Monthly Archives: October 2015

University of Oregon Fall 2014 Campus Visit

Lillis_Complex_(University_of_Oregon)The stand-out features I observed on the tour were the facilities; academic and athletic. There was a mix of old, traditional buildings (some as old as late 19th century), and new, state of the art facilities.  For example, the campus houses 1926-built “Mac Court” (McArthur Court), which was the 2nd oldest sports arena in use until it was replaced in 2011 by the Mathew Knight Arena; an energy efficient and environmentally friendly arena featuring a number of interactive artworks and tributes. Also, Deady Hall (built in 1876) still houses physics, zoology and math classrooms and labs, next door to the Lillis Business Complex (2003), home to the Lundquist College of Business and the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center (one of the first to offer an MBA in sports business). There were a number of other start-of-the-art buildings pointed out on the tour; such as the Lorry Lokey Laboratories building built 19 feet underground in bedrock , designed for nanoscience research; and the new Integrative Science Building and Center for Student Athletes. Continue reading


Tips for Taking your Optimal Test

AwarenessAwareness of the material: Knowing the material to be covered on the test, and taking practice tests are a must. It is important to have practiced under testing conditions (timed, in a classroom setting) so that you learn the pace in which you should complete each section and so that your body and your brain have a chance to practice being in that (stressful) situation.

Awareness of Directions: Understanding the test’s directions prior to your test date, overall and for each section, will save you time and stress on test day. Prior to taking the test, read the practice test instructions carefully, so you are familiar with them. You don’t need to spend time reading these during testing time if you already understand them. Know how you are Continue reading

Colleges Will Lose Access to Students’ College Lists

By Kristen Miller, 8/27/15

The Department of Education announced on August 13th, 2015 that the 2016-2017 FAFSA will no longer share a student’s list of colleges to all of the schools on the student’s FAFSA form. When students and their parents fill out the FAFSA, they can list up to ten colleges they wish to receive their financial information. Prior to this change, all schools listed on a student’s FAFSA could see the order a student listed the schools. Studies have shown, and most colleges believe, that students list the colleges in order of preference; and some colleges have used this information to determine admission and scholarship decisions.

There has been a lot of attention and complaints lately on this strategic enrollment practice. The National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) was one of the outspoken groups. NACAC’s members of high school and independent counselors were upset with member colleges not abiding by the Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP) which prohibits colleges from requiring or asking “candidates or the secondary schools to indicate the order of the candidates’ college or university preferences.” Additionally, federal law prohibits the use of FAFSA information for anything other than awarding financial aid. Continue reading

Evergreen State College: Fiske Guide vs. Campus Visit

Evergreen State College, Olympia, WashingtonIMG_5260

Ever since reading about The Evergreen State College in the Fiske Guide to Colleges, I’ve been intrigued and wanted to visit. I just came back from a 6-college tour in Seattle and Western Washington, and Evergreen was my first stop.

The Fiske guide did a good job of explaining how different Evergreen’s academic programs are (through Academic Pathways vs. Majors), how students aren’t graded but given a Narrative Evaluation, and describing the alternative vibe of the student body. A quote in the Fiske Guide states, “At first glance, Evergreen’s wide-open curriculum looks like Easy Street”. There are no required courses and much fewer graded exams. “Instead of signing up for unrelated courses to fulfill distribution requirements, students enroll in a coordinated “program”, often team-taught by multiple professors.” For example, if you are interested in Mathematics, there are 8 mathematics programs to choose from, such as mathematical systems, computer science, natural science, or statistical mechanics. Continue reading


By Kristen Miller

Most high school juniors are aware of the new SAT test coming on board in March of 2016, and their option to study and take the old SAT (through January 2016), the new SAT, or the ACT. But students should not forget about the SAT’s little brother, the new PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) being debuted this October (offered 10/14 and 10/28).

For nearly a century, the SAT has been used in combination with factors such as high school GPA to determine student readiness for and to predict student success in postsecondary education. Recent SAT results have shown a troubling trend in students’ readiness for and likelihood for success in college. Notably, 57 percent of SAT takers in the 2013 cohort lacked the academic skills to succeed in college-entry, credit-bearing courses without remediation in at least one subject.This, along with an increase in student’s choosing the ACT test over the SAT, prompted the redesign of both the SAT and PSAT.

It might seem easy to dismiss the value of the PSAT, since college admission offices do not use the scores to assess applications, but the PSAT is important and students should not go into the test cold. Here’s why: Continue reading