Subject Tests are hour-long, content-based tests that allow you to showcase achievement in specific subject areas where you excel. These are the only national admission tests where you choose the tests that best showcase your achievements and interests.SAT Subject Tests allow you to differentiate yourself in the college admission process or send a strong message regarding your readiness to study specific majors or programs in college. In conjunction with your other admission credentials (your high school record, SAT scores, teacher recommendations, etc.), they provide a more complete picture of your academic background and interests.Some colleges also use Subject Tests to place students into the appropriate courses. Based on your performance on the test(s), you could potentially fulfill basic requirements or receive credit for introductory-level courses.There are 20 SAT Subject Tests in five general subject areas: English, history, languages, mathematics and science.
After attending the National College Fair at the Ventura County Fairgrounds on April 24 our Juniors have been continuing to compile their prospective “Colleges I’m Thinking About” lists on Naviance. I’m proud of the ways that each OVS attendee (our Junior class and ambitious Freshmen and Sophomores) made good use of the fair to learn about new colleges and gather information from admission representatives.
As I counsel students in compiling their prospective colleges list I expect to see three types of schools represented:
Reach Schools: “dream” schools that may be a bit out of reach, but worth one’s best effort
Target Schools: schools whose academic profiles match well with your own
Safety Schools: schools where you are very likely to be admitted and may serve as a suitable back up
Research your many college options using some of the sites and references on our College Planning Resources page. Find out about upcoming national college fairs (hosted by an organization called NACAC) here.
As always, come by Room 3 or schedule an appointment for individualized help in researching schools to fit into each of the Reach, Target, and Safety categories.
May 1, the National Reply Date, is the day that most colleges and universities require a commitment from admitted students (unless they have provided an alternate deadline to accept their admission offer). This means that you may have 10 days from now to commit to the school you’ll attend. Don’t miss submitting your Enrollment Deposit to your top school by this date! (Schools have the right to rescind your admission decision if you do not commit by their stated deadline.)
With as few as 10 days until May 1, you should double check that your colleges have all of the Financial Aid documents needed from you. For most students making a final decision on a school includes having definitive information on what it is going to cost each year. If your Financial Aid application materials are incomplete it will delay your receipt of your Fin Aid award. Regardless of when you receive your Fin Aid award- whether it’s March 25or April 28- many colleges will hold you to the May 1 deadline to make a commitment to their school.
For those of you in possession of college acceptances and complete Financial Aid awards, congratulations! Your days of applications and sending documents are (mostly) over. Now you’re in for the hard task of making that final college decision. As words from the wise tell us, before making that big commitment, be sure you’ve read through your admission and Fin Aid offers carefully so you’re confident about what you’re signing up for. Here is some great advice on considering your different Fin Aid awards and the scholarships, grants, and loans they may include.
Lastly, HOORAY!! Remember when you were just starting your college applications? You’ve done a great job and here you are on the other side of that hard work. Well done!
Just as soon as your admission decisions roll in, Financial Aid will quickly become the next most important thing on Seniors’ minds. Generally, Financial Aid awards (also called “packages”) from each school will be provided to you within a few weeks of your admission decision- provided that you’ve filed all required applications and documents (including the FAFSA for domestic students and certifications of financial support for international students).
Now is a crucial time for families to talk together about what finances are available to fund your college education. Since it is highly unlikely that each college will provide enough Financial Aid to cover the entire cost of attendance, it is a good idea to start answering the following questions:
The annual cost of attendance (Tuition + Room & Board + Fees) at Dream College is $_________, our available funds will cover $________ of that each year.
What is the likelihood of our family qualifying for need and/or merit-based aid?
What will the budget to cover these expenses look like by month, semester, and year?
In the case that we don’t get Financial Aid, is a debt of $_________ worth the investment at this college?
Here are a few articles that offer some important information and perspective on the Financial Aid process:
As NCAA March Madness continues, so does March Madness of college admission. No one knows better than our Seniors the range of emotions that this admission decision season brings. I hope that amidst the ups and downs of learning your admission decisions, you are keeping focused on all that you have accomplished during your years in high school and the skills that you will take with you to find success in the years ahead. I am confident that there are a great many colleges where each of you can be successful and happy. Whether you decide to attend your “first choice” school or a school you hadn’t planned on 4 months ago, what’s important is that you focus on the options that you have in starting out your young adult years. There is no doubt that rejection hurts, but there are many, many opportunities for a bright future for you (and all of us) who experience both ups and downs in pursuing your dreams.
Seniors, as you are notified of your admission decisions, I must ask that you keep me informed by updating your Naviance profile. You are not obligated to have your admission decisions announced at our Milk & Crackers meeting, but you are expected to update all of your college admission decisions on Naviance. This is so that we can have accurate records of our college admission and matriculation data. If you’re up for letting me announce your acceptances, great!! I love getting to celebrate you and your accomplishments!
Here are several articles that offer some sound advice on navigating these “challenging, but empowering weeks of decision-making.”
With Winter Break and Spring Break just around the corner, I want to encourage Juniors and Seniors to consider making use of that time away from school to visit colleges. College visits are incredibly important to your candidacy and college selection process.
By visiting a college you are making clear to their admission office that you are seriously interested in their school. Notes on the fact that you visited, what you did on campus, and impressions you made on the people you met in the admission or academic departments will likely be included in your application file.
Your visit often provides you the invaluable opportunity to interact with an admission officer (likely someone who can put in a good word toward your application review). For this reason, you MUST ask if you can have a meeting with your admission counselor, any available admission counselor, an admission intern, a professor, or ANYONE available. Make sure to contact the school 2+ weeks in advance to schedule your admission appointment, tour, and any other available visit opportunities (visit to a class, interview with a professor, etc.).
While visiting a college’s campus you have the opportunity to get a genuine, in-person experience of what the school feels like- What seems to be going on on campus during your visit? Do you see people around? Do they seem happy? Friendly? What kinds of things to you see posted around campus? Do people smile at you? Does this feel like a place you could enjoy being? Your intangible experience of the school is very important information that will help you ultimately decide if you want to go there.
Before Break this month Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors will have met with Ms. Colborn and I to discuss college and course planning. These meetings provide students with an opportunity to review the courses they’ve already taken as a high school student and think ahead to those courses they would like to take in the next academic year.
It’s an important process, picking your courses for next year, that deserves your careful consideration. As a high school student, each day in class you are building an academic record that will be influencial in your transition to college and beyond. We know that colleges will be keenly interested in your performance in courses that have challenged you to be well-prepared as a future college student. Thinking ahead to next year you should choose courses that both demonstrate that you are an ambitious student, taking an increasingly challenging course load from year to year, and are appropriately matched to your abilities- allowing you to show your strengths and perform well.
As you are thinking through which classes you’d like to request for next year, I suggest having a read through two articles that illuminate these points well: