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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

10.01.15


LAST DAY TO SELECT ECE COURSES IN THE UCONN ECE DATABASE IS WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30.
CONTACT YOUR COUNSELOR IF YOU NEED MORE INFORMATION

A final announcement from the UConn Early College Experience (ECE) Office is below.

This is a final reminder that all students must enroll in their UConn ECE courses by this Wednesday, September 30, 2015.
 
To assist students, parents and schools, we are extending our business hours to 7:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m. until the deadline. If you have students needing help with either NetID activation or enrolling in their courses, please have them call our registration helpline at (855)382-8323 by Wednesday.
 
Students that successfully applied to the program by the September 15th deadline, but have not yet enrolled in their courses will receive a final reminder notice via e-mail this afternoon.


Reminder About Registration for PSAT

Registration for the PSAT began last week and will continue until Friday, October 9.  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 new PSAT includes Geometry and even some Trigonometry.

The test date is Wednesday, October 14th, and will be administered between 7:30-11:00 AM. The cost for the test is $15 and students may pay 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 9th. 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 new PSAT provides a testing experience that resembles the new 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 new SAT.  

Below are some brief facts about the new PSAT.

What does it measure?

Evidence-based reading and writing, reading, writing and language, and math.
Knowledge and skills developed through years of study in a wide range of courses are measured.
Continued emphasis upon reasoning along with a clearer focus on the knowledge, skills, and comprehension required for college and career success.
Greater emphasis on the meaning of words in extended contexts and how word choice influences meaning, tone, and impact.

What is the content?

Reading passages of various lengths that cover history/social studies as well as science, and students will be asked to analyze these passages .  
Multiple choice questions will focus upon command of evidence (how well students can translate and cite specific lines that support their interpretations), relevant words in context (how well students can select the best definition for how a word is used in a passage), expression of ideas (how well students can revise language in order to make more logical and cohesive arguments), and standard English conventions (assesses how well a student can conform to the basic rules of  English structure, punctuation, and usage.


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.
There is no penalty for wrong answers (new this year).


Note that the new PSAT will be comprised of two sections.  These sections are Evidenced-Based Reading & Writing and Math.  Each section on the PSAT will have a score range of 160-760, and the total for both sections will equal 320-1520.  More information about scoring will appear here when the score reports become available in early December.


Federal Government Launching College Scorecard


The federal government is making another attempt to help students and their parents make informed decisions when choosing among college choices.  Access to this new site is available here and to the left of this page under "Helpful Links".  

Although there are many critics of this new site, information is available that you may find helpful.  One note - the data collected is from students who applied to colleges and filed for financial aid using the FAFSA form.  This means that student information on those who did not seek aid through FAFSA is excluded. 


Redesigned SAT


More information about the NEW SAT will appear in future posts here.  For now, click here and you'll be brought to a link that outlines the changes that will appear on the NEW SAT when it is introduced in March 2016.

Current 11th graders are strongly encouraged to take the CURRENT SAT before the NEW SAT comes out in March.  Colleges will continue to accept SAT scores earned prior to the NEW SAT rollout.  In this way, students may also take the NEW SAT and compare scores, submitting the set of scores that is more favorable.  This option (using the current SAT scores) will not be available to younger students.  In other words, students in the Class of 2017 will be the last to have the option of using scores earned on the current SAT.

College Visits


Wednesday, September 30 @ 1:00 pm - University of New Haven

Thursday, October 1 @ 9:30 am - Keene State College

Thursday, October 1 @ 12 noon - Springfield College

Friday, October 2 @ 8 am - University of Maine-Orono

Friday, October 2 @ 10 am - Manhattan College

Monday, October 5 @ 10 am - Saint Anselm College

Wednesday, October 7 @ 1:15 pm - University of Rhode Island

Thursday, October 8 @ 11:15 am - University of Massachusetts

Friday, October 9 @ 9:30 am - University of Connecticut

Friday, October 9 @ 10:45 am - University of Vermont

Wednesday, October 14 @ 7:30 am - Wheaton College (MA)

Wednesday, October 14 @ 1:00 pm - Yale University

Thursday, October 15 @ 8 am - Bryant University

Thursday, October 15 @ 1:00 pm - College of the Holy Cross


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 - although this is about to change as the federal government is planning to make it easier for students (and their parents) to apply for financial aid by streamlining the process and moving up the date for application. Some schools also require families to submit the CCS Profile available at The College Board web site (click here). 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 and/or the degree to which a school meets demonstrated need.

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  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, look to the left of this page under Financial Aid.

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 statesand 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.

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