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American School of Madrid. College Admission Preview Thursday, February 1, 2007 Kim Cullen. Guidance Office/College Counseling. Kim Cullen, Upper School Guidance and College Counselor Anna Pointing, Upper School Guidance Secretary, CAS Coordinator, UCAS support

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american school of madrid

American School of Madrid

College Admission Preview

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Kim Cullen

guidance office college counseling
Guidance Office/College Counseling

Kim Cullen, Upper School Guidance and College Counselor

Anna Pointing, Upper School Guidance Secretary, CAS Coordinator, UCAS support

Juan Ortiz, Director Técnico (Selectividad, LOGSE)

  • To preview the 12-month college admissions process
  • To get students to start thinking about where you might like to go to college, and what you might like to study
  • To highlight what is in the College Admissions Handbook
  • To encourage parents and students to begin working with the Guidance Office on college-career plans
  • To answer questions
self assessment
  • Do you want to go to College?
    • Why? What do you hope to gain – personally and professionally?
    • How do you learn best?
    • Do you want to study anything that requires special facilities or programs?
    • What are your extracurricular interests/needs?
  • Alternative Options
the goal
The goal

As a college-preparatory school ASM Guidance Office focuses on helping to identify those colleges or universities that most closely “match” the individual student’s interests, needs, abilities, and potential.

guidance office
Guidance Office
  • Assists students and parents to develop a reasonable list of colleges, based on student’s interests, needs, abilities, and potential.
  • Assists students through the college application process: transcripts, records, recommendations, etc.
  • Coordinates SAT and ACT testing.
  • Maintains contact with the various colleges and universities in order to help students as much as possible to answer questions, get clarification on requirements, etc.
  • Serves as an advocate for the student, through the recommendation letter, and ongoing contact with the colleges and universities.
  • Serves as a sounding board for both parents and students when questions or concerns arise through the application process.
characteristics of us colleges types
Characteristics of US Colleges: types
  • Liberal Arts College
  • University vs College
  • Junior College
  • Engineering or Technical School
  • Nursing School
  • Business School
  • Military School
  • Hotel Administration/Tourism Schools
  • Special interest groups (Historically Black Colleges & Universities; single sex schools)
characteristics size
Characteristics: size
  • Small: usually under 2,500 students
  • Medium: generally 2,500 to 10,000 students
  • Large: any campus over 10,000 students.
characteristics selectivity
Characteristics: selectivity
  • Most Competitive:
    • Accepted students have an “A” average
    • SAT scores between 625 and 800
    • Admissions rates under 30%
  • Highly Competitive:
    • Accepted students have a “B+” to “A” average in most difficult classes
    • SAT scores between 575 and 625
    • Admissions rates between 30% and 50%
  • Very Competitive:
    • Accepted students general do not have lower than a B- in any course
    • SAT scores between 525 and 575
    • Admissions rates between 50% and 75%
  • Competitive, Less Competitive, and Non-Competitive
standardized testing the tests
Standardized Testing – the tests

Standardized testing is an important factor in admission of using new procedures at most colleges and universities, however, they generally count less than the curriculum and grades.

SAT Reasoning: Measures aptitude and potential

SAT Subject: Many schools require three SAT Subject tests: English, Math IC or IIC and a 3rd of your choice

ACT: Measures actual learned knowledge

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language – required of international students by a large number of universities

standardized testing which test
Standardized Testing – which test?

Different philosophies:

  • Some colleges are moving toward making standardized testing optional (Bates College, Bard College, California State University system, Dickinson College, Franklin and Marshall College, Guilford College, Knox College, Lake Forest College, Sarah Lawrence College, Texas A&M, University of Texas).
  • Some will not require SAT or ACT of you submit SAT Subject Tests (Hamilton College, Middlebury College).
  • Most schools will give you a choice: SAT or ACT.
  • Some scholarship programs will require specific SAT or ACT.
standardized testing which test12
Standardized Testing: which test?

If you are going to do one only, always check with the universities first.

It doesn’t hurt to take both.

SAT Reasoning measures aptitude

ACT measures acquired knowledge

  • Many students who do not “test well” on standardized exams may do better on the ACT.
  • Compare school success with success on the SAT. If you are an A student but scoring in the lower 500s on the SAT, you might consider taking the ACT as well.
  • You can always elect to take the ACT and not send your scores.
standardized testing the toefl
Standardized Testing: the TOEFL

A note about the TOEFL:

Increasingly, the more competitive universities will want international students to take the TOEFL no matter what; independently of whether the student has studied in an English-language school since kindergarten, or whether the student is in IB HL English.

Students are encouraged to take the TOEFL before the end of 11th grade. This will take off some of the pressure in 12th grade.

standardized testing sat prep
Standardized Testing: SAT Prep?

Should you take an SAT Preparation course? Consider the following:

  • Is the SAT optional?
  • How competitive is the university?
  • How did you do on the PSAT?

Add a “0” to your PSAT score to get a rough idea of how you would do on the SAT

Several options:

  • ASM-based SAT Prep course – Alpha Review
    • Spring session leads to May exam.
    • Fall session is intensive and leads to October exam.
  • Outside SAT Prep course – Kaplan, private tutoring
typical testing plan
11th grade:

ACT with Writing – April 14, 2007

SAT Reasoning – May 5, 2007

SAT Subject – June 2, 2007

TOEFL: offered monthly – take before end 11th grade

12th grade:

SAT Reasoning – October 6, 2007

SAT Subject – November 3, 2007

SAT– December 1, 2007

ACT – December 8, 2007

TOEFL: monthly

Typical Testing Plan
the college search process
The College Search Process

Catalogs in Guidance Office


Alumni Network

College Visits

the college search process17
The College Search Process

Catalogs in Guidance Office

Range of catalogs about US, British and Canadian universities.

Advantage: compare and contrast schools

Disadvantage: printed books can become quickly outdated.

the college search process18
The College Search Process


the college search process19
The College Search Process

Alumni Network

College Connections Program

  • Allows ASM student to contact ASM alumni at many different colleges and learn more from the unique perspective of the ASM graduate.

College Q&A Alumni Panel Program

the college search process20
The College Search Process

College Visits

  • Visits to ASM from college representatives
    • Students should attend as many of these as possible.
  • Visits to college campuses
    • Students who have the opportunity to visit a campus have a much better idea of the kind of school they want.
    • There are organizations that offer tours, such as The Princeton Review, and*
    • The most valuable college visits take place after a student begins to formulate his/her list.

* Neither ASM nor the counselor have experience with these organizations. The names are provided merely as resources that parents may want to look into.

application breakdown
Application Breakdown

When choosing where to apply, you must face the toughest question of all: Will the college choose you? Assessing your own academic record and the colleges statistics will enable you to apply appropriately.

In the last two years, the average number of colleges to which ASM students have applied is around 8.

It is recommended that you apply to 2-3 in each of the following categories:

“Reach” Schools

“Likely” Schools

“Safety” Schools

application breakdown22
Application Breakdown

“Reach” Schools

Colleges where your chances of admission are less than 50/50

“Likely” Schools – Realistic (mid-range)

Colleges that possess the significant features you desire and at which the probability of admission is 50/50 or better

“Safety” Schools

Colleges that have most of the features you desire and at which the probability of admission is “highly likely” to “certain”. It is important that you would be willing to attend one of these schools.

admissions plans
Admissions Plans

Early Decision and Early Action are programs which allow keenly interested and well-qualified students the opportunity to apply by November and receive a decision early, usually before Christmas.

Early Decision: This is a BINDING contract between the student and school. Students admitted under this plan are obligated to attend and MUST withdraw all other applications. Deadlines are typically around November 1 or 15.

Early Action/Priority: This is a non-binding plan which allows students to keep other applications active. Deadlines are typically around December 1.

Regular Decision: This is the program through which the vast majority of students will apply. Deadlines are typically at the end of December/early January.

financial aid terms
Financial Aid: Terms
  • Financial Aid is money for education that comes from sources other than the family. It is meant to supplement what the family can contribute.
  • Merit/Based: Aid given to a student in form of grants and scholarships.
  • Need/Based: Aid made available to families who cannot pay all of the post-secondary education costs on their own.
financial aid
Financial Aid
  • Financial Aid is available to U.S. Citizens and green card holders.
  • The important forms are:
    • The FASFA (Free form for Federal Student Aid)
    • CSS/Profile
  • Forms are available on-line



financial aid continued
Financial Aid Continued
  • Applications for Financial aid must be filed no earlier than January 1, 2008.
  • U.S. Federal Tax return (1040) is required for financial aid.
international financial support
International Financial Support
  • To obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20), all international applicants must demonstrate their ability to pay all tuition, fees and living expenses for the first year of study.
  • You can obtain these forms from the individual colleges or universities to which you are applying.
  • Families applying for need-based aid must submit all of the requested documentation. Most colleges will require full disclosure, and without that, they cannot grant aid.
international financial support28
International Financial Support
  • For more information on financial aid for international students, see the power point: “CIS 06 FA Intl – ASM Version”.
  • Handouts available here, but will also be available online at ASM’s guidance website.
british universities
British Universities
  • An interesting possibility for European Citizens is British Universities. Two reasons:
    • Costs: As a EU Citizen, tuition & fees are equal to those of British citizens.
    • Proximity: Most British Universities are easily accessible by rail or bus to international airports.
  • What is UCAS?
    • University and Colleges Admission Service: The central application service for full-time undergraduate courses in the United Kingdom.
    • All students applying to the UK must apply via UCAS
  • Website:
oxford cambridge
Oxford & Cambridge
  • Application Deadline:
    • October 15th: Deadline for applications to reach UCAS at Oxford or Cambridge.
  • Students may not apply to both Oxford and Cambridge
  • In addition to the standard UCAS application:
    • Oxford applicants must fill out a separate Oxford application card.
    • Cambridge applicants need to fill out a Preliminary application form.
medicine and law in the uk
Medicine and Law in the UK
  • Students interested in Medicine must sit the BMAT (in 2006: November 1 – Marbella, Barcelona, Madrid).

  • Students interested in Law must sit the LNAT (in 2006: September 1 - Sevilla, Barcelona)

  • Applications must be received at UCAS by 15 October.
spanish universities
Spanish Universities
  • Selectividad:
    • May 31 and June 1, 2007
    • 2008 dates not yet published
  • Upon receipt of combined score of HS grade point average and Selectividad test results, the student then checks to see what the required mark is for the desired university/course.
calendar important dates
Calendar & Important Dates
  • Spring Junior Year:
    • Schedule appointment with College Counselor to discuss plans ASAP
    • SAT Test Preparation?
    • Register for May & June SAT tests
    • Visit colleges in the USA, if possible
  • Before you leave for Summer Vacation:
    • Discuss college essay with your English teacher
    • Consider which teachers you might to ask for recommendations from, and give them a head’s up.
  • During your summer vacation:
    • Visit colleges in the USA, if possible.
    • Fill out one college application a day for each school to which you plan to apply. This makes your senior year MUCH easier!
  • All college applications are due in the Guidance Office
  • on the first Monday after Thanksgiving 2007!
last but not least
Last but not least:
    • College/university deadlines
    • ASM deadlines
    • SAT/ACT/TOEFL registration deadlines
    • UCAS deadlines
    • Oxford & Cambridge deadlines
    • Selectividad deadlines