• Top College Success Books for Summer Reading

    Barry Lenson

    If you’re about to enroll in college in September – or if you have a son or daughter who will – why not help assure success by taking some college-level classes over the summer vacation months? And here’s one more thing you can do. Before you head off for summer vacation, put these books in your book bag. The strategies they teach could provide a quicker route to college success. How to Win at College: Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country's Top Students by Cal Newport. (Broadway Books, $11.95) Here are some of the strategies you’ll find in this lively, easy-to-read book:  Don’t do all your reading . . . drop some classes every term . . . become a club president . . . care about your grades, ignore ...

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  • High School Grads: Is Your Writing Ready for College?

    Barry Lenson

    One of our editors at StraighterLine Blog is also an SAT tutor.  We asked him to conduct an informal survey for us, and here are the results. First, he asked 10 SAT students to name a subject that their high schools had not taught well enough. Eight of them replied, “writing.” (The other two cited “math” and “chemistry.”) Second, he asked six parents to name one subject that their children had not learned well enough in high school. Four of them replied, “writing.” (The other two parents answered “study skills” and “music.”) Third, he asked a group of six SAT tutors to name the area where their students needed the most catch-up work before starting college. All six of them replied, “writing.” So the ...

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  • A $116 Billion Graduation Present for You

    Barry Lenson

    If you think that your Uncle Waldo gave you a big present when you graduated from high school this year, maybe you better think again. Because Uncle Sam just gave you a present that would be hard to beat. It’s the $116 billion that the Federal government has budgeted this year to help millions of American families and students pay for postsecondary education. Since investing in education is a big priority in Washington, the government is ready to help you pay for college in a variety of ways. There are loans, grants, work-study programs, and other options. Even better, the U.S. Department of Education has made it a snap to learn about these programs, through its Student Aid on the Web portal. Visit it, you’ll like it. It’s an ea ...

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  • Are You Puzzled by Advanced Placement Tests?

    Barry Lenson

    “ . . . as more students take rigorous AP classes and pass the exams that can earn them college credits, more colleges and universities are scaling back those credits” - Reporter Gregory A. Paterson writing in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star TribuneIt’s a fact that tens of thousands of high school students are taking Advanced Placement Tests this month in high schools around the country. It’s also a fact that more of those kids are wondering why. AP Tests began as a great experiment in secondary education. If you’re unfamiliar with their history, here’s a quick rundown. It all started back in 1952. That’s when Harvard, Princeton and Yale decided to let seniors at several prestigious prep schools take college-level cour ...

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  • Freshman Year at College for $1000 or Less?

    Jaime Dalbke

    With annual college costs soaring past $50,000, you probably think it’s impossible to pay for your first year of college for $1,000 or less. But if you think it’s impossible, think again. More students are slashing their college costs dramatically by applying some or all of these strategies: Strategy one: Get college credit for life experiences. Speak with admissions representatives of colleges you are considering to see whether you can get college credit for experiences you have had in professional life. Strategy two: Turn your specialized knowledge into credit hours. Did you grow up speaking a second language? Did you excel in an advanced placement test (AP Tests) in high school – but one that never granted ...

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