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Friday, November 1, 2013

November 1, 2013

MCC Registration Goes On-Line

A special announcement was made last week on this site regarding registration for college credits at Manchester Community College.  Students enrolled in MCC courses at EOSHS must complete the on-line application by January 15 in order to be eligible for these credits.
Students should contact their counselors for more information.

Road Trip Nation Added to Family Connections

The EOS Guidance Department has added a feature to each student's Family Connections page in Naviance that's called "Road Trip Nation" and it may be accessed by clicking on the "Careers" tab and then scrolling to the bottom of the page.  Once there, you'll find several short video clips from leaders of all kinds who share their experiences about how they found success and the "trips" they took to get there.  Students can group videos by interests, themes, leaders and even by play lists. 
Check it out!  

PSAT Score Reports Due for Return in December
 Over 300 students sat for the PSAT on Wednesday, October 16th. This test is a shortened version of the SAT. It does not include the essay required on the SAT. Still, the PSAT can be a relatively accurate predictor of performance on the SAT.

It can also serve as a valuable learning tool in preparation for the SAT. Aside from "experiencing" the test in a formal setting (albeit not the three-plus hour version), test-takers receive a detailed itemized analysis of their test results. The EOS Guidance Department collects the test booklets with student names on them and then mails each student's test booklet home along with the score report. So, students have the opportunity to review each question, observe which ones they answered correctly, and which ones they answered incorrectly. Furthermore, with each question tagged by a specific content area label, students can also identify areas that may need further attention when preparing for the SAT.

If used properly, the score report can be a very valuable learning tool. For those who took the test, they should expect to receive this information by mail in early December.
SAT Scheduled for April 16 Cancelled
EOSHS was one of a handful of high schools in CT that participated in a pilot program offered by The College Board last year.  The offer consisted of administering the SAT on a regular school day.  Administered in October and April, students who sat for the test provided positive feedback on the "experiment". 
The College Board offered one date to EOS this year and the latter opted for the April test date, with the rationale being that the experience would be an appropriate sequel to the PSAT administered on a school day in October.  Unfortunately, The College Board scheduled the test date during the school vacation week, thus negating the option of offering the SAT on a regular school day.  Repeated efforts to request an alternative test date turned out to be unsuccessful
Setting Measurable Goals

OK...we've presented information about Naviance and Student Success Plans (enough already, right?), so let's move to the next step in the sequence of building an electronic portfolio. This next step has ninth-graders identifying measurable goals they'd like to achieve this year that will help make the first year experience a meaningful one for them.  Counselors have been meeting with 9th graders during the past two weeks to help them formulate SMART goals.

This exercise is done in Naviance and students input their information on the Family Connections page. Students are first asked to identify at least three SMART goals they'd like to achieve. More often than not, they respond with goals such as "I want to do better in school" or "I want to get better at _____ (insert sport)", but they're quickly told that the goals have to be defined in measurable terms. So, "I want to do better in school" may really mean "I want to make the honor roll in all four quarters" or "I want to earn at least a B in each course." These are measurable. Students are then asked why the goal(s) is (are) important to them. In other words, what is it that makes the goal meaningful? Finally, they're instructed to list the steps/behaviors they'll need to take/exhibit in order to move towards realization of the goal(s).

This exercise has at least two objectives - to help students target behaviors (process) that will move them towards desirable outcomes (product) and to help them understand how to establish goals in measurable ways. After all, if they're not measurable, then how will you know when you get there?
Federal Law Requires Colleges to Provide Real Cost of Education

A federal law was passed several months ago that requires all college websites to provide an online tool called a net price calculator that is intended to give a more accurate estimate of real costs for students and families. An article appearing in USA Today at the time the law went into effect describes the legislation and its intended effects. What it's not meant to do is provide "sticker shock" but rather a more realistic - albeit, estimated - view of costs for attendance.

A website managed by the federal government that's labeled College Navigator - National Center for Educational Statistics (available in "Helpful Links" below as well) already provides a good deal of this information. Using these tools may reveal that some schools which may appear to be out of reach may, in fact, be affordable if sufficient financial aid (based upon need) is provided. At any rate, the time invested in using these tools may reap the net effect of finding affordable options for higher education.
Financial Aid Workshop for Parents
EOS Lecture Hall
Monday, December 9 @ 6:30 PM
More Information Will Follow in Next Post
Tuition Break 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.
Test Optional

Several colleges and universities - mostly smaller schools - have chosen to become "test-optional" institutions, meaning that students are given the option of submitting their SAT/ACT scores. On the surface, it may appear that these schools are making the claim that other measures are far more important to consider than some standardized test taken on some Saturday morning. In fact, this may be the case since research indicates that students who choose not to submit scores perform just as well in the college classrooms as those students who do submit scores. Of course, there are cynics who believe that there are other strategic reasons for implementing the "test-optional" policy. We'll save that for another time.

Either way, schools that implement this option give students who feel their test scores would diminish their chances for admission the choice to hold back their scores. For those students who wish to have their scores considered, they go ahead and submit them.

To read one take on this, click on Rigors and Rewards for Going Test Optional.
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