Remind me what superpowers you have again... (Photo Credit: karla_k via Flickr)
Looking for an extra elective? Try one of the fifteen strangest college courses in America. We like "The Science of Superheroes" a lot! OnlineColleges.net
Essex Univerity study suggests that popular kids do better as adults than unpopular kids. Sorry, chess club kids. Parent Dish
Worried about the April crush of college admissions? Here are a few ways to try to ease the burden. Washington Post
Harvard is now offering courses on comic books. Soon, everyone will know The Watchmen. The Harvard Crimson
Middlebury College hopes to be completely carbon neutral by 2016. NECN.com
Steve Martin offers to foot the bill for a production of one of his plays that was banned from a high school campus for content. Entertainment Weekly
Manchester High School warns parents that their dead daughter can't go to prom due to her poor attendance. Fox News
Care about something enough...and put it on YouTube, and even high school students can get a meeting with with President. MSNBC
A student/parent essay points out that the economy is affecting not only financial aid at colleges, but also the very programs they offer. Wall Street Journal
The University of Missouri apparently has nothing better to do than sue a South Dakota school for copying a tiger logo. KansasCity.com
Cuts at Oregon schools result in free and reduced lunch programs being completely eliminated. RegisterGuard.com
Ten things to do when you get all your acceptance letters. Fox Business
At Omniac Education, we pride ourselves on helping students "learn to fish." That means that we are much more interested in teaching kids skills that help them learn on their own than in telling them the answers to questions on their homework. In addition, it also means that we hold students accountable for their work and effort, emphasizing to them that they decide between and A and a F every time they work on any academic project.
Yet, parents still totally have a key role to play in the process. While we want students to take the lead on raising their grades, parents are an incredibly vital part of the overall success or failure of the student. We simply cannot succeed without their help!
With that in mind, here are a few tips for parents who are eager to get involved and make a difference for their children:
5. Ask Your Tutor Questions
Tutors may have specific advice that pertains to your student, but are not comfortable shoving more information at you. Some kids need more attention than others, or struggle with different parts of the school process and usually your tutor will be able to isolate their specific issues. Direct attention to these areas a child is struggling can be more beneficial than glossing over all aspects. Give your tutor a chance to point those out to you.
4. Communicate With Your Child's Teacher
If a teacher knows the parents are putting in effort, they are quicker to tell you progress is being made. If you let the teacher know you are working with them to help your student, they tend to ease up a bit and provide extra opportunities that otherwise might not have been made available. ALWAYS be positive. Your dialogue should always be about solving a problem. “What can I do at home to help my son?” is so much nicer to hear than “Why is my student failing your class?”.
3. Enforce Homework Time.
If a student can’t manage their grades, they lose the right to manage their time. Pick a two hour time slot and expect your student to work without distractions the entire time. Put the dog outside, turn the TV off, and get them out of the computer room. If their homework is done, they can read a newspaper or magazine. When their grades come back up, don’t quit! Reading comprehension applies to every subject and is something every student can always improve on. Ask your tutor for additional materials if you feel like you don't have enough!
2. Check Your Child's Homework
You might think that you don’t know the math, so you can’t check the homework. In reality, parents can do a lot just by looking over the work. Students consistently hand in low quality work that can be spotted from a mile away. Is anything blank? Have the student read the section with this problem and then rewrite the example that is similar, or all of them if they use the phrase “I don’t get it”. Watch how fast blank papers turn into actual effort! Just knowing that you are going to look at it means that your student will work harder on it.
1. Set high standards.
Ask your student what score they are trying to get on their next test. They will probably tell you “a B would be nice”. WRONG! If you know before you take the test that you are only going to get a ‘B’ then you knew ahead of time that you needed to study more, but chose not to. There is only one correct answer: “100%, plus the bonus if there is one.” Just saying this out loud is a huge push in the right direction and can help students set goals that will challenge their current abilities.
A huge thanks to our Academic Tutoring Director, Michael Fitch, for helping to write this blog post. Thanks, Mike!
Got any tips we missed? Put 'em in our comments...
It's easy to underestimate how complex the University of California admissions process can be for students. While the UC system has a reputation for excellence even among the best public colleges, it's shocking to look over the actual requirements that students must meet to apply. Many parents and students I work with assume that the UC application is much like the application to Arizona State or University of New Mexico and are shocked to find out how detailed their child's submission needs to be to even be considered!"UC was the only public education system in the country that made students take two SAT subject tests. The result: 22,000 high school graduates in California were disqualified in 2007 from applying to the university who otherwise would have been eligible." - SFGate.com
This last month, however, the UC Board of Regents took a massive step toward simplifying their application process by eliminating the requirement that students take the SAT Subject Exams. According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
The change in UC admissions policy will be effective for the graduating class of 2012, but already speaks volumes about the role that testing is going to play in the UC system far beyond the next few years.
First and foremost, it's clear that the UC's interest in testing has declined dramatically. While rumors swirled that the changes to the SAT made in 2005 were largely the result of the University of California's influence and sway, it appears that the Board of Regents has focused their attention on GPA and college prep courses rather than expanded testing requirements. If they've already forced the SAT to redesign the test to suit their needs, they don't seem to think more forced dealings with College Board were a worthwhile use of their time when it came to the Subject Tests.
Secondly, it's widely believed that the Subject Tests are actually better indicators of college success than the original ACT or SAT themselves. The fact that the UC system opted to drop these test doesn't bode well for the future of the ACT and SAT. I wouldn't be surprised to see the primary tests continue to decrease in importance over the next few years. The dropping of the Subject Tests means that the UC system might even go test-optional at some point!
All in all, I think it's a massive victory for proponents of a smart, balanced application process. Some observers like Thomas D. Elias are even arguing that the changes reflect "an affirmation of higher standards combined with greater opportunity for students who have dealt with hardships and received poor counseling in high school."
It's hard to see anything but good in that!
Got something to say about the SAT Subject Tests? Miss them already? Let us know in the comments!
Investigative Journalist finds that at some schools almost 50% of graduates aren't ready for college. - MSNBC.com
The differences between Early Action and Early Decision matter a lot. Make sure and learn them! - MercuryNews.com
The debate over "high stakes" testing takes shape in Massachussetes, where the opponents of the MCAS test claim that the test encourages dropouts. - Project Dropout
Should High School start at 11am? Psychology Today
When it comes to college, you don't have to let a rejection letter be the end of the road. - U.S. News
It's that time of year. Spring Break is just around the corner and your parents are pushing you to start putting together the list of schools that you want to visit and/or apply to in the fall.
With over 4,000 two and four year institutions in the United States, this is no small task! It's likely that any attempt you've made to get your list together has left you frustrated, confused, and no closer to your list of schools than when you started.
Want to make some progress? Here's a few quick tips:1) Get 15-20 schools when you start...
There's no need to be picky at the beginning of the college process. You don't have to know where you want to apply when you first start looking. Spend your time selecting 15-20 schools that you think might fit and then do some research on those schools to get an idea of what you want. Visit! Go to their website! Read about them in college guide books like Fiske's Guide to the Colleges
, Princeton Review's 368 Best Schools
, or College Board's Guide to the College 2009.
2)...finish with 6-8 schools at the end.
While you want to have a broad perspective when you begin applying, you need to wrap things up by the fall and get focused. My previous blog article, "Stop Applying to Schools You Hate
," sums up the general breakdown. In short, one or two Safety Schools, two to three Target Schools, and one or two Reach Schools. Applying to too many schools just spreads your attention too thinly!3) Promise to love every school to which you apply
Many students spend most of their time looking for their dream school. That's fine, but you shouldn't ignore the research you should do on your safety schools. In fact, you may need to put in extra time to find a safety school you really love. Too many students decide to apply to schools they hate because they treat their safe options as "schools of last resort." 4) Throw out the lists of best ranked schools. They don't help.
Stop obsessing over the list US News or USA Today puts out. Yes, there's some value to the list as a whole, but it doesn't tell you much about the school that you, the student, actually want to go to. I strongly recommend "Rugg's Guide to the Colleges" for anyone who wants to know about good programs at US Schools. It's much more reliable and even-handed than a list of 100 schools.5) Location, Location, Location
Please don't forget that whatever school you attend is located in a physical place. If you love Harvard, but hate Boston, it's going to be difficult for you to be happy at that particular school. Think carefully about the parts of the country you would be happy living in and focus on those areas. Unless you are interested in living in the Arctic
, there are almost always schools near the places you love most!
Got tips we missed? Give us your hints in the comments!
Over the past few months, Omniac has been proud to help the Carnival of College Admissions by supplying blog posts and even hosting! We love how awesome all the links are that Mark Montgomery collects!
This week the 13th edition of the Carnival was released and we were once again proud to be a part of it. Here are a few highlights:
- The current recession has made many students re-think their college
choices and even transfer to a more affordable school. Student blogger,
Ally Demos from myusearch.com, presents a video blog about how the
economic crunch is affecting college students. Elizabeth Kudner
presents College Students Feel the Economic Crunch posted at myUsearch blog.
- Sarah Scrafford presents 100 Awesome Open Courses and Lectures for Digital Artists posted at Online Universities.com
- Eric Perron, the host of our last edition of the Carnival of College
Admission, likes to talk back to the television. He offers his
critique of a recent program on college admission, aptly titled Come On “CBS Early Show”, This Is The Best Advice You Have To Pay For College? posted on his blog, Dream Strategy.
Go check the whole thing out! It's definitely worth it!
"Should I put my shirt back on to graduate?" - (Photo Credit: d_vmh via Flickr)
A BYU student is denied graduation because of 'beefcake calendar.' Seriously. Because of the calendar. - Houston Chronicle
The new stimulus package will double the college tax credit, saving families with college kids thousands of dollars a year. - Dayton Business Journal
Graffiti is a very big problem on most college campuses, with many students...and now deans, defacing public buildings and signs. - Associated Press
Sixty-One High School teams built and competed with robots to honor Apollo 11 moon landing. It's exactly as cool as it sounds. - Kansas City Star
Connecticut high schooler punished for insulting school admin...from her home computer! - JonathanTurley.com
Whether it's college or kindergarten, the only thing worse than hearing, "We don't want you," is, "We don't want your child." Here are some thoughts to help parents with college rejection. - New York Times Magazine
Harvard's Dean of Admissions answers 5 questions that will tell you everything you want to know about Harvard admissions. - Boston.com
In the interest of saving both money and trees, one Missouri university is offering digital textbooks. - Walletpop.com
Kentucky lawmakers are working to give freedom of the press to high school newspapers, despite the 1988 Supreme Court ruling that took that right away. - Kentucky.com
Better late than never! Wake Forest receives admissions time capsule from the 1980s! - DigTriad.com
Think admissions are a tough time? Imagine running for public office after high school. - MSNBC.com
Simmons College has a new "Goose Prevention" policy. A dog! - Freep.com
As you may recall, College Board announced over the summer that they would allow students to pick which SAT scores would be sent to colleges instead of forcing students to send a cumulative record their scores. I pointed out at the time that this policy change was a pretty cynical move on College Board's part, since they killed a program in 2002 that did the exact same thing because it "hurt more students than it helped."
At the start of 2009, several colleges weighed in on the issue as well, choosing to either accept or reject the College Board's plan. Some influential schools like Harvard accepted the new reporting standards, but others chose to reject it and have demanded that students send all of their scores. Stanford was especially public and vocal about rebuffing the Score Choice program. The Stanford Director of Admissions, Shawn Abbott noted: "We want to discourage students from taking the SAT more than once or
twice, and believe that programs like Score Choice encourage applicants
with resources to take the SAT excessively to improve their scores. [...] I wouldn’t agree with the notion that Score Choice relieves pressure or
stress,” he said. “I would argue instead that such programs only
encourage students to take more tests to improve their scores at all
costs." - The Stanford Daily
To some degree, this development totally caught me by surprise.
The SAT Score Choice program is supposed to let students choose the score they want to send to the schools. If the program isn't universal, then they aren't really choosing anything! Instead, some schools are promising to ignore the scores they would probably chose to ignore anyway.
Look at Harvard's statement concerning Score Choice:"Students applying to Harvard are free to use the College Board's new
Score Choice option and/or a similar option already offered by ACT.
Score Choice rests on the same principle that has supported our
admissions process for decades — that applicants should be free to
present their own best case. We have always counted an applicant's
highest test scores and have allowed students to decide whether they
wanted to send all their test scores." - Harvard's Website
In short, they are accepting Score Choice because they already counted your highest scores and ONLY your highest scores. Stanford is rejecting Score Choice for the same reason that Harvard is accepting it. They already counted ALL your scores and want to continue counting all your scores.
How should you respond to all this? Take the ACT.
The ACT allows you to send your single highest score to any school in the country. It's a significantly shorter test than the SAT, clocking in at nearly an hour less with the optional essay. Students enjoy that the ACT is direct and to the point, lacking many of the "tricky" question types that make College Board and the SAT famous. And more importantly than anything else, the makers of the ACT aren't involved in the backroom shenanigans that surround all of this Score Choice nonsense.
So unless you fall into the small category of students who naturally test better on the SAT, now is the best time to avoid College Board (and the SAT) altogether.
Still planning on taking the SAT? Tell us why in the comments...