Redesigned PSAT/SAT Updates, Khan Academy and 2015 College Board Forum

man carrying bag

Hopefully you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving dinner and break from school. This blog shares updates from a College Board (the company that publishes the PSAT/SAT/AP exams) webinar of which I was a participant November 10th, as well as some brief notes from the National College Board Forum which I attended in Washington, DC, November 4-6.  I will attempt to summarize the r-PSAT and r-SAT information without compromising significant details. 
  • PSAT/NMSQT score reports will be delivered in a couple of weeks.
  • PSAT total score range=320-1520; 160-760=section scores; 8-38=cross-test scores.
  • SAT total score range=400-1600; 200-800=section scores; 10-40=cross-test scores.
  • PSAT/NMSQT paper score report:  page 2 has section scores, percentile rank, and section score ranges; page 3 has NMSQT information (selection index), scores and next steps; back of page 3 has question-level feedback.
  • PSAT/NMSQT paper score report will come out after portal report.
  • Green bar means student is on track for college readiness.
  • Yellow bar means student is within one year of being on track for college readiness; needs to strengthen certain skills.
  • Red bar means more than one year of college readiness is necessary for the student to be proficient in higher education.
  • An online portal demo will be available for school staff in mid-December (wasn’t ready for the 11/10/15 webinar); your school may provide a demonstration.
  • Students can send scores to Khan Academy (a partner with College Board to provide FREE test-prep assistance) for personalized practice recommendations (strongly encouraged by the College Board on the portal).
  • “Baseball cards” at the bottom of the online score report are past score reports.
  • Counselors will receive portal information 24-hours before students.
  • Students should create a College Board account before December if they don’t have one.  Students should use the same address they provided on the PSAT/NMSQT registration form.
  • Scoring for the National Merit Selection Index:  2 x each test level scores (Reading x 2, Writing Language x 2, Math x 2 = total selection index score).
  • As in the past, states will continue to determine their individual Selection Index cut-off score.


Khan Academy:


Feedback from College Board Forum panel discussion on “The Power of Demonstrated Interest (DI)”:
  • Another factor used in admission with some colleges as a holistic part of the application evaluation and selection process.
  • Advice to students..don’t be stealth (completing the inquiry card w/o genuine interest).
  • Colleges that value DI look for campus visits and event attendance.
  • Many do not track every contact (emails and phone calls).
  • Demonstrated Interest is a stronger consideration in Early Decision (ED) than Early Action (EA).
  • Students who live close to a campus should try to visit.
  • Negatives for students:  lack of prep prior to interview; waitlist issues–too much engagement with parent VS student; incomplete FAFSA form; failing to respond to inquiry cards (stealth) or when someone reaches out; failure to connect with alums who reach out; not following up with college reminders.
  • Adjustments are made for factors affected by financial needs.
  • If the college requires/recommends interviews and the student doesn’t connect, it could affect “DI,” especially for merit scholarships.
  • Colleges are concerned with gamesmanship and lack of authenticity by families.
  • Students must assume ownership and responsibility in the process.
  • Students must be able to answer “why” this institution.
  • Students can do campus visits, attend college fairs, and attend high school meetings with college “reps.”
  • Students should consider:  shorter lists are more seriously submitted; don’t apply if you don’t think you’ll attend; if you don’t read the colleges’ emails, maybe you should reconsider interest; set up separate email account for colleges. 

Start Early:  College & Career Planning Service

2016 Summer Reading Programs for Grades 6-12

It may be the day before Thanksgiving; however, many 2016 summer enrichment programs have already advertised their registration deadlines and application process.

Do you enjoy reading? If you do, that’s great as it will be an asset to your academic success and college admission test performance.  If you haven’t developed an interest in reading, perhaps you can be stimulated in an environment that will offer motivational experiences and acquaintances to peak your curiosity.

Another perk is the location…a college campus.  Amherst College (MA)  and Stanford University (CA) are the host campuses for grades 6-12.  Students grades 9-12 have an additional option of University of Oxford.

Scroll down to read about the Great Books Summer Program.

Great Books Summer Reading Program

Great Books. Big Ideas. Big Impact.

Students entering grades 6 through 8 are invited to attend the Great Books Intermediate Program for a summer of intellectual awakening on the campus of Amherst College or Stanford University.

Through stimulating questions and expertly led discussions using the Socratic method of shared inquiry, young minds learn how to uncover and make the connections between the themes of great literature and their own lives. Our talented faculty helps students grow their critical thinking skills, gain confidence in group settings and find their own voice to share their ideas. In addition to practicing and developing self-expression and reasoning skills, students develop the ability to listen thoughtfully and consider the views of others.

Reading, Fun and an Amazing Community.

Students in the Great Books Intermediate Program read texts and excerpts from authors like Shakespeare, Borges, Ovid, Dickinson, Plato, Woolf, Vonnegut and more. All materials are provided, and no advanced reading is required.

In addition to academics and enriching art electives, we’re committed to providing a fun and engaging environment with plenty of opportunity each day for students to interact outside of the classroom. We understand that even the most intellectually curious students need time to play and make friends.

Sessions for Students Entering Grades 9-12 Available Too.

Great Books also has a Senior Program for students entering grades 9 through 12. With its advanced curriculum, it is a worthy addition to any college application, especially with exciting programs in Dublin and Oxford as well as Stanford and Amherst.

Have Questions? Want to Chat about the Program?

We’re happy to answer any questions and discuss the program to see if it’s a good fit. Feel free to give us a call at 203-612-9470, send an email or request a brochure. We are happy to help.

We hope to see you at camp this summer!

Paula Abate
Paula Abate
Program Director
Great Books Summer Program

Great Books Summer Program, 426 Mine Hill Road, Fairfield, CT 06824 USA


NCAA Alert: Student athletes and SAT’s

Monterio Hardesty, Bryan Evans


Class of 2017 high school athletes are probably wondering which SAT format to take and how their scores will be evaluated by the NCAA Eligibility Center.  The current SAT version will terminate with the January 23, 2016 exam and the Redesigned SAT will debut March 5, 2016.

According to the NCAA Eligibility Center, ” If a student-athlete takes the current SAT before March 2016 and then takes the redesigned SAT at a later date, the NCAA Eligibility Center will not combine section scores from the current and redesigned SAT when determining the student-athlete’s initial eligibility. The NCAA Eligibility Center will only combine section scores from the same version of the test. Because the redesigned SAT varies in design and measures different academic concepts than the current SAT, a numerical score on the current test may not be equivalent to the same numerical score on the redesigned test.


Online Science & Technology Camp: Grades 8-12

Learning will continue for some students this December during winter-break at Byron Academy’s online science and technology camp.
Byron Academy has partnered with leading, non-profit STEM organizations to provide an immersive, five-day experience. Students will learn computer coding skills, website design and be introduced to the emerging career opportunities in technology. Students will hear from guest speakers and be guided through mentorship.
Please read our flyer (download here)  and visit our registration link (

Additionally, you can print registration forms on demand here:


Please let us know if you have any questions.


Viola Feld
Vice President of Partnerships
(646) 650-2698

16 W 22nd Street
 New York, NY

Chat with Siena College (NY) about Financial Aid


Wheaton College (MA): 2016 Summer Program for High School Students

Scholarship opportunities


Wheaton College

26 E. Main St. Norton, Massachusetts 02766
I am pleased to announce this summer’s slate of courses available to rising high school juniors and seniors through Discover@Wheaton Summer College. In its second year, Discover@Wheaton is a credit-earning experience for high school students that will fully immerse them in residential college life and provide them valuable classroom experience in the process.

Our 2016 course offerings are widely diverse to provide something for everyone, regardless of their academic interests. Courses include:

• Innovation and Social Change (business and innovation)
• Lunar Exploration (astronomy)
• Medicine, Bodies, and Power (societal issues in the medical and health professions)
• History of Popular Music (music)

Unlike many other summer college programs, all Discover@Wheaton courses are taught by expert members of the Wheaton faculty—and one is taught by Wheaton’s president. As a result, participants are guaranteed to work with and learn from some of the most qualified individuals in their fields.
This four-week, intensive program runs from July 5-30, 2016, and also incorporates social activities and travel throughout New England. To learn more, please view our website and/or contact Jocelyn Saltzman, Discover@Wheaton coordinator at

Grant M. Gosselin
Vice President of Enrollment
Dean of Admission & Student Aid

Jocelyn Saltzman signature
Jocelyn Saltzman
Discover@Wheaton Coordinator

Mercersburg Academy (PA) 2016 Summer Programs for Middle & High School Students



Early Decision II at Boston University

I would like to remind you that Boston University is offering Early Decision 2 for this coming application cycle. This is an excellent option for students who have a strong interest in attending Boston University. Please note that Early Decision 2 is a binding agreement.

Early Decision 2
January 4: Admission application deadline
January 4: CSS PROFILE deadline
February 1: FAFSA deadline
February 15: Admission decision available online

Students who plan to apply Early Decision 2 and who are also interested in being considered for BU’s merit scholarships, the scholarship deadline remains December 1.

I hope this information is helpful. Please feel free to contact my office at 617-353-2300 or if you have any questions.


Kelly A. Walter
Associate Vice President & Executive Director of Admissions

233 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Hello from New York City!

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is excited to work with you and your students throughout another school year. Whether you are familiar with Cooper, or learning about us for the first time, we encourage you to read through the information below and explore our website. Should you or your students have any questions, please feel free to contact us at or 212-353-4120.

All the best,
Cooper Union’s Admissions Team

Who we are. What we do.


The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, situated in the heart of New York City’s East Village, has been a hub of innovation and creativity for generations. Cooper Union offers degrees in architecture, art and engineering with a highly demanding and rigorous curriculum. With a student body of less than 1,000 students, entry is very competitive.

Students are admitted to Cooper Union based solely on merit and are awarded a half-tuition scholarship, which is currently valued at $20,400. The Cooper Union has been ranked as the #1 Best Value and the #2 overall undergraduate school in its region by The U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2016 guidebook.

Architecture, Art and Engineering


Non Mollus Libraro

Cooper Union is comprised of three schools. The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture offers a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree. This top flight design education includes a curriculum that addresses broad artistic, political, environmental and cultural considerations on local and global scales. The School of Art offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an integrated curriculum that teaches the fundamentals of different artistic disciplines to prepare students to meet the diverse and rapidly changing professional challenges they face after graduation. At The Albert Nerken School of Engineering, students may earn a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering or a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering. Our engineering students benefit from a hands-on, experiential learning environment paired with a wide variety of research opportunities.

World-renowned Faculty

Students and faculty work together in an academic environment, fostering a commitment by all to serious effort, creative expression and lively debate. The student-to-faculty ratio is 8.5:1, with an average class size of 15 students.

Cooper Union faculty members are world-renowned, award-winning artists, architects and engineers. They are the intellectual pulse of the institution, who come to teach while continuing their own personal research and work at various points in their academic careers.  The faculty members’ shared dedication to pedagogy and their respective disciplines helps each class of students develop and elaborate on their talents, interests and work.


Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.


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