Benchmark eNews

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For seniors who want to consider applying early to their top choices, many colleges have added an Early Decision II to their growing list of options for admission. The Common Application has a listing of the schedules for all of the 276 colleges included on the site. For those not included, check college website admission calendars to determine what options are available and what works best for you.


For those juniors preparing for standardized tests in the winter and spring of 2006, you may want to consider taking either the ACT or the SAT. Many colleges will take results from either test, and some will accept the ACT with writing in lieu of the SAT Reasoning test plus two subject tests. Take a sample of each and see how you score, and then compare your scores using this table. Always check admissions websites for the schools on your list to confirm testing requirements. Explore this updated list of colleges that have made test submissions optional.


We hear from many colleges that online applications are preferred in most cases. The good news is that students can work on their applications and save sections as they have time, and return to complete more sections later. Using the online option can result in an earlier review by colleges, more complete and accurate responses, and an overall increase in consistency, neatness, and quality.


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Many seniors are completing college interviews this fall and winter and have concerns about the process and the types of questions that will be asked. Interviews are given by either admissions representatives or alumni, and questions will vary widely. One way to prepare is to do your homework on the college website and prepare a few questions to ask that are not answered on the college website. Be informed about the college, and know that this is your time to learn more about the school, just as it is the college’s time to learn more about you. Read more about the process and have someone ask you the questions included in this article.

The University of Washington has launched a new, more comprehensive website for applicants.

Some valuable thoughts on the college admissions process…..

Benchmark eNews, November 2005, Volume 2, Issue 9.

We hope you enjoyed reading this issue of Benchmark eNews. Look for your next issue next month.

Benchmark eNews is a free, monthly email publication. Event dates are subject to change. Visit your school counselor or call us for more information.

At Benchmark, our goal is to demystify the college application process and help you stay focused on a meaningful and effective plan. By filtering out the hype and implementing a program that is individualized and appropriate, you can relax and enjoy what should be an exciting and fulfilling time. We are committed to helping you find a college environment that will offer the greatest opportunities to experience personal and academic challenge, support and success.

This fall our travels took us to Northern California where we visited a variety of schools and enjoyed the sunny Bay Area weather as students headed back to class. Our first stop was Mills College (pictured above), an all women's college in Oakland. This small, liberal arts college is growing and facilities will be added to accommodate this growth. Freshmen all live together in one dorm and over half of the students are transfers from other schools. Mills offers supportiveness and challenge, and has strong programs in creative writing, journalism, education, political legal and economic analysis (PLEA), computer science and dance. Students at Mills may take courses at UC Berkeley, California College of the Arts, and Sonoma State.

Our next stop was nearby UC Berkeley (right). This world class research university has become highly selective for out of state students, as the number allotted space continues to decline. Browse the listing of academic programs, research, institutes, museums, and field stations and you will understand Berkeley along with UCLA has become the crown jewel of the UC system.

For those students interested in an art school with on-campus dormitories, the California College of the Arts has campuses in both Oakland and San Francisco. CCA has a very popular program for high school students every summer, which includes an opportunity for students to complete a portfolio for submission with later college applications. The five year architecture program is housed in the San Francisco campus, along with the fashion design program. The Oakland campus includes programs in ceramics, photography, and print-making to name a few.

Saint Mary’s College of California lived up to the beautiful photographs on its printed material, and is nestled alongside the Moraga foothills, just 20 miles east of San Francisco. Sixty percent of the students are athletes in this Division I college, which offers 14 sports. The popular January term is an integral part of the 4-1-4 calendar, and gives students the opportunity to study abroad and have their financial aid follow them. St. Mary’s is a Catholic institution in the Lasallian tradition and community service is a large part of the experience for students.

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Many colleges will be having open houses for students this fall. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the college and what it has to offer. To find out more, check the admissions pages for your favorite college and make sure to pre-register as necessary. Here are some examples of some upcoming programs:

National Portfolio Day will be held January 7, 2006 at Cornish College of the Arts. Start preparing now and have your portfolio ready for suggestions and evaluation by college representatives from across the country. Some colleges will be making admissions decisions on the spot depending on the quality of your portfolio.


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