment.
Is Military School Right for Me?
There are different types of military schools. Federal academies are overseen by the US Congress and are charged with supplying commissioned officers for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Merchant Marines.
Private and state-run military institutions operate on a college-application basis. As private institutions, they are not subject to direct federal oversight, and not all graduates enter military service (although many do).
Students in military schools complete a degree program in their chosen field, which includes a core curriculum of English composition, math, engineering and science. Your schedule as a cadet will be highly structured to reinforce the priority of academic excellence and self-development.
Military schools have a disciplined and physically demanding environment; programs conform to strict standards and follow a chain-of-command. If you are up for the challenge, and are willing to succeed, this may be the type school you would prefer.
You should be aware that the academies run by the federal government require their cadets to serve in the military for a few years (usually five) after graduation. Graduates enter their branch as commissioned officers, ready to lead those who have enlisted through regular means.
A cadet’s goal is to strive for academic excellence and pursue the maximum level of academic achievement. Your responsibility is based on your individual abilities, and the academic programs are designed to maximize your capabilities.
There are also opportunities to participate in a wide array of sports. Extra-curricular activities are designed to broaden a student’s mind and provide him or her with the foundations of college success.
There are a number of ways to help you pay for college, but you must do your research. In the federally-run military academies the government pays for your education. However, competition for entrance to the academies is fierce; students must be nominated by a member of Congress or the Department of the Army. Private and state-run military schools work on a regular college application basis.
The choice to attend a military school can definitely move your life and your career in a positive direction. These programs are challenging, but in the end you are quite likely to be rewarded with a great job for which you are well-trained.
If you need assistance in choosing the perfect school, please contact our staff, we would love to help you in your decision making process.
One thousand gifted students are chosen each year for the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program. The scholarship received is “good-through-graduation” and may be used at any college or university the student chooses. Gates Millennium Scholars are provided with personal and professional development through leadership programs along with academic support throughout their college career.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, established in 1999, was initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal of GMS is to promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential. This is accomplished by:
- Reducing financial limitations for African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students who show excellent academic and leadership ability and have great financial need.
- Increasing the representation of these specific groups in the areas of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health and the sciences, where these groups are severely underrepresented.
- Developing a diversified core of future leaders for America by empowering successful completion of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
- Providing consistent support through all levels of study, for students selected as Gates Millennium Scholars entering the academic areas listed above.
The GMS Scholarship Award Provides:
- Support for the cost of education, covering unmet need and self-help aid.
- Renewable awards for Gates Millennium Scholars maintaining acceptable academic advancement.
- Graduate school funding for continuing Gates Millennium Scholars in the areas of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science.
- Leadership development programs with distinctive personal, academic and professional growth opportunities.
The GMS Program is more than just a scholarship. It offers Gates Millennium Scholars Academic Empowerment services to encourage academic excellence; mentoring assistance for academic and personal growth; and an online resource center that provides internship, fellowship and scholarship information.
If you think you might be a candidate for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, contact one of our staff members.
What is ROTC?
The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a college program that trains students to become officers in the United States armed forces. ROTC officers serve in all branches of the U.S. armed forces. Civilian colleges, military colleges and junior colleges all offer ROTC programs. Students complete academic programs as well as receive military training. The focus is on promoting leadership, encouraging honorable conduct, and preparing students to take an officer rank in the military once he or she has graduated. The term of obligatory service varies among the services.
ROTC officers serve in all branches of the U.S. armed forces. ROTC graduates make up 56 percent of the U.S. Army officers, 41 percent of the U.S. Air Force officers, 20 percent of the U.S. Navy officers and 11 percent of the U.S. Marine Corps officers, for a combined 39 percent of all active duty officers serving the Department of Defense.
ROTC training during college organizes students into groups. Depending on which branch of the military, these groups have different names. Army ROTC units are organized as companies, brigades, and battalions. Air Force ROTC units are detachments where students are organized into flights, groups, wings, and squadrons. Both Army and Air Force ROTC students are called cadets. Navy ROTC units are organized as battalions and also include NROTC students under “Marine Option” who will eventually be commissioned officers in the U.S. Marine Corps versus the U.S. Navy. Marine NROTC students may be formed in a separate company when the program includes sufficient numbers. All Navy NROTC students are called midshipmen.
A student may receive a competitive, merit-based scholarship, covering part or all of college tuition, but will have an obligation to active military service when he or she graduates.
ROTC students attend college like other students, but also receive military basic training and officer training for their chosen branch, through the college or university ROTC program. Students participate in regular drills during the school year and extended training activities during the summer.
Is the ROTC the right path for you? Let the professionals at Advanced College Solutions, Inc. help you decide.
July 1st marked the day that the interest rate for a Subsidized Stafford Loan was doubled to the “normal” 6.8% rate. Republicans and Democrats both wanted to extend the lower 3.4% rate, but were unable to agree on a resolution before the July 1, 2012 deadline.
That being the case, let’s look at how this increase will really affect your loan.
- This increase will only affect Subsidized Stafford Loans; Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, or Stafford Loans for graduate students will remain the same. “Subsidized” means that the Federal Government pays the interest while the student is still in school. Remember, subsidized means that the Federal Government pays the interest rate while the student is in school.
- This rate revision will only affect new loans made after July 1, 2012. The interest rate on loans taken prior to this will see no change.
- An extension would only help a small ratio of student borrowers as only about a third of the borrowers qualify for Subsidized Stafford Loans.
How will this impact a student who borrows $19,000, the current maximum, in Subsidized Stafford Loans? The estimated revision will cost about $3,799 over the typical ten year repayment, which is about $31.66 per month.
Is this increase the real issue? Not according to David Feitz, Executive Director of the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority. He states “the proposal is a minor, short-term fix to the nagging problem of college affordability. We favor anything the nation can afford. What we need is a longer-term solution to help keep the cost of borrowing as low as possible. That is not being discussed.”
There has been a bill introduced by 2 U.S. Senators that would ensure fixed interest rates on all new federal student loans to the ten year Treasury rate (1.59% as of June 15th) plus 3.0 percentage points. This bill, The Comprehensive Student Loan Protection Act (S.3266) is based upon a proposal put forth by the New America Foundation’s Federal Education Budget Project. The project director, Jason Delisle, states the Act would cost taxpayers nothing; this statement is based on a 2011 Congressional Budget Office estimate. Most undergraduate students will leave school with less debt than they would have under the extension of the 3.4% rate claims the foundation.