10 Parallels Between Harry Potter Stories and the SAT College Entrance Exam

1. The Ordinary Wizarding Level exam (O.W.L) and Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests (N.E.W.T.s) require the use of a wand. The SAT requires the use of a #2 pencil and allows the use of approved calculators.

2. At Hogwarts the Sorting Hat separates students into Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. Colleges use entrance exam scores to sort students for admission offers and scholarships.

3. Putting an enchanted egg underwater helps Harry meet the challenges of the Triwizard Tournament. Taking an SAT prep class can help you maximize your entrance exam score.

4. Harry and other Hogwarts students can take O.W.L. exams in up to twelve areas: charms, transfiguration, herbology, defense against the dark arts, study of ancient runes, divination, potions, care of magical creatures, arithmancy, astronomy, history of magic, and muggle studies. The college entrance exam covers critical reading, math and writing. Twenty different subject tests are also available.

5. Fred and George Weasley often complete each other’s sentences. On the Critical Reading section of the SAT you have to complete sentences.

6. Hermione’s extra studying often helps her gain points for Gryffindore. A free SAT prep course can help you gain points on your college entrance exam.

7. A game of Quidditch ends when the seeker catches the golden snitch. A test session ends when you run out of time.

8. O.W.L. exams have a score range of T (troll) to O (outstanding). SAT exams have a score range of 200 to 800 for each segment, giving a total score range of 600-2400.

9. Harry tricks Lucius Malfoy into giving Dobby a sock, freeing the house elf from servitude. The college entrance exam has no tricks, but a good score help you get into a good college, which can free you from years of low-paying jobs.

10. Harry faced the Avada Kedavra killing curse and survived; you can face the college entrance exam and survive, especially if you prepare by studying and/or taking a free SAT prep course.

How to Get a Killer Letter of Recommendation

Getting a killer letter of recommendation can be a valuable addition to your college or grad school applications. While you cannot dictate exactly what will go into your letter of recommendation, there are many ways to ensure that you will get the best letter of recommendation possible.

Selecting the right person to write a letter of recommendation is an important decision that deserves some thought. Try to select people that have been important to you during your education. People who know you well will have more to say than a teacher or professor who knew you only through one class. Select your guidance counselor only if you had a close relationship during your high school years. A teacher who was a mentor throughout high school or a professor who served as your adviser throughout college will be in a good position to write a good letter of recommendation.

In addition to choosing someone who knows you well, you may consider subject areas. For example, if you are applying to medical school, your undergraduate biology professor would be a better choice than your French professor. For undergraduate applications, most students will want to consider variety. Choose teachers who know you in different contexts and will be able to speak to your different skills and strengths. You want your letters of recommendations to make a cohesive picture of you as a student and as an individual.

It is always a good idea to give the people you select plenty of time to write the letter of recommendation. Make time to go see them in person to ask if they would be willing to write the letter in the first place. Discussing it in person will give you a chance to let them know more about your goals and why it would mean a lot to you to receive their letter of recommendation. Planning ahead will ensure that they have time to write the letter you deserve. Follow up with a reminder visit, phone call, or email if you or your guidance counselor have not received the letter within a week or two of the deadline.

Finally, don’t be shy about telling the person writing your letter of recommendation more about what you want to convey in your application. You can frame this more as a discussion about your future goals, but it is also a way to help them know how to best frame your letter. Your teachers and professors want to write the best letter possible, so giving them more information is always appreciated. You can also let them know that they can always ask if they have questions as they write your letter. Let them know that you appreciate their work and be sure to thank them and keep them updated on your application process. These are often the people who you want to remain engaged in your education and to keep as mentors in the future.

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Senior Year Planning for High School Students

Planning for the senior year of high school can be both an exciting and stressful time for many students. It is a time when balance is critical and students are working to maintain their current academics with SAT tutoring and solidifying plans for the years after graduation. By sitting down and planning out the senior year, students can ensure that they successfully maneuver this critical year.

Preparing college applications is a priority for most students and taking the SAT should be at the top of their to-do list. Students will want to begin SAT test prep early so that they will be well prepared for test day. Taking an SAT course or finding a program that offers SAT tutoring are both great option for students looking for ways to prepare for the test. SAT test prep involves studying the content of the SAT, becoming familiar with the format of the test, and taking practice tests. A good SAT course will be reflected through a student’s confidence and preparedness on test day.

It is important for students to plan ahead when it comes to choosing classes for senior year. They should not only look at their high school’s requirements, but at the course requirements for their top college choices. Many have preferences regarding the number of years in high school that students should have taken each of the major subjects. Colleges may also have requirements about foreign language and offer students a chance to place into a higher level or test out of a requirement if they have completed additional years of language in high school. Choosing to take advanced placement (AP) classes can make for a tougher academic year, but can also help students to test out of required courses during their first year of college.

Keeping up with extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, and volunteer work, can be tough during senior year, but can also help students to shine on college applications. Students may also be working to maintain a part-time job. Staying organized is not only the key to a successful senior year, but can help students to hone the organizational skills that will benefit them during college.

Students will need to work hard senior year to stay in control of their academic schedules and maintain a good GPA and SAT prep schedule. These will be important factors in their college application process. With a solid schedule, it will be possible to make time for college campus visits, extracurricular activities, and everything else that students will want to fit into their senior year.

Considerations When Applying to Your College Safety Schools

A safety school is a college where, due to your grades and test scores, you are almost certain to be accepted. For most students, it is best to incorporate a safety school into their list of colleges during the application process. A safety school can help ease anxiety about the college application process during a time when maintaining grades and completing SAT test prep are still top priorities. While many students apply to a safety school only to have a back-up option if other schools don’t offer acceptance, there are still important things to consider before selecting your safety schools.

Choose Schools That You Like
No one should apply to a college that they wouldn’t want to attend. Make your safety schools worth your time and effort by choosing schools that have something that appeals to you. Just because a school is sure to offer you acceptance, doesn’t mean its program is any worse than a school where admission is more difficult. Choose one with a good program in your tentative major or one with a lot of good extracurricular options. Plan campus visits to your safety schools and take time to learn about them. Also consider where the school is located and be sure it is a place you can actually see yourself living during college. Choosing a safety school where you can picture yourself learning and growing for four years will make it feel like less of a safety school and more of a real option.

Do Your Best Work
While it’s tempting to put more effort into applications for your top choice schools, it’s worth your time to do your best on every application that you submit. In addition to preparing your applications and writing good essays, it is critical to maintain your high school grades and make time for SAT test preparation. A good SAT test prep program will prepare you for the SAT and give you the confidence to do well. If you have a busy senior year schedule, consider online SAT test prep as a good option for SAT test preparation. It will often allow you more control over the schedule and online SAT test prep programs can prepare you just as well as a formal class.

Consider Financial Aid
Before applying to your colleges, consider what would happen if you were offered an exceptional financial aid offer to one of your safety schools. Would it be worth attending your second choice college if they were offering a full scholarship? This answer will be different for everyone and will depend on many factors. The subject of financial aid is an important thing to consider and a good conversation to have with a parent or guardian before you are faced with making a decision under a deadline.

SAT vs. ACT: which should I take?

The SAT and ACT are both tests taken by students in the United States preparing for college. Generally, more students on East Coast and West Coast of the United States take the SAT and more students in the Midwest and mountain states opt for the ACT. While historically the SAT has been seen as the standard test for college entry, the ACT is now recognized by all four-year colleges in the US. The majority of colleges and universities will accept either test, but students with specific colleges in mind may want to consult that college’s admissions office when deciding which test to take.

While the two tests differ somewhat in format and material, each is designed to gauge students’ skills and knowledge. Being well informed about the tests will help students to decide which test to take before they begin their SAT Preparation or ACT Preparation plan.

Subject Areas

The ACT is based more on curriculum that students have learned in school whereas the SAT is designed more to test critical thinking and reasoning skills. The ACT is a multiple choice test that covers English, mathematics, reading, and science. The ACT Writing Test is an optional section in which test takers must plan and write a short essay. The SAT begins with a required essay section. It is then made up of writing, critical reading, and math sections. While the SAT has multiple choice sections, some of the math questions will require test takers to produce answers on their own.

Logistics

The ACT is administered on six national testing dates in the United States. Students may take the test up to twelve times total and only once on each testing date. The SAT is offered seven times each year in the US. Students may take the SAT as many times as they wish, but all scores will be visible to colleges. Not including instructions and breaks, the ACT takes two hours and 55 minutes and the SAT takes three hours and 45 minutes.

Scoring

ACT scores are determined by adding up the correct answers in each section. Scores for each section range from 1-36 and the results are averaged to produce a final score. Incorrect answers do not count against the final score. On the SAT, however, incorrect multiple choice answers receive a small penalty. Each correct answer receives one point and each incorrect answer deducts one-fourth of a point. Scores for each section are on a scale of 200-800. A perfect score on the SAT is 2400 points and a perfect score on the ACT is 36.

Preparation

ACT Preparation and SAT Preparation are critical to success on both tests. Taking the predictive tests, the PSAT and PLAN, can help students prepare for the actual test’s format. Preparation courses and practice tests are the best way of determining trouble areas and helping students enter the test prepared and confident.


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