test optional

On this week’s episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, guest host Ian Fisher talks all things summer. From test prep for rising seniors to self-reflection exercises for future ninth graders, he’s got you covered for ways to keep students occupied during the off-season. He also delves into the world of loan forbearance with a guest college finance educator.

First up, Ian is joined by Dr. Megan Stubbendeck, Senior Director of Instruction at ArborBridge, College Coach’s test preparation partner, to discuss the pros and cons of summer SAT and ACT prep. They also tackle other common test-related questions: When is it too early for prep? When is the ideal time to take the official SAT or ACT? What’s the deal with the new summer test dates (and why did some states get left out)?

After this week’s School Spotlight on central New York’s Hamilton College, Ian hears from Abigail Anderson, a former admission officer at Reed College and the Emma Willard School. Abigail has great advice for younger students on how to use the summer to best prepare for next year; the off-season provides the perfect opportunity for rising freshmen to plan ahead to ensure the smoothest transition possible to high school. Abigail provides tips on how to spend July and August reflecting on past successes—and less stellar moments—in order to hit the ground running in ninth grade. Meanwhile, rising sophomores can use their newfound free time to brainstorm new ways to build their involvement and deepen their commitment to extracurricular activities.

Next up, Ian is joined by Beth Feinberg Keenan, former financial aid officer at Northeastern University, who educates us on the topic of loan forbearance. This option may be under consideration by graduates who are facing hardship, unemployment, or a return to education but, as Beth explains, it’s more of a temporary fix than a miracle worker. Tune in to learn the ins and outs of this lesser known alternative to loan deferment.

Tune in next week when guest host Sally Ganga and her guests will talk about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) programs in universities, beginning your post-secondary education at a two-year institution, and how to teach your soon-to-be-college-student how to set a budget.


Written by Emily Toffelmire
Emily Toffelmire is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Prior to joining College Coach, Emily worked as an admissions officer at University of Southern California as well as a college counselor at high schools in the US and Thailand. Visit our website to learn more about Emily Toffelmire.