What does the Number 2 pencil mean to you? For most high school students, there’s only one response:
Here’s a simple test. The ACT and SAT are:
a) Necessary rites of passage
b) Efficient systems for assessing student learning
c) Soul-crushing exercises
d) All of the above
Many colleges de-emphasize the ACT and SAT in admissions decisions. Learn which schools are
“test flexible” and “test optional.” Get clear on why that's an important element in their admissions process.
A holistic review of your application includes GPA, transcripts, recommendation letters, activities list
and portfolio, but not test scores. So what's missing? Yep, it's the application essays.
Pay extra attention to essay writing guidelines posted on individual websites. Dig deep for your responses to the supplemental essays. Don’t treat them as an after-thought.
As a pre-writing exercise, talk to a friend about why particular colleges stand out. Talking-it-out helps you access the words and phrases that are natural to you. Jot them down so you can refer to them later on.
Know the mission or overall focus of each college. Do they emphasize innovation and research? Social justice and community service? The essays give you the opportunity to demonstrate why you're a great fit.