preparing for the SAT

On the latest episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, guest host Sally Ganga covers a range of topics that will appeal to high school students and parents at different stages of the college search. She begins with a discussion about exactly when to prepare for and take standardized testing and the what, when, where, and why of college supplemental essays. She wraps up the show with a continuation of last week’s conversation about how financial aid awards differ among colleges, this time focusing on merit aid policies and practices.

When to Take Standardized Tests

Wondering when your student should prepare for and take the SAT and/or the ACT? You will not want to miss this segment!  Sally’s guest, Megan Stubbendeck, Senior Director of Instruction at ArborBridge, breaks it down for you in four simple stages, including the opening statement: “It is a job for 11th graders!” Megan and Sally dig in to how often students should take the tests, how and when they can prepare, and the few exceptions to the normal testing timeline.

Supplemental Essays

Sally’s next guest, College Coach educator Lauren Randle, provides an overview of the importance of supplemental essays, which are required by some colleges in addition to the main Common Application or Coalition Application essay. Sally and Lauren cover where and when to find a college’s supplemental essay prompt(s), how to build them into your fall writing schedule, and why colleges require them.  Even though not all colleges require these “extra” assignments, for the ones that do, it is a crucial opportunity for you to broaden your application and demonstrate your fit and interest in a particular college.  Tune in for more!

Why Merit Scholarships Differ

Finally, in the last segment, Sally and yours truly explore the intricacies of merit aid and why different colleges offer different amounts (or none at all). We dig into what determines whether a college will offer merit aid, how they decide how much to offer, and how you can research ahead of time to maximize your chances of receiving substantial scholarships. If money matters to you and your family, this (and last week’s segment on need-based financial aid) will provide some important insights into why colleges do what they do and how you can improve your chances of paying less for college.

Tune in for the next episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation when guest host Ian Fisher will chat with a rising sophomore at Lehigh University to hear some reflections on her college search and admission process.  He will also invite two of his College Coach colleagues to share their expertise about how to decide if Early Decision is right for you and how to decipher the details of a college bill.

Getting-In-CTA

Written by Kathy Ruby
Kathy Ruby is a member of College Coach’s team of college finance experts. Before joining College Coach, Kathy was as a Senior Financial Aid Officer at St. Olaf College and Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.