test optional

In this week’s episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, Elizabeth Heaton and her guests debunk myths about attending college in the UK, advise high school seniors and their parents about tuition payment plans, and answer common questions surrounding standardized testing.

College in the UK

Ever think about pursuing your education across the pond? If so, then this first segment is for you. Beth welcomes guest Jenna Hartsell, Education Manager for the British Council, who addresses many of the misconceptions that U.S. families have about studying in the UK. Think only students with top grades can get into UK schools, going to college in the UK is too expensive, you need to know your major up front, or that a UK degree won’t be recognized in the U.S.? Tune into this segment to find out why your first thoughts on these questions may not tell the whole story.

Tuition Payment Plans

Once the May 1st deposit deadline passes, the next hurdle many parents of high school seniors must conquer comes in early August, when most fall semester bills are due. Never fear, for Beth and guest Tara Piantanida-Kelly are here to help! Tara, a former financial aid officer at Menlo College and Rochester Institute of Technology, introduces listeners to college payment plans, a way to break down a big tuition bill into smaller, more manageable, pieces. The major benefit to payment plans: the more you pay out-of-pocket, less you have to borrow and pay interest on. Definitely worth investigating as you create a strategy for paying your child’s college bills.

Office Hours: Standardized Testing Q&A

Switching gears from seniors to juniors, Beth welcomes College Coach expert and former Barnard, Fordham, and Montclair State admissions officer Tova Tolman, to answer questions about standardized tests like the ACT, SAT, and SAT Subject Tests. Beth and Tova tackle the following questions about testing commonly asked this time of year:

  • I haven’t taken any tests yet. Is it too late?
  • I’ve taken the ACT or SAT just once, and I’m happy with my scores. Do I need to take them again?
  • Should I take SAT Subject Tests? If so, which ones? And when?
  • Do I need to complete the optional writing section?
  • I’m only considering testing optional schools; do I still need to take the ACT or SAT?

For answers to these great questions, download the episode!

And carve out some time for tomorrow’s episode, when host Sally Ganga will answer even more of your admissions and finance questions, and will give great last minute advice for seniors on how to make that final college choice. Don’t miss it!


Written by Julia Jones
Julia Jones is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Julia previously worked as a senior admissions officer at Brandeis University and was the director of admissions at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School. Visit our website to learn more about Julia Jones.