SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Mary Ann Barge

Mary Ann holds a BA in Classics and Russian from the University of Notre Dame, and an MA from University College London. She has years of tutoring experience and is also passionate about travel and learning languages.

Recent Posts

Complete List: Which Colleges Require ACT Writing? 100+ Schools

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Jan 11, 2018 12:00:00 PM

ACT General Info, ACT Writing

You’ve just signed up for the ACT. But did you know that there is an optional writing test for the ACT? Do you know if your dream schools require it or recommend it?

Check out our regularly updated list of schools to find out if the Writing ACT is worth your time and money. Then learn how you're going to ace the ACT Writing section.

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Complete List of Extracurricular Activities: 100s of Examples

How do you like to spend your time after school? Did you know that how you choose to spend this time could be one of the most important ways you shape your future?

Extracurricular activities are a critical component of your college application, and you need to impress colleges with your interests. But you might not know what good extracurricular activities look like or what you should be spending your time on.

We've got you covered here in our guide of hundreds of examples of extracurricular activities. Read on to get some inspiration for how to spend your valuable free time during high school!

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The 3 Best Extracurricular Activities for Your College App

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Jan 10, 2018 9:00:00 AM

College Admissions, Extracurriculars

As you know, extracurricular activities are an important part of your college application. The things that you choose to do outside of the classroom help college admission officers understand your personality in a way that your grades and test scores can’t show.

With so many activities to choose from, how do you know which ones are going to make the biggest impact on your application? Do colleges prefer students with traditional activities like sports and student council, or are you better off if you have something unconventional on your activity list?

If you're unsure about how to strategize a list of activities that will make an impact on your application, read on to see the three best extracurricular activities that will really get you noticed.

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How to Write About Extracurriculars on College Applications

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Jan 3, 2018 9:00:00 AM

College Admissions

One of the trickiest parts of the Common App is understanding how to make the most of the extracurricular activity section. You might have a ton of activities - or not very many - and be wondering how you should write about your activities to impress college admissions readers.

If you’ve felt stumped by what you’re supposed to do in this section and how to make the most of your very limited space, read on.

In this guide I will tell you:

  • How many extracurricular activities you should list
  • How to choose which activities to list
  • How to write about your extracurriculars

But before we get into that, you may be wondering...

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No Extracurricular Activities? Here's What You Should Do

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Jan 1, 2018 8:30:00 AM

College Admissions, Extracurriculars

Extracurricular activities are one of the most important parts of your college application. After your test scores and grades, they are the best way for a college to get to know more about you and to understand what kind of student you might be on campus.

But what if you have no extracurricular activities? Is all hope lost?

Read on to find out why things might not be as bad as they seem and what you can do to make up for not having extracurriculars.

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85 Colleges With Full-Ride Scholarships

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Nov 27, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Financial Aid, College Info

You’ve worked hard all throughout high school and are an extracurricular superstar. You’re looking forward to the challenges that college will bring. But are you ready for the challenge of paying for college?

There are a lot of ways students come up with the money to fund their higher educations. Did you know, though, that it can be as easy as getting one award? In this article, we give you a list of 85 colleges that offer at least one full-ride scholarship to cover all of your tuition costs.

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Here's Every College That Offers 100% Financial Aid

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Sep 22, 2017 6:00:00 PM

Financial Aid, College Info

One of the most important questions you will have to ask yourself during your college selection process is whether or not your top choice school is affordable for your family.

Affordability has a huge impact on college decisions. Some students will luck out and be offered a nice scholarship by their school that will make things affordable. Others will win independent scholarships. Usually, though, both of these options for financing your education are based on merit, and there is a lot of competition.

But did you know that some schools are committed to making sure all admitted students can afford to attend, regardless of whether they are scholarship recipients?

Read on to see a list of colleges that meet full need, or provide for 100% of their students’ demonstrated financial need.

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The Complete List of Community Service Scholarships

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Sep 11, 2017 9:00:00 PM

Financial Aid

Did you know that your extracurricular activities can earn you money for college?

In particular, there are a lot of scholarships available to students who have chosen to spend their free time helping out others in their communities through volunteer work.

Read on for the most complete lists of volunteer scholarships available. We'll even divide the scholarships by type so you can tell easily if you qualify.

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ACT English: Word Choice and Diction Errors

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Aug 27, 2017 7:30:00 AM

ACT English

One of the trickier concepts that you will be tested on ACT English is your ability to choose the right word from among many that are not quite right, and to spot when words are being used incorrectly.

Are you confident in your ability to find the differences in a group of similar words? Can you distinguish what’s needed from the context of a question?

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13 Amazing Full-Ride Scholarships You Can Win

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Aug 14, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Financial Aid

The Full-Ride Scholarship: the most mythical of scholarships that all students secretly (or not-so-secretly) dream of. Unfortunately, these scholarships are hard to come by, and they're even more difficult to win.

Though many schools offer full-ride or full-tuition scholarships, there are also a handful of scholarships out there—run by independent organizations and even the government—that you can use at almost any school. Read on to learn about some of the most highly sought-after scholarships in the country.

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39 Top Scholarships for High School Sophomores and Freshmen

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Feb 15, 2017 3:00:00 PM

Financial Aid

It's never too early to start saving up money for your college education. Even if you are only in your first or second year of high school, there are plenty of opportunities to start bringing in money that will pay for your tuition, books, fees, and living expenses a couple of years down the line.

You might be surprised to learn that there are hundreds of scholarships available to underclassmen.

If you're just starting your hunt, use this list of the 39 best scholarships for high school freshmen and sophomores to get started.

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How to Create Successful Community Service Projects

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Dec 11, 2015 6:00:00 PM


Have you considered doing some community service work during high school but can't find anything that fits your interests?

Do you want to have more ownership over what kind of service work you do? If so, then making your own community service project may be the right idea for you.

Read on for a step-by-step guide that will tell you everything you need to know to complete a successful community service project.

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How Many Volunteer Hours Do You Need for College?

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Dec 10, 2015 7:00:00 PM


Community service is one of the most popular extracurricular activities for high school students to do in their free time.

There are hundreds of different ways that high school students can get involved in their communities. There is really something out there for everyone, no matter what your personal interests are!

Admissions officers also love to see community service on college applications. Having community service experience means that you're passionate about making a difference in the world and are ready to take action and be involved.

But how many community service hours for college do you actually need in order to make sure your contribution is “good enough” for admissions officers? Is there a certain number of hours that you need for different schools?

Read on to find out!

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423 Amazing Community Service Ideas

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Dec 3, 2015 5:00:00 PM


Volunteering is a great way to fulfill community service requirements for school, strengthen your resume, and give back to your community.

However, some students have difficulties finding a volunteer opportunity that they are excited about.

Need some inspiration to do good deeds? Read on for a list of over 400 community service ideas for teens.

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How Many Extracurricular Activities Do You Need?

Posted by Mary Ann Barge | Dec 3, 2015 9:00:00 AM

College Admissions, Extracurriculars

You’ve been working hard in high school to get good grades and test scores, but there’s another part of the college application that many students find more confusing: the extracurricular activity section.

How many extracurricular activities do you need for college applications? How many are too many? Will you get rejected from a school if you don’t have the right amount?

Many students who have participated in activities throughout high school are shocked to look at the Common App and realize there are ten spaces to fill out. Does that mean you have to be involved in ten different activities?

In this article I will tell you:

  • The important things colleges need to see in your extracurriculars
  • The ideal amount of extracurricular activities
  • The minimum amount of extracurriculars you can have
  • What to do if you have no extracurriculars
  • What to do if you have too many extracurriculars

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