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Students and parents usually have lots of questions regarding the college application process beginning their sophomore year in high-school. Rest assured our comprehensive advising package answers all your questions and then some. Below is a list of the most common questions and answers.

1. When should I start working with a college adviser?

We recommend identifying and engaging a college adviser
in January of the student's sophomore year. This allows us to identify
the students interests, assess their academic performance and
planning and standardized test preparation, among other
elements of a successful college application process. Just prior
to Junior year is when the College Planning Package begins.
We understand many students and parents are eager to begin
college planning sooner, College Placement Advising offers
hourly planning sessions for Freshmen and Sophomores who
want to get a head start.

2. Why use a private college consultant or independent college adviser?
High school counselors can have 300 to 600 students to
manage, particularly as public schools become over-crowded.
They unfortunately do not get the opportunity to meet with
college representatives, or tour colleges around the state or
country, to keep up on the many new changes in academic
programs and campus life. Many counselors often do not have
the time to develop a personalized best fit college list for you,
review your college application and essays, and assist with
scholarships, financial aid, or extracurricular activity

3. What role does my high school counselor play?
Your high school counselor plays an important role in your
college application process because the counselor will be

writing one of your letters of recommendation for the
Common Application, and possibility other applications
too.  Also, the counselor will be the point person to send
official transcripts and move along your Mid Year Report
(senior fall semester grades). So please make the time to get to
know him or her, even if you are using an independent college

4. What should I be doing over the summer?
You should do something you are interested in learning more
about. Also, a summer program is a great way to fill out your
academic resume, and a good one will give you something very
meaningful to write about in your college essays.  We provide
a comprehensive list of summer programs to give you ideas.

5. Should I be following the UC a-g list?
Yes, whether you plan to apply to University of California
(UC) and California State University schools or not, the UC a-
g list are all the academic classes and requirements that the
UC, Cal State and many other colleges base their admissions
criteria on. Generally, students should just plan to take
English, Math, History, Science with a lab, and a Foreign
Language all four years of high-school.

6. Should I take the SAT or the ACT?
We advise our students to take the PSAT in October of their
sophomore and junior year, then take a full practice ACT
usually offered at your high school in February or March.
Compare the scores on a conversion chart, decide what style of
testing you prefer (ACT or SAT), and enroll in a test prep
course. Depending what math level you are completing will
also guide when you take the SAT or ACT.  Most students

should plan to take the test twice to take advantage of
universities that offer 'superscoring'; of test results - where
they take the highest score of each section regardless of test

7.  When should I be touring colleges?
Anytime is a great time to check out a college campus.  Most
schools offer an online tour if you just want to learn about the
college and minimize travel costs. If the campus is local or you
are in town,  I recommend going to a school sporting event,
have lunch on campus, or sign up for a formal Information
Session and Campus Tour.  Usually these are a 90 minutes
admission presentation followed with a tour led by a current
student. If you are interested in small to mid size colleges it
can be especially helpful in demonstrating interest by meeting
with the admission representative. Once we help your student
identify the best match colleges to apply to, I will also suggest
specific campus visitation programs that will give your student
a "day in the life" experience..

8. How many colleges should I apply to?
This is a common question and while many high-school
counselors throw out a "6 to 10" number, I take a different
approach. By analyzing your student's personality, interests,
academic and social interests, we come up with a list of best-fit
colleges and universities. Depending on the student this can be
8-12 colleges, and we count the UCs and CSUs as one each,
since it is the same application. However there is no magic
number that is right for everyone.
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