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Sally E.'s Resources

Blogs

MAJOR SAT news (for younger students)

The College Board has revealed the nature of long-suspected changes to the SAT.  Please note that this new-format test will NOT be given until 2016.  So if you're on here right now looking for SAT prep, you're probably still taking the old test.  Students who are currently freshmen will be taking the new test for the first time in their junior year, assuming normal patterns of... read more

Blogs

Out-of-state public colleges

One topic on college choice that hasn't been discussed on this blog is out-of-state public colleges.  This can be tricky territory.   On the one hand, there are a small number of extraordinary public colleges at which you can get a top-tier education.  Some of the University of California campuses (especially Berkeley and UCLA), the University of Michigan, or some colleges... read more

Blogs

SAT II as an alternative Latin capstone

One thing for students and parents to think about, when planning how much foreign language to include on a high school transcript, is that the AP test in Latin is not the only possible standardized test which can be a capstone experience and show linguistic achievement to colleges in a commonly-agreed-upon way.  I would advise students to also strongly consider taking the SAT II in Latin,... read more

Answers

what sat score is adequate if going to apply to Harvard? (answer)

Unless you have some serious mitigating circumstance (economic or family), then if you aren't at least in the upper end of the 600's then Harvard probably isn't a realistic choice.  700's are really preferable for schools that selective.  That said, holistic schools like Harvard will...

Blogs

Another reason to care about the SAT

Yes, test stress is definitely an issue, and I don't want to be accused of adding to it.  However, in the spirit of cold, hard reality, this article from the Wall Street Journal on use of SAT scores by employers deserves some attention.  Whether you agree with this or not (and the HR department at Google has clearly decided to disagree, for example), there are still many big corporate... read more

Blogs

The complicated word of not-need-blind admissions

This is an awkward place in the financial aid process.  As I've mentioned before, for a student capable of attending a top-tier private institution with a huge financial aid budget, this is often the best option financially, even beating state systems in many cases when the cost of room and board is considered.  However, for students in the high-middle and middle, the private v. public... read more

Blogs

Why a top university is your best bet, financially

I've said this before on this blog, but it's useful to see it reflected in a purely financial source such as The Motley Fool.  If you have the ability to get in, an elite university is probably the most cost-effective college choice you can make.  It usually outranks state universities in actual out-of-pocket costs, except for children of affluent parents.  So if you are a... read more

Blogs

Smart financial aid strategies

Though admissions filing season for 4-year colleges is over for the coming school year, it's tax time, and so for parents of juniors, that means that it's the ideal time to start thinking about financial aid down the road.  To be blunt, you want to look as poor as is legally possible at FAFSA time.  It's a lot like tax time.  However, there are legal strategies for keeping assets... read more

Blogs

FAFSA time

For all students applying to college, even though your regular applications are likely done at this point for traditional four-year institutions, there's still one critical piece that may not be: the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).  You can complete it online at https://fafsa.ed.gov.   The FAFSA is relatively easy, and, to be blunt, in most cases your... read more

Blogs

Need-Aware Admissions

Please consider following this link to learn about the growing trend in "need-aware" rather than "need-blind" admissions.  This may be a factor for you or your child if you are applying to a private school that is not hugely wealthy, particularly if it is a stretch school rather than a place where your child is probably a top applicant.   For truly exceptional... read more

Blogs

Common Application software issues

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/education/online-application-woes-make-students-anxious-and-put-colleges-behind-schedule.html?src=rechp&_r=0   If the problems with Common App software are affecting you or your child, perhaps the easiest way to do an end run around it is. . .don't use Common App.  Elite colleges all have their own application forms as well, and with more... read more

Answers

what's the difference between a gerund and a participle? (answer)

I don't know your age, but if you continue to be interested in issues such as this, consider taking some Latin (in college, possibly?)  Since Latin does not replicate English's maddening habit of using the same forms for gerund and participle, this all starts to make more sense through the...

Answers

Is it wrong to write in passive voice? (answer)

In addition, one useful thing to know is that this is cultural.  Specifically American formal English avoids the passive voice in most circumstances.  British formal English still uses it frequently, and Canadian usage can be in the middle.  I saw an excellent blog article on this...

Blogs

English grammar

One topic which can be transformational for students preparing for standardized testing, especially logical-mathematical students who are underperforming on the writing SAT, is formally learning English grammar.  A large proportion of writing MC questions in particular focus on the sequence of tenses, and tense sequence errors or unintentional tense shifts can greatly harm submitted writing... read more

Blogs

The importance of looking outside your college comfort zone

While this article takes in many issues relevant to high school education and the college process, the point made about halfway down by Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby is hugely important.  An expensive college degree AT A GREAT COLLEGE will pay off; an expensive degree at a middling or substandard school may not.  Especially here in Florida where most students are physically isolated... read more

Blogs

Common Core and likely standardized testing changes

Very interesting article for parents of younger students about likely changes to the SAT in line with Common Core curriculum alterations.  Please note that all of this is INFORMED SPECULATION at this stage, not an absolute plan, so if you are a junior/senior or the parent of one, prepare for the SAT as expected.  However, parents of younger students seeking enrichment should take... read more

Blogs

Good article on the importance of rigorous Latin--don't be put off by the Britishisms

This is EXTREMELY out of fashion, but from experience the author is absolutely right.  I've come to conclude that if students never write in Latin, then a lot of the claims about Latin's value get lost.  What the author calls "busking" (that literally means singing music on the street or in the Tube, for non-Brits) I call the "magnetic poetry approach" to Latin;... read more

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