The Latest from My Desk! – November 28, 2018

by | Nov 28, 2018 | 0 comments

5 Tips for Making College Applications Easier

For Seniors

You are on the home stretch! Only a few more weeks and your college applications will soon be done. Here are 5 ways you can keep sane during these last few weeks!

  1. Set up Application Plans. Know what is needed to make a complete application at each college you are applying to. Need recommendations? Transcripts? Essays? Make a list to keep track of.
  2. Check Application Deadlines. How many Early Action, Early Decision or Priority applications are you submitting? Don’t forget – you can only apply to one school as an Early Decision applicant.
  3. Organize your calendar. Create a calendar with due dates for applications and other tasks you need to complete for your applications.
  4. Track Progress. Feel a sense of pride and relief as you check off each task, knowing you are one step closer to getting in to college.
  5. Keep in touch with an advisor or teacher. Enlist the help of others. Your school or advisor may have deadlines or processes for you to follow. Check in with them often.

How do you measure your chances for admissions?

For Underclassmen

How competitive for admissions will you be at a given school? This is based on several factors. Some factors are more objectively measurable in the college applications process than others. The easily measured factors include:

  • Your GPA
  • Your tests scores on ACT, SAT, Subject Tests and AP.

Less measurable, but equally important in your college application process are:

  • The quality (rigor) of your course schedule
  • Your resume of activities, work, and other experiences
  • Contributions you made to your community
  • Your love of learning
  • Your life’s experiences

Using Measurable Factors

Check admissions data for each college on your list. Look at the range of SAT or ACT scores, and GPA’s. Your test scores will put you in one of three zones for the college: green, yellow or red.

What puts a school in your GREEN zone?

  • your test scores are in the top 25% of students
  • the college has acceptance rates of 60-100%

What puts a school in your YELLOW zone?

  • your test scores are in the mid 50% range, along with most other students
  • the college has an acceptance rate of 20-60%

What puts a school in your RED zone?

  • your test scores are lower than the average scores at the college
  • the college has a low acceptance rate (typically under 20%)

How many schools should you have in each zone?

  • 1-4 in the GREEN zone. These are your SURE BETS or SAFETY colleges. For schools in this zone you can often expect to receive merit scholarship awards.
  • 2-5 in the YELLOW zone. These are your EXPECTED or TARGET colleges. A majority of your college list should be in this zone. It is your sweet spot for college admissions.
  • 1-3 in the RED zone. These are your REACH colleges. This is where immeasurable factors can be very influential.

When should I take the SAT?

For Underclassmen

When should you take the SAT or the ACT? Identify which statement below applies to you to help determine the best timing for the test.


Personality Test Dates

I am eager!! I want to start early.
SAT- Nov./ ACT- Dec.

Let’s start the new year right!
SAT-Dec/ACT- Feb.

What SAT? I am doing only the ACT
ACT- Feb, April

What ACT? I am doing only the SAT
SAT- March, May, June

Take a test? Last minute is best for me! SAT- May, June, August
ACT-April, June, July

No test for me! I am going test optional

Using the test dates for your personality type, plan your testing schedule for the next year.

Sophomores and Freshmen

You will have the opportunity to take the PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT later (11th grade)- so you will get lots of exposure to taking a standardized test. But, taking the real test is always a benefit! Which of these approaches works for you?

Personality Test Dates

I want to tackle the tests this year.
ACT or SAT in Spring

I want to take both and see which is best for me.
ACT and SAT Fall Junior year

What SAT? I am doing only the ACT.
Fall/Spring of Junior year

What ACT? I am doing only the SAT.
Fall/Spring of Junior year

No test for me! I am going test optional.

Weil College Advising

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