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(Barrington School Code: 400000)

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What factors should my son or daughter consider when selecting a college?

  • Size (ie. larger than 5,000, smaller than 15,000)
  • Location (ie.northeast, west coast)
  • Campus (urban/rural setting)
  • Intended major/minor
  • Cost (financial aid opportunities)
  • Extracurricular opportunities (intercollegiate athletics vs intramurals)

2. What do admission counselors look at when considering a student's application to their school?
The majority of schools place particular importance on the student's transcript, difficulty of courses taken, and GPA. Other factors include standardized test scores (SAT Reasoning, SAT Subject, ACT), personal essay, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities.

3. Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
Most colleges require up to three letters of recommendation. Two letters should come from classroom teachers and the other from your guidance counselor. Students should choose teachers that will emphasize the strengths and skills they observed in the classroom. Be certain to give teachers at least two weeks notice of application deadlines. Students should provide teachers with a resume, an information sheet with a list of schools and deadlines, teacher evaluation forms, and stamped, addressed envelopes.

4. What is the difference between Early Decision and Early Action?
Early Decision requires an academically qualified student to submit an application to a university by a set date (usually by November 1st or November 15th). By applying Early Decision, the student has made a committment to attend that college if admitted, and to withdraw all other applications upon acceptance. Early Decision is not recommended unless the student is absolutely sure that he/she will attend the university if accepted. Early Action is a non-binding plan that requires an academically qualified student to submit an application by an early deadline so that the student may know at an early date whether he/she has been accepted. A student may apply Early Action to more than one institution, unless the institution's policy is "Early Action-Single Choice".

5. When should my son or daughter take the SAT I (Reasoning Test)? How many times should my son or daughter take them?
The recommended track would be the following:-Students take the PSATs in the Fall of their Sophomore and Junior years-Students take the SAT I (Reasoning Test) in the spring of their Junior year-Students take the SAT I (Reasoning Test) again in the fall or winter of their Senior year.

It is recommended that a student take the SAT I (Reasoning Test) at least twice. Most colleges and universities will look at a candidiate's best Math and Verbal score when reviewing his/her application.

6. What is Score Choice? How does this change the way my son or daughter will report SAT scores (SAT I or SAT II) to individual colleges?
Score Choice is a new score reporting feature established by College Board that will start in March of 2009. Score Choice gives students the option to choose the SAT scores by test date and SAT Subject Test scores by individual test that they want sent to colleges. Score Choice is optional, and if students choose not to use it, all scores will be sent automatically. It should be noted that scores from an entire SAT test will be sent--scores of individual sections from different test dates cannot be selected independently for sending. Just a reminder that SAT scores must be sent directly from College Board to colleges and universities.

7. Who is responsible for reporting my son or daughter's SAT scores to colleges?
Students are now solely responsible for reporting their SAT scores to colleges. Students can select four schools to send scores to for free, but only if they are sent within ten days of taking the test. After that, it will cost $4.50 per school. Please see College Board's website for more details.

8. What are the SAT Subject Tests and when should my son/daughter take them?
The SAT Subject Tests (also known as SAT II) are tests in specific subject areas such as Biology, Chemistry, Spanish, etc... They are one hour tests and three may be taken in one sitting. SAT Subject Tests are required by some colleges in addition to the SAT I (Reasoning Test).

9. What is the difference between the SAT I (Reasoning Test) and the ACT?
The ACT is a more curriculum based five-section exam that includes Math (up to trigonometry), Science, Reading, English, and Writing (optional essay). Students that take the ACTs are not penalized for wrong answers and are encouraged to make an educated guess on each question. The SAT I (Reasoning Test) is a ten-section exam with three Critical Reading sections, three Math sections (up to Algebra II/Geometry), and three Writing sections. There is a penalty for each incorrect answer (1/4 of a point). The BHS Guidance Department recommends that if students do not do well on the SAT I, they should try the ACT.

10. How do I get help in preparing for the SATs?
The student may do one or more of the following:

Workshops and Information

Learn about the college application process at BHS Leadership Workshops:

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College Planning Center of RI

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