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Digital SAT Math Meltdown

act college admissions sat Mar 24, 2024

Good morning!

We're hitting the airwaves this morning -- 10:00am EST --  for College Coffee Talk, our live show about college admissions and financial aid news that you can use!  

Here's what's on tap for today:

The Digital SAT Math Meltdown

Two Obscure FAFSA Hacks Discovered by Pearl




Grab a cup of joe and we'll see you at 10am EST (recorded if you can't make it)

- Andy Lockwood

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How Hard Is the Digital SAT?

Tutoring and Small Group Classes

Most of the comments I've heard and read about the new digital SAT given March 9 are critical of how difficult it was. 

But I'm not sure it matters.  The College Board is pretty good at assessing the difficulty of its SAT questions ahead of time.  They engage in "score equating," which is similar to a curve, but done in advance.

My hunch is that the actual scores, when released later today (!) will not be super-low, generally speaking.  I believe that they'll be pretty similar to historical scores.

- - -

Sidebar from Cynical Andy:  the College Board (and the ACT) have been under the gun in the past two-three years, as opponents to standardized testing -- namely, -- have pressured colleges to not require the tests because of their inherent bias, lack of correlation with a student's future performance in college and a likely reduction in underrepresented minorities on college campuses as a result.

On the other...

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Financial Aid "Secrets" Revealed

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Closely-Guarded "Secrets" Revealed - How any family...even six and seven-figure earners...can slash college costs by more than 56%

If you have a class of 2025 or younger child who is headed to college...

...and your stomach is in a knot and your hands clammier than on your first date, because you're just now realizing how freakin' much college will *actually cost* you...

....I've got GREAT NEWS!  Tonight, we're walking you through all the ins and outs of how financial aid and merit aid works, in a brand new, free webinar!    Yay.

On tonight's webinar, you will discover the (legal and ethical) ways to cut your college costs so that you can comfortably afford tuition without scrimping on your lifestyle, loading up your kid (or you) with high rate, high fee student debt or selling a vital organ on the dark web.  Bold promises, but we will deliver.

Topics on tap:

  • How six figure and seven-figure earning families can ...
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Extracurriculars that "sell," not bore

Nary a week goes by without a question about a summer program, service trip opportunity or other similar queries.  Here are my thoughts:

The world of extracurricular activities is divided into two parts:  Typical and Atypical.  Nothing against typical activities, but they won't move the proverbial college application needle.  Examples:

Playing a sport is great for many reasons, but unless you're a recruited athlete, it will not help your kid get in anywhere.  He doesn't have to step up his private tennis or fencing lessons to six times per week for college application purposes.

Being a member of National Honor Society is nice, but if your child qualifies, she will be joining the rarefied air of the top 70% of her peers.  Not a game changer for the college apps.  It's a participation trophy.

Enrolling in a service trip to Hawaii, the Dominican Republic or some other tropical paradise requiring travel by air -- instead of offering your...

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Local College Planning Workshop Tonight

Manhasset Library Workshop

Announcement for local parents of college bound teens:

I'm doing a free college planning "secrets" workshop  tonight at the Manhasset Public Library, 7pm, and I just learned that they have 20 empty seats with your name on them!

That's sorta kinda what we found out, last minute.  Point is, if you have any of the following questions, and you're free at 7pm tonight, we would love you to stop by:

  • Admissions "Secrets": The truth about what it takes to get into a competitive college today (including non politically correct, but true, factors)
  • The FAFSApocalypse: What the bejeezus is happening the the FAFSA (financial aid app) and how is it impacting college-bound families today
  • Financial Aid Loopholes: How can Long Island families cut colleges costs -- by 56% or more -- even if they believe that there's no way on God's green Earth that they can qualify for that they can comfortably afford tuition for all of their kids...
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Feedback on the 1st Digital SAT

Good morning!

We're hitting the airwaves this morning -- 10:00am EST --  for College Coffee Talk, our live show about college admissions and financial aid news that you can use!   Here's what's on tap for today:

*Feedback on the first digital SAT

*Financial Aid:  when your story doesn't fit in the boxes of the FAFSA

*Bombshell reasons disclosed for the FAFSA disaster

*More, including your questions!

This is a great way to get your college admissions and financial aid questions answered  -- tune in for some free college coaching!



Grab a cup of joe and we'll see you at 10am EST (recorded if you can't make it)

- Pearl and Andy Lockwood


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Applying for Financial Aid: Hurt Odds of Acceptance?

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Hello my College Planning Amigo,

During College Application Season, it’s unusual for a month to go by without a parent asking me whether they should check the “yes” box on the Common App, to indicate that they want to be considered for financial aid.

What do you think?  Will it hurt your odds of getting in?  Or…

Is that the right question?  Here are my thoughts.

Most colleges are “need aware.”  Meaning, they consider whether you need financial aid as ONE of the 25 ish factors that go into a college application.

So whether you need aid or not isn’t a make or break question across the board.  However, it definitely is one of the considerations that could get you in or keep you out when it comes down to the wire, when admissions committees are making their final cuts.

On the other hand, a relatively small number of colleges, typically Ivy and other elite private colleges, purport to be...

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College Essay Announcement

A week ago, the folks at the Common Application announced that their essay prompts will be the same as last year's.

On a related note, Class of 2025 students will write the same crappy essays as last year's college applicants.   

One big error revolves around choice of prompt.   I'll share which one is the worst in a moment, but first let me give you a little overview if you're new to the wonderful world of college essays and applications.

The Common Application comes out August 1.  The overwhelming majority  of the colleges your son or daughter will apply to accept the Common App (Georgetown University is one notable exception that has its own application).

The Common App really isn't that big a deal.  A lot of it is rote - name, address, parent info, list of honors, etc. 

However, the areas that require thought and attention are 1. essay writing (the personal statement and supplemental essays) and 2. the Activities Section.

In my...

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[LIVE] at 10am Eastern

Uncategorized Mar 03, 2024

Good morning!

We're hitting the airwaves this morning -- 10:00am EST --  for College Coffee Talk, our weekly live show about college admissions and financial aid news that you can use!  

Here's what's on tap for today:

*Digital SAT thoughts and politically incorrect commentary

*Student Loan repayment relief case study

* College essay news

* More -- including your questions. We're live and chatting, this is a great way for you to get some free college coaching! 

Here's where to join us:



Grab a cup of joe and we'll see you at 10am EST (recorded if you can't make it)

- Andy Lockwood

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Reader Rants at Lockwood

In response to my email predicting the slow demise of test-optional policies, I received a mini rant from a subscriber to my email list.   Her point, summarized:

* She was a great student herself back in the day

* She was not a great test taker though

* She was admitted to an elite school

* Ergo, standardized testing is ineffective at predicting academic success in college

My response:

"Back in the day" there wasn't as much grade inflation as there is in modern times.  Today, admissions officers can't rely on GPA they way they once could to predict how well a student will do in college, academically.

*I'm happy that she was admitted to the college where she apparently wanted to go.  But I'm curious why she has a chip on her shoulder big enough to spend her time emailing me.

*My email reported the news that Yale (joining Dartmouth, Georgetown, MIT, Georgia Tech, Purdue and others) announced they were tearing up their test-optional policies.  Not my...

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