Tips & Advice
What is the difference between the ACT and the SAT?
Both tests are very similar and test on nearly identical subjects. The major differences between the ACT and the SAT are that the ACT includes a science test section and the SAT has a math section that you cannot use a calculator on. Both tests are timed, but the SAT test gives you more time per question. There are key math components that are different. For example, the ACT has a greater focus on geometry then the SAT. The SAT factors in math more, so if that is not your strong suit, consider the ACT. The last key difference is the optional essay section. On the SAT you will read and analyze a passage, and dissect the author’s position using evidence and logical reasoning. You do not give opinions. On the ACT essay you will read and analyze the passage’s issue and provide not only different perspectives on the issue, but a personal opinion as well. Outside of the method of scoring, those are the major differences between the two tests.
What is a good ACT score?
The American College Testing (ACT) scores are the average of the test takers sectional scores in math, science, English, and reading: 36 is the highest possible score, and one is the lowest. The average ACT score is 20.8, which puts you in the top 50 percentile, so 21 and above puts you in the upper echelon. Getting 24 is a strong score, puts you in the top 25 percent and gives you more colleges to choose from. Anything above 24 is a very strong test score. Once you get more than 24 you are in the top 20% and from there your chances are outstanding. Obviously each institution has there own standards, but generally speaking, higher scores are a good way to push your application to the top of the stack, in what can be a very competitive environment.
What is a good SAT score?
The best score you can get in your SAT’s (Standard Aptitude Test) is a 1600, so if you can reach that, you’re probably a lock for any school in the country. The average score on the SATs is between 1000 and 1100, so a score in that area puts you in the “50th percentile,” which is the minimum you should be shooting for. Getting 1200 to 1300 is going to separate you from the pack, and above 1300 puts you in the upper echelon. Since this is literally a competition, you cannot aim for average if you want to maximize your chances (and options). If you do grade out near the average, don’t freak out, you will still qualify for plenty of schools, and scores are just area a school looks at for admission.
What is a good GPA for getting into college?
Your GPA will have a major impact on the school you get in to. For the most competitive colleges you are probably going to need a 3.5 – 4.0 GPA, which is the highest and means an “A” average. The minimum most schools will take is a 2.5, which is a C-plus average. Online schools and for-profit institutions might have lesser standards, but those are going to be the minimum and maximum ranges for admission into most schools. If you have a 4.0, you will likely have your pick of colleges. The minimum you should be aiming for is probably a 3.0. Remember, college admissions are competitive, the higher your GPA, the higher up the ladder you are from the competition. GPA is only one of the factors for college. High SATs or ACTs, the other major factor in the admission process, and can potentially offset a lower GPA. However, each school sets its own admission standards.
What to expect from college?
The truth is that college is going to be what you make it. There are so many schools and so many choices that the college experience of the past is not going to be the same for everyone. With the emergence of commuter and online schools, you don’t even have to go to a campus anymore to get a degree. Yay, right? Not necessarily. While that convenience is a fantastic option for many people, particularly adults who may have day jobs, there is nothing quite like being a full-time student on a campus and taking advantage of the entire experience like dorms, Greek houses, student body events and activities, and game day if you go to a school with major sports programs. Your situation will dictate your experience. If you’re lucky, you get to go to a school of your choice and live the college life. If that is not an option for you, you can still get a quality education without that experience.
What does it mean for a university to be accredited?
Being accredited is a process by which most institutions of higher education are validated. Standards for curriculum, etc., are set by peer review boards, which are made up of members of other various accredited colleges and universities. The board sets the standards, and learning institutions that meet those standards sare deemed accredited. The upside is a quality education. The downside is it sets a minimum standard that not everyone can meet. Accreditation can be national or regional. Not every employer or other school (if you are planning to apply for another degree) recognizes degrees or credits from non-accredited schools.
What is an Ivy League university?
An Ivy League school is one of the eight members of the Ivy League, which is an athletic conference on the East Coast. Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton, Colgate, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania (Penn), Dartmouth, and Cornell make up the Ivy League. These schools are recognized for being among the most elite academic institutions in the country, not athletic excellence. Actually, their athletic departments rarely compete for titles in the major sports (football, baseball and basketball), but are quite competitive in event like lacrosse and rowing.
What is a tier-one university?
Tier-one universities are the elite major private research institutions in the country. Tie- one schools are known for world-class research, innovation and creativity, along with academic and student body excellence. On average, tier-one graduates (especially those with advanced degrees) have the highest earning potential of all (tier one through four) school levels. These universities status is based on monies spent annually on research; endowment assets; the number of doctorate degrees awarded annually; and the number of tenured or tenure-track faculty who have achieved distinction by being a member of one of the National Academies, or being a Nobel Prize recipient.
What is the best college in the United States?
The best college in the United States is always going to be subjective, but most will agree that the top two universities are Harvard and Yale, followed by M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), University of Chicago, Columbia University in New York, and Stanford. Their order is open to debate. Surprisingly, some of those same schools are considered great educational values, including Harvard, Yale, and MIT. Also great values are Cal-Berkeley, UCLA, Florida, and Duke.