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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 1, 2013

Notice to Parents of Ninth-Graders

The EOS Guidance Department is reaching out to make sure that parents are registered on Naviance.  To this end, those parents who have not registered and who have an email address in the school database should have recently received a notification with a temporary password to use.  Contact the Guidance Department if you need more information.

Reminder About Registration for PSAT
Registration for the PSAT began last week and will continue for the next ten days.  The PSAT is a practice SAT that is highly recommended for juniors and for sophomores as well who have already completed Geometry. The reason for the latter is that a portion of the math on the PSAT includes Geometry.

The test date is Wednesday, October 16th, and will be administered between 7:30-10:30 AM. For 11th-graders, there is no cost for the test and there is no need to register. Tenth-graders who wish to take the PSAT will be charged $15 and may do so with cash or a check made out to EOSHS. Registration takes place in the Guidance Office. The window for test registration will remain open until Friday, October 11th. A late fee of $10 will be assessed after that date, provided room remains available for additional test-takers. Juniors are eligible for National Merit Scholarships. Those students who score in the top half of the 99th percentile are typically selected as candidates for these scholarships. Their value has been $2500 and likely will remain so in the next year. Aside from eligibility for these scholarships, the PSAT provides a testing experience that resembles the SAT, and students who complete the PSAT receive in early December a detailed summary of their test performances. This summary may be very useful when preparing for the SAT. 
Below are some brief facts about the PSAT.
What does it measure?
Critical reading, mathematical reasoning, and writing skills that are important for success in college are measured.
Knowledge and skills developed through years of study in a wide range of courses are measured.
The ability to reason with facts and concepts is emphasized rather than the ability to recall them.
What is the content?
There are two 25-minute critical reading sections containing a total of 48 questions, with 13 sentence completions and 35 passage-based reading questions.
There are two 25-minute math sections containing a total of 38 questions, with 28 multiple choice questions and 10 student-produced responses.
There is one 30-minute writing skills section containing 39 questions, with 20 of them about improving sentences, 14 identifying sentence errors, and 5 improving paragraphs. 
How is it scored?
Scores are on a 20- to 80-point scale for critical reading, math, and writing skills.
Each correct answer equals 1 point.
Each omitted question equals no points.
Each wrong answer to multiple-choice questions equals minus (-) 1/4 of a point.
Wrong answers to math student-produced response questions equal no points.
Free Webinar Offer for PSAT Prep
Method Test Prep (see below for more on this program) is offering a series of free webinars designed to help students prepare for the PSAT.  For more information, click on this link.

The College Board Provides School Profile on SAT Scores
The College Board reported the SAT Score Profile for the recently graduated Class of 2013. The scores represent the last administration in which EOS seniors took the SAT. So, in other words, if a student sat for the SAT in May of junior year and again in October of senior year, the latter score is the one used to calculate mean averages. Below you'll see much of the data reported;
  • There were 247 test-takers. The mean averages were 570 in Critical Reading (CR), 569 in Math (M), and 560 in Writing (W).
  • Forty-seven took the SAT in their junior year only while 200 students completed the test in their senior year (some, no doubt, were repeat test-takers). The average scores for those who took the SAT in junior year only were 608 in CR, 592 in M, and 591 in W while the average scores earned in senior year were 560 in CR, 563 in M, and 552 in W.  It is also worth noting that the student participation rate for this group was 80%, a 14% increase over previous years.
  • These scores compare favorably to state and national averages, with those scores reported as 508 (CR), 512 (M) and 512 (W) for CT while national mean scores were 496 in CR, 514 in M and 488 in W.
  • With regard to score distributions, 189 EOS students earned scores higher than 500 in CR, 185 did the same in M, while 170 surpassed the 500 benchmark in W.
  • The ten colleges and universities that received the most SAT Score Reports from EOS students were UConn (140 students), ECSU, (73), CCSU (36), Boston University (25), University of Rhode Island (25), Northeastern (22), University of Vermont (19), SCSU (18),  UMass (17) and Brown (14).. Of the aforementioned ten listed, seven are public institutions.

Free SAT/ACT Prep Program Now Available
The Guidance Department has purchased an on-line SAT/ACT preparation program for all EOS students to use. This program, called Method Test Prep, is available on your Family Connections link in Naviance. Simply go to your Family Connections page and click on the link to the left. You'll be asked to provide an email address that the provider will use to send updates, but it's not necessary for you to provide an email address to access the program. So, you can choose to ignore the request and proceed directly to the program.

Once there, students will find short units to complete as well as full practice test and tutorials. Test data is saved to help students analyze their strengths and weaknesses. With the program being web-based, students may access it anywhere provided they have an Internet connection.

Students should contact their counselors if they have questions about this program.
EDocs Program Allows EOS to Send Transcripts Electronically

The EOS Guidance Department began using a program a few years ago called Naviance eDocs that delivers electronic transcripts and admissions forms to hundreds of colleges, including every Common Application member institution. In all, there are now about 1600 schools throughout the country that use this program, including most all of the popular schools pursued by EOS students.

By using this program, EOS is reducing the use of paper and postage while expediting the delivery of admission materials to their intended destinations. And the program is free. It makes sense - and saves several cents in the process.

A reminder - with most all college applications now submitted online, it's imperative that seniors notify their counselors when submitting their applications electronically. The EOS Guidance Department otherwise has no way of knowing that students have done so.
A Video Tutorial on the Common Application
Several changes have been made to the common application used in the admission s process by several colleges.  A video tutorial has been made to help students link their common applications to their Naviance accounts.  Click here to view the video. 
Financial Aid: How It Works
Several individuals have been inquiring about financial aid and, more specifically, scholarships that are allegedly "out there" like untapped oil reserves. So, this entry will attempt to address the money issue related to the cost of higher education.

Let's start with a brief description of what financial aid looks like. This aid typically is "packaged" in a combination of three sources - grants (free money provided by the schools), loans (money for "rent", usually subsidized by the federal government and with low interest rates), and work-study opportunities (employment on campus). Combined, this "package" is supposed to meet the gap between what a family is expected to pay (called expected family contribution - "EFC") and the sticker price for attendance at a particular school. So, for instance, if school X costs $50,000 and your EFC is $25,000, then the financial aid package should amount to somewhere in the vicinity of the difference ($25,000). On the other hand, if School Y costs $25,000 (usually a public institution), then there may be no financial aid package provided - unless merit money is offered. Not all schools offer full coverage of the difference. In this case, families may tap into home equity or other sources (including personal bank loans) to close the gap. Grants, by the way, come in two forms - money based upon demonstrated need and money that is merit-based (earned by virtue of a student's academic achievement and/or SAT scores that meet established criteria set by the schools).

How is the EFC determined? Well, most every school requires families to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application is submitted to the government, not before January 1 of the year one's child is expected to enter college, and the information is based upon the previous year's tax records. Some schools also require families to submit the CCS Profile available at The College Board web site (http://www.collegeboard.com/). Either or both form(s) are then sent to the schools to which one's child has applied and the Financial Aid Office at each school then calculates a financial aid package. It's not a precise science and, thus, aid packages may differ by school. It's not unusual for these aid packages to differ according to the degree to which each school would like the student to matriculate.

Local scholarships are available and these are generally announced sometime between March and June. The Guidance Department lists scholarship opportunities on the Naviance site. This may be accessed in the "Parent" portion of the EOS web site. As for those other scholarships "out there", FastWeb (www.fastweb.com) is one web site that is reputable. There are several scams that fool too many people looking for "free" money. One such site is http://www.fafsa.com/. DON'T USE IT. THE SITE YOU SHOULD USE IS http://www.fafsa.gov/. For more links, see below at the bottom of this page.

There may be "oil" to discover, but you may also need to do lots of drilling down into the data mine to unearth it.
Tuition Discounts for Connecticut Residents
Looking for a discount on college tuition? Well, the New England Board of Higher Education may have a program for you. Called the Regional Student Program (RSP) Tuition Break, this program is a partnership comprised of the public colleges and universities in New England that offers more than 700 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and provides a significant discount on regular out-of-state tuition rates to eligible students.

Here's how it works - residents of one New England state are eligible when they attend certain public colleges in the other five New England states and pursue majors not offered by public colleges in their home state. This means that a CT resident may enroll in an out-of-state public school in New England and pay what amounts to almost in-state tuition provided that the major pursued at the college is not one offered by any of the public colleges and universities in CT.

If interested (and why wouldn't you be?), you can find more information about the program as well as majors available elsewhere at Regional Student Program Tuition Break.

Information Sessions

Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Rice, and the University of Chicago are collaborating on an information session about the selective admissions process, scholarships and financial aid, academic programs, and campus life.  This session is scheduled for Wednesday, October 2 in Providence.  for more information, go to www.exploringeducationalexcellence.org.

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) has announced its 2013 Performing & Visual Arts College Fair season.  for more information go to www.nacacnet.org/pva.

Scheduled College Visits
Below you will find the schedule for college visits to EOS for the next two weeks (also listed in Naviance).  Reminders about visits are sent to your Naviance Family Page.  Admissions representatives from these schools will visit at the scheduled dates and times to meet with counselors and interested students.  The latter should seek permission to miss class if the visit conflicts with one's class schedule.


 Hofstra University       11 AM    Wednesday, 10/2                                                     
  UConn      10:30 AM     Friday, 10/4                                                             
  Emmanuel      8AM                                                             Monday, 10/7                      
  College of St. Rose      10 AM     Monday, 10/7                                                        
 UMaine-Farmington 11:30 AM    Monday, 10/7                                                                   
 National Guard Recruiter 8 AM    Tuesday, 10/8                                                                   
 Bates College 12 noon    Tuesday, 10/8                                                                 
  UMass-Amherst 11:15 AM     Wed, 10/9                                                                 
  Yale 1 PM      Wed, 10/9                                                
  Sacred Heart 12:30 PM                               Thurs, 10/10                                            
  UVermont       1 PM       Friday, 10/11                                                            
 Alfred University      8:30 AM       Wed., 10/16                                          
  Emerson       12:30 PM       Wed., 10/16                                                               
 Holy Cross        10 AM       Thurs, 10/17                                                            
  Elms College       8:30 AM        Friday, 10/18                                                             
 Springfield       10 AM                                                              Friday, 10/18                                 
 Wheaton        12:30 PM        Friday, 10/18                                                             
 East Carolina        8:30 AM        Monday, 10/21                                                              
  SCSU       11 AM                                                             Monday, 10/21                                                                       
  US Marine Corps      10:30 AM                                                            Tuesday, 10/22                                                               
  Hampshire College       1 PM       Wed., 10/23                                                                
  NYU       1:15 PM         Friday, 10/25                                                              

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