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Panel of Experts

Karl Schellscheidt

SAT Prep Expert

  • BSE, Princeton University '90
  • M.A., Secondary Education Seton Hall University '93
  • J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School '00

Fred Hargadon

Dean of Admission

  • Swarthmore College
    (1964-1969)
  • Stanford University
    (1969-1984)
  • Princeton University
    (1988-2003)

Don Betterton

Financial Aid Expert

  • Director of Financial Aid, Princeton University (1973-2006)
  • Certified College Planner
  • Principal, Betterton College Planning

Seamus Malin

Admission Expert

  • Harvard University
    Dir. of Financial Aid
    (1966-1977)
    Asst. Dean of Admission
    (1977-1987)
    International Office Director
    (1987-2002)

The Valedictorian at Princeton University

The valedictorian at Princeton University almost every year is a student who majored in math, engineering or one of the sciences, not a student who majored in the liberal arts. Why? The answer makes sense if you think about it.

The subject matter of math, engineering and the sciences tends to be more objective, or black and white, than that of the liberal arts. In a math class, for example, every homework, quiz, test and final exam problem will have a single correct answer. All a student needs to do is calculate and record the correct answer (more…)

SAT as Predictor of College Success

Karl Schellscheidt

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comIn a recent article on newsweek.com, Po Bronson argues that the SAT is a valid predictor of college success.

“It turns out that an SAT score is a far better predictor than everyone has said. When properly accounting for the self-selection bias, SAT scores correlate with college GPA around 67%. In the social sciences, that’s considered a great predictor.”

For the full article, which I found very interesting, CLICK HERE.

Tips for Acing CR and Writing

Guest Columnist

college admissions expert advice from eprep.com4 Tips to Ace Your SAT Verbal and Writing

Every kid has nightmares about facing the SAT exams, one of the hurdles to their progress to a good college. Enough cannot be said about the importance of these tests, so it is imperative that preparation is thorough, because only with intensive study and planned strategy can you ace the SATs. Most students find it hard to score high marks on the verbal and writing portions; although mathematics is difficult, it can be aced if you study diligently. With the essay, sentence completion and other parts of the verbal and writing tests, you never know how you’re going to be judged, so the best you can do is prepare as well as you can by:

Starting young: The SATs may come into your life only when you graduate from high school, but that’s no reason to wait till your senior year to prepare for them. In fact, the groundwork for the SATs has to begin when you’re old enough to understand how important these exams are in your life. If you practice improving your vocabulary and reading as a daily habit right from the time you can read, you’re going to have an edge over the competition when you take the SATs.

Reading the right kind of books: It’s not enough that you read; what’s more important is that you read the right kind of books. There are some authors who improve your English and vocabulary and entertain as well, so make sure you include their books as part of your education. While your interest may lie with popular best sellers, you must make an effort to get through and enjoy books that are known to have words that are commonly found in SAT vocabulary questions, like Brian Aldiss, Kim Stanley Robinson, Vladimir Nabokov and K.W. Jeter.

Improving your handwriting: You’re going to have to write the essay using pen and paper, without the help of a word processor. So work on writing a few pages everyday so that your handwriting is neat and presentable even when you’re writing at top speed. You also need to be able to write a complete essay without your fingers cramping or your writing going awry.

Improving your presentation: You need to work on your presentation skills and learn how to use intelligent quotations in your essay, understand how to split it into paragraphs, and most important of all, know how to organize your thoughts and put them down in a cohesive format, one that flows from beginning to end and makes sense.

Remember, acing the SATs is a task that’s all in the mind. If you train yourself to think positively, you’re definitely going to be able to do well.

By-line:

This article is written by Kat Sanders, who regularly blogs on the topic of engineering degree online at her blog The Engineering A Better World Blog. She welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: katsanders25@gmail.com.

SAT and American “Idle”

Catherine

“Turn off the television, read a book, take an online course or pick out a video lecture from the public library. If your children see you learning a little bit every day they will grow to respect their education. That is SAT preparation.”

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comI came across this short article by Robert S. Siegel and thought it was worth posting. I hope you enjoy it too.

ePrep’s Reaction to WSJ Article

Karl Schellscheidt

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comI few people asked me to comment on yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article by J. Hechinger. I will make comments from two different perspectives.

Lawyer Perspective: The lawyer in me enjoyed discussing, with friends and colleagues, the article’s double standards, flawed assertions, inconsistencies, and contradictions. For the calls I received from some old friends, I thank Mr. Hechinger.

Educator Perspective: The teacher in me happens to agree with the article’s thesis wholeheartedly: Many families do spend way too much money on SAT preparation services that simply do not deliver results. This is exactly why I founded ePrep back in 2005. After spending 15 years as a teacher and private tutor, I decided to create a low-cost preparation product that would effectively and efficiently do two things: (1) help students increase their SAT scores and (2) help students prepare for the academic challenges of college and life beyond. I am glad to say that ePrep does both.

Today happens to the be the day that May 2nd SAT scores became available online. By noon, I had already received dozens of emails and phone calls from parents who spent around $200 on ePrep study programs that helped their children increase their overall SAT scores by more than 200 points on average. While “average coaching” may yield only modest results as Mr. Henchinger points out, “eprepping” with an expert certainly bucks the current trend.

Last-Minute Help for the ACT

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep videoIt’s a good idea to do some prep before the ACT, even if it’s last-minute.

At $69, ePrep’s Express ACT course may be just what you need.

Science: For students familiar with the SAT, the ACT’s Science section may come as a big surprise on test day. While the Science section is not terribly difficult, most students mismanage time the first time they try one. (To help with time management, skim the passages (one at a time) and quickly get to the related questions. The questions will only require that you refer back to, and fully understand, specific sections of the text. Thus, reading the entire passage in detail is not the best use of the time allotted.)

Math: The ACT math section is much more straightforward than SAT math. Unlike the SAT, however, the ACT covers more advanced topics like trigonometry. (Practicing before test day is a great way to refresh your memory on concepts you may have forgotten over the years and to learn essential topics that you may not have covered yet in school.)

Reading: The ACT Reading section does not include sentence completion questions like the SAT. The ACT Reading section includes only a series of passages with linked questions. Unlike the SAT passage based questions, however, some ACT questions go beyond reading comprehension. They require the test-taker to make decisions regarding the structure or function of specified portions of the text provided. (It’s a really good idea to expose your mind to these types of questions before test day.)

English: In concept, the ACT English section is much like the SAT Writing section. (Because the format is different, however, it would behoove you to take a practice test before you sit for a real ACT.)

Good luck on Saturday to all taking the ACT!

New Test for 8th Graders

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep videoThe College Board recently announced that, starting next fall, it will be offering a 2-hour standardized assessment test to eighth graders. The test, which has been named ReadiStep, will consist of three multiple-choice sections: one in reading, one in math, and one in writing.

To learn more about ReadiStep, I recommend this nytimes.com article by Sarah Rimer.

PSAT for 8th-Graders?!

Karl Schellscheidt

The College Board recently announced plans to administer a PSAT for eighth-grade students starting in 2010. The test would be administered with the hope of identifying talented students before they begin high school. Some critics say there’s already too much pressure on kids to do well on standardized tests. Read the Los Angeles Times article by Gale Holland and decide for yourself.

Sprint to the Finish!

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comWhether they realize or not, high school seniors are entering one of the most critical phases of the admission process. This is the time of the year when admission officers watch to see what students do when it would seem the spotlight is no longer on them. They want to see how students respond down the “stretch run” of the senior year.

Consider, then, the mile race. It is an apt metaphor for your high school experience. In order to complete the race, you need to make it around the track four times. Winning requires that you endure the grueling pace and still have what it takes to sprint when the race is on the line.

Let’s suppose, then, that your race has gone exceedingly well through the first three laps. You jumped out to an early lead and have maintained a strong pace. With only one lap to go, you are by yourself. You can’t even see the competition! This is a critical stage of the race because you begin to ask yourself, “Do I really need to work that hard in running the last lap? Should I save myself for the next race and spare the inevitable agony that otherwise comes with a sprint to the finish?”

The question you really need to ask yourself, though, is: “What have I won?” The answer is simple. “You haven’t won a thing!” You may have a “feel-good” feeling about where you are in the competition, but the race isn’t over. Moreover, changing your approach with a lap to go could prove costly as other runners are bound to be pushing hard to catch up.

The same is true of your high school experience in which each year is like a lap of the race. Each year was important academically as it prepared you to step up and meet the challenge of the year that followed. In all likelihood, your Junior Year really put you to the test as the work was harder and the expectations were greater. But you made it and that may have been cause for celebration in itself!

Having done well through your Junior Year may have left you feeling good about your prospects of graduating and getting into the colleges of your choice. Nonetheless, you need to ask yourself, “What have I accomplished? How many colleges have accepted me?”

The Senior Year is the all-important “last lap” of your high school experience. If your objective is to not only graduate but to get into colleges that can make choices among hundreds if not thousands of compelling candidates, you need to be attentive to how you are finishing the “race.” Even now, in mid-March of your Senior Year, the outcome of the race has yet to be determined. And, believe it or not, admission officers at selective institutions are waiting and watching to see who among the competitive applicants will sprint–or stumble–when the race is on the line.

So, stay focused academically. Continue to get the most out of your high school experience–even when it would seem that doing nothing is a viable option. In doing so, you give admission officers every reason to be excited about you as you sprint to the finish!

For more advice from Peter Van Buskirk on college planning, visit TheAdmissionGame.com.

The Admission Game

Karl Schellscheidt

college admissions expert advice from eprep.comOn the evening of March 11, 2008, I had the opportunity to attend “The Admission Game” lecture by Peter Van Buskirk in a local high school auditorium. I attended for both professional (ePrep) and personal (I have three children) reasons.

In short, Peter did a great job. He essentially created an interactive environment that allowed all participants to experience the admission process from the college or university’s point of view. The experience was truly enjoyable and eye-opening.

Visit The Admission Game for a list of Peter’s upcoming events. I highly recommend “The Admission Game” program. It is both informative and engaging.

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