5 Questions to Ask Before You Apply

You’ve hit submit. Now you anxiously await the decision. When will it come? How is your application and accompanying documents scrutinized by the college? The answers to these questions can vary greatly by college. To understand how you are viewed and when you’ll know the decision, ask these key questions of each college to which you apply. 1. How will GPA be considered (and what’s on your transcript)? Some high schools show weighted GPA, others unweighted and some both. Ask your high school what will appear on the official transcript to the college. Ideally they are giving you a copy of your transcript … Continue reading

ACT Changes for Fall 2015 – Here We Go Again

While the SAT is undergoing a major overhaul to premiere in March of 2016 (watch our video explaining the redesigned SAT/PSAT), the ACT is announcing a few, albeit rather small comparatively speaking, changes as well. Some of these changes were seen in the last school year, but the most major change, to the writing test, debuts in September. LEAP has invested a great deal of time and research on SAT and ACT changes and our test prep program started in 1999 is at the ready for the newest versions of the tests! Reading The test remains 40 questions in 35 … Continue reading

Application Advice from a West Point Cadet

Former LEAP test prep student and high school valedictorian, Taylor England, is our guest blogger on her journey to get an appointment to West Point. The best advice I can give about getting into a service academy is to start early and continually seek opportunities to build relationships. As soon as you become interested in a military academy the first step is to reach out to the local representative from the school (each district has one for each service academy). This representative will be the key that unlocks many doors in your future. The earlier you do this, the better the … Continue reading

4 Reasons to Write a Student Resume

A student resume is essentially the brag sheet for colleges you court. Most students keep an ongoing list in their head of what they’ve done and what they’ve won. However, there are real benefits to formalizing that internal list into a document before college applications are tackled. Don’t Miss Your Accomplishments If you wait until sitting at the computer completing applications, you may just forget something you’ve done. Formalizing the resume early, revisiting it, and sharing with parents will make sure nothing is forgotten. It also helps you think through the importance of what you’ve done and what pursuits best … Continue reading

Common App Essay Prompts 2015-16 Cycle

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don’t feel obligated to do so. New in the 2015-16 … Continue reading

7 Tips if You are Thinking Naval Academy

Drews Mitchell, LEAP Counselor, had the privilege of attending the Center of Influence Conference at the US Naval Academy. You can focus your search with his tips. The United States Naval Academy has a reputation of excellence that is truly well deserved.  My experiences at the Centers of Influence Conference solidified my positive opinions of the institution, but also enlightened me to a few “hidden gems” that may not be available through a study of their website.  These are seven of the items that stood out in learning about the admissions process at the USNA: Complete the process!  There were … Continue reading

PLAN B: Dealing with College Rejection

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. ACCEPTANCE. The cycle of mourning may be new to teens who’ve likely not experienced much disappointment in life, but those whose Plan A for college is thwarted by rejection from their first choice college will need to embark on the cycle and move through it quickly. With many decisions already in hand and the rest coming by April 1st, it doesn’t leave much time before May 1st deposits are due. Once you’ve reached the acceptance stage, you need to dig deep to come up with PLAN B. Denial – Not Possible All over college discussion boards, … Continue reading

10 Common FAFSA Errors

It’s FAFSA season for seniors!  Guest blogger Todd Kelly of Cumulus College Planning and College Quest Alliance has timely advice to avoid common mistakes. January is the month that millions of families disclose their financial data to the Department of Education through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Specifically, more than 20 million FASFA applications are submitted each year.  Anywhere from 70—90% are submitted with errors.   An error filled FASFA will likely reduce the amount of aid you might receive.  The FAFSA has been called “the gateway to financial aid”.  With the ever increasing costs associated with college, it is … Continue reading

7 Life Events Dramatically Impacting Your College Costs

Cumulus College Planning focuses on lowering the out-of-pocket cost of college while taking their clients down the academic path LEAP provides for families’ college bound journey.  Many families fail to realize strategically planning now can save thousands on the cost of college instead of waiting on the colleges to tell you the cost in the spring of the senior year. Also surprising is the way in which life events impact the news the financial aid office will deliver. Guest LEAP Blogger, Andy Hickman (Ahickman@cumulusCWA.com) of Cumulus College Planning 1)      Divorce/Separation/Remarriage: Division or addition of assets and income, multiple houses or … Continue reading

5 Tips to Follow Before You Hit “Submit”

After 20-plus years of working with college-bound high school students, it’s not the flawless applications that standout; instead, it’s the scatterbrained mistakes that students didn’t realize they were making until after pressing “submit.” To ensure that your application won’t become another what-to-avoid story, follow these tips learned from others’ mistakes. 1. Beat deadlines. Make a spreadsheet of all deadlines. Don’t plan to meet your application deadlines, but prepare to submit it early. Give yourself a comfort zone in case something happens to slow you down. Not all pieces of the application puzzle are under your control, so allow for even … Continue reading

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