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College Application & Admissions FAQ

Quick tips for campus visits, letters of recommendation, standardized tests, and early admission.


March 05, 2009

College Application & Admissions FAQ
  • What is a good way to prepare for the SAT?
    The best way to prepare for the SAT is by taking the PSAT, the Preliminary SAT. These are offered twice a year, and are usually taken in the 10th or 11th grade – no later than fall of the 11th grade. (On a side note, if you take the PSAT, you might start to receive college brochures in the mail. This is because the College Board, the organization that sponsors the SAT, sells its mailing lists to colleges and universities.)The PSAT will give you the best idea of what the SAT is like, so this will not only prepare you mentally, but it will also give you an idea of the types of questions and the layout of the three-hour exam.You can also visit for more questions that you can answer online.Since there is no real “study” method to the SATs, the key is to practice, practice, practice. So get your hands on old tests and answer SAT questions online. Just make sure to go in there with a good night of sleep under your belt, some fuel in your system (eat breakfast!), and a positive attitude.
  • Is there a benefit to early admission?
    Applying to your top choice as an “Early Decision” (ED) application can be to your advantage, if a significant percentage of early applicants are accepted as opposed to regular admission applicants (it can range from 25% to 45% of early applicants). This is an important question to ask an admissions representative from your top choice school.Not only can early decision admission increase your chances of being accepted to a first-choice school, but you also get an admission decision earlier (by December). But hold it right there – there are also drawbacks. Applying early means a tighter application deadline and as a result, more pressure. As well, you can only apply to one college early, and if you get accepted to that school, you have to withdraw your applications to all other “regular” admission schools.Early admission can be advantageous if you are certain about the college you want to attend (as your first choice – there is no turning back if you go the ED route), and if you want to find out your status early so that you can plan your other college applications accordingly.Make sure to inquire about the proportion of students that are accepted as early applicants, and what their profile is like in terms of SAT score and GPA, to ensure that the odds are in your favour.
  • When do applicants find out their status?
    College applicants should receive their acceptance or rejection letters by March or (usually) April of senior year. Early decision responses arrive in December and January of senior year.

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Article courtesy of Campus Compare. © 2009

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