SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Rebecca Safier

Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.

Recent Posts

118 Great Questions to Ask on a College Tour

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 11, 2018 5:00:00 PM

College Admissions

Touring your prospective colleges is a great opportunity to learn from the people who study, work, and teach on campus. By keeping your eyes and ears open, you can gain a strong sense of a school and its culture, far beyond the facts and figures on its website.

To make the most of your visits, you should prepare thoughtful questions to ask on a college tour. This guide will provide you with a comprehensive college visit checklist of questions for your tour guide, current students, admissions officers, financial aid officers, and professors. Plus, we’ll offer some advice on what not to ask.

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What Should I Give to a Teacher Writing My Recommendation Letter?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 9, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Letters of Recommendation

A substantial bribe. Just kidding. You should give your teacher recommenders something much more valuable for writing effective letters of recommendation: your input. 

Sharing your ideas will assist your teacher in writing you an insightful and specific letter. This guide will discuss what materials you should produce, and why your "recommender's packet" can go a long way toward making your final letter outstanding. 

To start, let’s review why recommendations are important to your application. If you understand what admissions officers look for, then you can make sure that your materials are useful and relevant. With this in mind, let's consider what purpose rec letters serve in the admission process.  

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Who Should I Ask to Write My College Recommendation Letter?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 8, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Letters of Recommendation

Are you debating who to ask for recommendation letters for college? Letters of rec are a very important part of your application, and strong ones can go a long way toward making you stand out among the competition.

That's why you should choose your recommenders with the same thought and care that you put into your personal essay, SAT or ACT prep, and other parts of your application. Before we dive into the key questions to ask yourself when choosing a recommender, let's review what separates the good letters from the bad ones.

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Important College Application Deadlines You Can't Miss

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 7, 2018 8:30:00 PM

College Admissions

Timing is everything. Nowhere is this saying more true than in the college application process. From taking the SAT to writing your personal essay to submitting your Common App, the process takes months, if not years, to complete.

So when do you need to finish gathering all your application materials and submit them to your colleges? That all depends on your deadlines. This guide will go over the different options for college application deadlines, plus step-by-step instructions on how to keep track of them all.

First off, what are the different options for applying?

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About the PSAT/NMSQT: Expert Guide

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 7, 2018 2:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

If you think the PSAT is just a practice test, then you're missing a key part of the story. The Preliminary SAT / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, more commonly known as the PSAT/NMSQT or just the PSAT, is also essential in the competition for National Merit distinction and scholarships. Plus, it can help you figure out exactly how to study for the SAT.

This guide's dedicated to the PSAT/NMSQT, from its overall structure to how it’s scored to what kind of questions show up in each section. Before putting the test under the microscope, let’s go over the purpose of this test. What is the PSAT NMSQT for, anyway?

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Which Colleges Superscore the SAT?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 5, 2018 7:00:00 PM

SAT Strategies, College Admissions

Your SAT scores are a very important part of your application, especially as the applicant pool gets bigger and more competitive every year. So how can you make sure colleges will consider your very best scores?

This article will discuss the colleges that superscore the SAT. After giving you a list of every college that superscores the SAT, I'll talk about how you can use this information strategically as you prepare to apply to college. To start, let's briefly review what "superscoring" means.

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How to Get a College Application Fee Waiver: 3 Approaches

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 5, 2018 6:00:00 PM

College Admissions

Most college application fees fall in the $40 to $50 range, with some costing as much as $90 (ahem, Stanford). For many students and their families, these fees present a serious obstacle along the already pricey path to college. If application fees are burdensome to you, you may qualify for college application fee waivers!

Just like SAT and ACT fee waivers, these college fee waivers allow you to send off your applications for free. This guide will go over how you can qualify for and use college application fee waivers, step by step.

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For Counselors: How to Write a Strong Recommendation Letter for Your Student

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 5, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

As a counselor, you play a huge role in helping students along the path to college. Throughout their four years, you support them in setting goals and making plans for after high school. When it comes time to apply, you write their letters of recommendation.

Having worked as a college counselor and spent the past year as a grad student intern in a high school counseling department, I saw how much counselors do in the college planning and application process. I also saw the challenges of supporting large caseloads of students and writing hundreds of letters of recommendation, often around the same hectic time. Despite the mad rush, these counselors crafted eloquent letters customized to each and every one of their students.

Based on my observations and my own experience writing letters for my students, I've compiled what I think is the most helpful advice for writing memorable and effective recommendations. I'll go over key content, structure, and style, as well as discuss what not to include in a recommendation letter.

Since it's always good to keep your goals in sight, I'll start by going over the purpose of the counselor letter of recommendation. What are they for, and how do they differ from a teacher recommendation?

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Complete List: Colleges with Rolling Admissions

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 2, 2018 2:30:00 PM

College Admissions

Deadlines are stressful. Why not get rid of them? Some colleges do just that. Rather than having a fixed application deadline, they open up a period of time for you to submit your application.

Rolling admission doesn't mean you won't have any timeline, though. This guide will go over what rolling admission means as you apply to schools, plus a complete list of colleges with rolling admissions.

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4 Amazing Recommendation Letter Samples for Students

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 1, 2018 4:00:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

How important are recommendation letters in a college application? According to William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard, they are "extremely important."

If you're a student, examples of great letters of recommendation can help you understand how to get strong letters yourself from your teachers. If you're a teacher, the examples in this guide will inspire you to support your students strongly as they apply to college. Keep reading for four excellent letters from teachers that will get anyone into college, along with expert analysis on why they're so strong.

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Should I Take the PSAT as a Freshman?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 1, 2018 10:30:00 AM

PSAT Info and Strategies

It's never too early to start planning!

When should you start preparing to apply to college? When you sign up for the SAT? The day you choose your freshman year classes? From the time you learn to read your first picture book?

This might be a matter of debate between you and your parents, but we can all agree that planning starts long before you actually start filling out applications. So to put yourself on the track for college success, should you start freshman year off by taking the PSAT?

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Colleges With Late Application Deadlines: Complete List

Posted by Rebecca Safier | May 31, 2018 8:30:00 AM

College Admissions

If you’re wondering if there are any colleges with late application deadlines, you’re in luck! There are lots of colleges that have a deadline in February or later, and many more that keep rolling admissions open until all their spots have been filled.

The full list of colleges with late application deadlines is below. Before diving into the list, let’s consider an important question first: what exactly is considered a “normal” deadline?

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Early Action Schools: Complete List of EA Colleges

Posted by Rebecca Safier | May 23, 2018 5:00:00 PM

College Admissions, College Info

 

Would you like to know where you'll be going to college as soon as possible? If you apply early action, then you might have your plans all set by winter break of your senior year. That's a big leap forward compared with waiting for regular notifications in March or April!

A large number of schools offer an early action deadline in addition to a regular decision deadline. This guide will go over what you need to know about applying early action and give you a comprehensive list of all schools that offer it. To start, how does early action work?

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The Complete List of SAT Subject Tests

Posted by Rebecca Safier | May 22, 2018 11:00:00 AM

SAT Subject Tests

The SAT Subject Tests are a chance for you to show where you have specialized knowledge. With these tests, you can indicate to colleges which subjects interest you and which you've taken the time to get to know well.

With that being said, how can you decide which SAT Subject Test to take? First, let's take a look at all the SAT Subject Tests from which you can choose.

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How to Write a Strong Recommendation Letter for Your Student's Scholarship

Posted by Rebecca Safier | May 16, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

There are numerous scholarships out there for students entering college, and each has its own special set of guidelines. Letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, and other important people in a student's life can serve as powerful testaments to a student's past and future achievements.

As an English teacher and college counselor, I put a lot of time into crafting personalized letters of recommendation for students applying to scholarships. In this article, I discuss what exactly should go into an effective recommendation letter, along with the importance of tailoring your letter to the scholarship at hand. 

So how exactly should recommenders frame their letters to best help their students win a scholarship? And what purpose do reference letters serve as scholarship committees sift through applications?

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