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Porter Associates Educational Consultants - Getting Started SSI
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Getting Started

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Helpful Information
and Tips

Helpful Info/Tips






How May I Help You?
  • Choose/ refine your High School Curriculum?
  • Choose colleges that fit you?
  • Plan your college-testing schedule?
  • Plan to make the most of your summers?
  • Choose and define your uniqueness ... activities/ interests/ talents?
  • Put together a resume?
  • Generate ideas for your essays?
  • Refine your essays?
  • Review interviewing?
  • Fill out and edit your applications?
  • Identify your learning style?
  • Provide major or career testing/ advice?
  • Refer you for SAT/ ACT preparation?
  • Refer you for investigation of learning difficulties?
  • Refer you for tutoring?
  • Refer you for financial aid counseling?
  • Refer you for personal counseling?

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Criteria Used by Admission Offices When Selecting Applicants
  • High school/college transcript
  • Curriculum
  • Grade point average
  • Class rank
  • Standardized tests (PLAN, ACT, PSAT, SAT Reasoning & Subject Tests)
  • Psychoeducational evaluations
  • Interviews
  • Recommendations
  • Activities
  • Original diagnosis
  • Accommodations being used
  • Personal statement
  • Motivation
  • Assertiveness
  • Ability to self-advocate
  • Services needed

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College Entrance Exams

We suggest the following college entrance test taking exam timeline:
  • Freshman Year:
    • Take the PSAT (and the PLAN if your school offers this)
  • Sophomore Year:
    • Take the PSAT in the fall
    • Take the PLAN in the fall
    • Take Subject Tests you are prepared for in May / June
  • Junior Year:
    • Take the PSAT in the fall
    • Take the SAT in the spring
    • Take Subject Tests you are prepared for in May / June
    • Take the ACT in the spring
  • Senior Year:
    • Take the SAT in the fall
    • Take the ACT in the fall
    • Re-take Subject Tests if you prepared over the summer in the fall

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Top Ten Ways to "Test Drive" A College
  1. Learn about the college before you visit. Read materials from the college and check out their web site. If you are visiting more than one on a particular day, refresh your memory about that school just before you arrive. Be sure to spend at least one-half day at each college.


  2. Evaluate the environment of the campus. Is the campus too big or too small for you? Do you like the nearby town or do you feel isolated? Consider how you would get around campus (particularly in the rain or snow).


  3. Visit the admissions office and participate in the information session. Ask questions that help you clarify the academic program at the school and the type of student who is most comfortable and successful there. You may choose to have a formal interview with an admissions staff member. Bring a resume of your grades and activities. Dress nicely, but not out of character.


  4. Take the student-led tour of campus. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions about campus life from a peer. Recognize, however, that tour guides are not necessarily typical of all students since they formally represent the school.


  5. Check out the dorms. Find out about the dorm options available, such as all-Freshman or co-ed. Arrange in advance to spend the night in a dorm, if possible. Picture yourself living in a dorm. Are you comfortable with where they are located on campus, such as the proximity to classes or the campus center?


  6. Arrange for campus meetings with department heads in the subjects that interest you, coaches in sports where you excel, and former graduates from your high school. Bring a resume that highlights your experience in your area of expertise. Ask about opportunities based on your skills and interests. Write down the names of any officials you meet with and send personal thank-you notes when you return home.


  7. Sit in on classes and check out the library. How is the rapport between students and faculty in the classroom? Look through the books at the library in your area of interest. Look for quiet places to study.


  8. Look into life beyond academics. Check out the athletic facilities, theater, and student center. Read the notices up in the dorms or on bulletin boards. Can you see yourself joining in?


  9. Have lunch in the student center and watch student interactions. Talk with students all over campus about their impressions of the school. Look at the students themselves. Do you feel comfortable among the students?


  10. After each visit, write down your impressions of that college. After a while, the visions of different schools start to blur if you don't immediately stop to record your thoughts! Keep a list of pros and cons for comparison.
Information provided by IECA: Parents & Students - The Consultant & College Admission
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