SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Francesca Fulciniti

Francesca graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and scored in the 99th percentile on the SATs. She's worked with many students on SAT prep and college counseling, and loves helping students capitalize on their strengths.

Recent Posts

20 Top Scholarships for High School Seniors

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Jan 5, 2020 8:00:00 AM

Financial Aid

Aside from grants and loans, private scholarships are some of the best ways to help fund your college education. There are thousands of scholarships out there for high school seniors, all with different eligibility requirements, deadlines, and award amounts, so it's definitely worth your time to do some research.

Senior year is prime crunch time when it comes to your college scholarship search. If you're just starting the search process and need a little help getting off on the right foot, you've come to the right place. I've compiled a list of some of the best college scholarships for high school seniors based on availability and award amounts. These scholarships are generally flexible (so you'll be able to use them at any accredited college you attend), and they also don't have any geographical restrictions (so you're eligible to apply no matter where you live in the US).

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Should You Really Get a Job as a Teen? Why and Why Not?

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Jan 4, 2020 5:00:00 PM

Other High School

Getting your first job is really exciting—you have real-world responsibilities, and real-word money that you earned yourself, probably for the first time. In your teen years especially, the independence that comes with a part-time job is especially appealing. You get out of the house, meet new people, forge professional connections, and make your own savings and spending decisions.

But you probably have a lot of other things on your plate as well: school, extracurricular activities, family, friends, even college applications. How do you know whether getting a job is a good idea? In this post, I'll talk about the things you should consider before submitting those job applications. Hopefully you come away from this post with a better idea of whether getting a job is right for you.

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The 17 Easiest Scholarships to Apply For

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Dec 29, 2019 6:00:00 PM

Financial Aid

Scholarships are awesome resources if you're checking out different ways to pay for college. It's free money after all—what's not to love?

As it turns out, most scholarship programs have application processes that aren't exactly lovable. Students generally have to submit a lot of information about themselves: transcripts, GPAs, test scores, resumes, community service activities, and so on. There might even be a few essays and grade requirements thrown in as well. You don't want to complain—because, again, free money—but these applications sure are tedious when you're working on college apps, high school courses, and financial aid applications all at the same time.

The following easy scholarships have application processes that are a bit more manageable. Some ask you to write short essays, while others don't require any essays at all! The awards might not be as large as some other scholarships out there, but when the application process is so easy, you really don't have much to lose. I'll start off with some words of warning before getting into the good stuff: essay and no-essay scholarships that are so easy to apply for, you might end up applying to all of them!

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How to Win a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Award

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Dec 8, 2019 6:53:00 PM

Financial Aid

If you’re a high school senior of Hispanic or Latinx heritage, you'll definitely want to learn more about the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF). With more than 150 types of scholarships available through this program, there’s a lot to learn—and a lot to win!

When you submit an HSF award scholarship, you’re actually submitting yourself for consideration for many different awards (much like when you submit a FAFSA). I’ll talk about all the details you’ll need to take into consideration before submitting your own application for Hispanic scholarships. Then, we'll take a look at application strategies for current high school seniors.

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The 32 Colleges With the Highest ACT Scores, Ranked

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Dec 8, 2019 4:00:00 PM

College Info

Did you know that the ACT is accepted by all four-year colleges? And that more students now end up taking the ACT than the SAT? With the test growing more popular each year, it's helpful to get a handle on what schools are toughest when it comes to applicants' ACT scores.

For this article, I've compiled a list of colleges with the highest average ACT scores for admitted students. With this data, you can compare your own ACT scores (or goal scores) with those earned by admitted applicants at top colleges.

We'll also talk about what these rankings actually mean: are these schools the best you can attend? Are they the most competitive? What if your ACT scores are below the listed averages?

Read on to find out the answers to these questions (and more)!

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Updated List: Colleges With the Highest SAT Scores

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Dec 1, 2019 11:00:00 AM

College Info

If you've already taken the SAT, you know it will likely be an important component of your college applications. Maybe you've set a goal score for yourself based on the types of colleges you're interested in. Even if you haven't taken the SAT yet or are still considering whether to take it, you probably want to know more about what the most competitive colleges and universities expect when it comes to applicants' standardized test scores.

I've compiled a list of colleges with the highest average SAT scores for admitted students. You'll be able to compare your own SAT scores (or goal scores) with those of top colleges and universities. I'll also talk about what these rankings actually mean so that you can interpret this information effectively. For example, are these schools the best schools you can attend? Are they the most competitive? What do you do if your SAT scores are below the listed averages?

Read on for a list of the top schools ranked by SAT score, and answers to the above questions!

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The 30 Colleges With the Best Financial Aid

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 22, 2019 7:00:00 PM

Financial Aid

College in the US is expensive—too expensive, in fact, for the average student to be able to afford on their own. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 85% of first-year students at four-year colleges were receiving financial aid in 2016-17. Financial aid is good in all its forms, right? If it helps college students afford their educations, what could be the problem?

Unfortunately, not all financial aid is created equal—and not all schools can afford to give out "good" student aid. Here, I'll briefly talk about the types of financial aid available (the "good" kinds and the "bad" kinds) before introducing the colleges with the best financial aid programs in the country.

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How to Apply for Your Perkins Loan

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 22, 2019 2:41:00 PM

Financial Aid

Are you considering applying for federal financial aid? If so, you might have heard of the Perkins loan program. Perkins loans are government-backed, low-interest loans that are meant to help students pay for school. They come with a lot of great perks, including the opportunity for loan cancellation (that's exactly what it sounds like it is⁠—imagine taking out a loan for school and not having to pay it back!).

If you want to get a Perkins loan for yourself, you've come to the right place. Read on for easy-to-follow instructions on exactly how to apply for a federal Perkins loan.

Note: As of 2017, the Perkins loan program is no longer being run. But don't worry⁠—we'll still give you a few options for what you can do for aid instead!

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New SAT Practice Tests: 3 Tips for Finding and Using Them

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 22, 2019 12:00:00 PM

New SAT

In order to study effectively for the SAT, it’s important to use practice tests that test the same strategy and content as the SAT does. With the major SAT overhaul in 2016, this means turning to updated, more recent materials.

Official College Board practice tests are the gold standard when it comes to prep materials. Here, you’ll find free links to all official SAT practice tests, essays, answer keys, and scoring guides, along with tips and strategies for how to use them.

You might notice, though, that there’s a limit to how many free official SAT resources are available. For those who want to prep with other high-quality SAT practice problems and tests, we offer you some useful alternatives to official practice tests.

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The 11 Best Pre-Med Schools to Help You Become a Doctor

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 22, 2019 8:30:00 AM

College Info

Choosing an undergraduate school is the first major step any student will make on the path to becoming a physician. If you're an aspiring pre-med student, you'll want to give yourself the best opportunities and support networks in college and beyond. Applying to (and succeeding in) medical school is a grueling process, so you'll need to be prepared.

Here, I'll talk about what actually makes a school good for pre-meds before getting into the good stuff: the list of best pre-med schools.

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The 27 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in the Country

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 12, 2019 12:00:00 PM

College Info

There are a lot of different ranking systems out there for almost any type of college you can imagine. Even though these rankings purport to use sophisticated algorithms and calculations, all the final lists seem to differ from each other. How should you be able to figure out what the best liberal arts colleges are when there so many different ranking systems out there?

I did the work for you by considering many of the top lists and compiling rankings of liberal arts colleges; in the beginning of this article, I'll lay out how exactly these ranking systems work. If you're looking for a realistic, reliable ranking list for the best liberal arts colleges in the country, then you're in luck.

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Pell Grant Eligibility and Requirements: Do You Qualify?

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 8, 2019 11:13:00 PM

Financial Aid

Pell Grants are awarded by the federal US government to help students pay for college or vocational school. Figuring out whether you're eligible can be confusing, but this post will guide you through all the eligibility requirements you should know about if you want to apply for a federal Pell Grant.

If you need a basic intro to what the Pell Grant is, check out our overview guide.

Students are automatically considered for the Pell Grant when they submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. For 2020, the deadline for submitting a FAFSA (and thus being considered for a Pell Grant) is June 30th. You can learn more about Pell Grant submission here. In this post, we'll cover the following:

  • How to figure out whether you're eligible for federal student aid
  • What the Pell Grant income limits are
  • How to figure out whether you're eligible for the Pell Grant specifically
  • Pell Grant award maximums
  • What you can do to increase your chances of getting the Pell Grant
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ACT Full Fees & Registration: What's the Total Cost of the ACT?

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 1, 2019 12:00:00 PM

ACT Logistics

Just like many parts of the college application process, taking the ACT (and even using your ACT scores) means an assortment of fees. Here, I'll break down every possible ACT registration cost and score fee.

The good news is that a lot of these fees are unnecessary and avoidable. Read to the end for tips and strategies on saving as much as possible on the ACT. 

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Beware of These 16 Worst College Majors

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Aug 28, 2019 9:00:00 AM

College Info

One of the biggest decisions you'll have to make while you're in college (or even before you begin) is what to major in. When you choose a major, you might primarily think about your academic interests or long-term career goals. But perhaps you're concerned about more practical matters, such as employment and earnings opportunities.

If you want to scope out majors that'll make it more difficult for you to be professionally successful in the long run, you've come to the right place. Here, I'll lay out what makes a major "bad" before listing the worst college majors in a variety of categories (including worst-paying majors, majors with the highest unemployment rates, and lowest-value majors). Keep in mind, however, that these can still be great subjects to study.

Already majoring in one of the subjects on this list or planning to in the future? Don't worry—that doesn't mean you're doomed to professional failure. At the end, I'll list tips and strategies for success if you've decided to pursue one of the majors on these lists.

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The 13 Best Fashion Schools in the US

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Aug 26, 2019 10:00:00 PM

College Info

Thinking about entering the fashion industry? You’re in for a fun, challenging career path. If you want to be well-prepared to enter any area of fashion - ether it’s the design side or the business side - an education at a well-reputed school will definitely be helpful.

Before getting into the list of best fashion schools, I’ll talk a bit about why you might want to attend a fashion school and how I compiled these rankings.

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