Score Plus Kuwait Learning celebrated 10th Anniversary with Aplomb

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Score Plus Kuwait Learning Center celebrated its 10 years of Academic Excellence in Kuwait with educational partners, The Princeton Review, USA and inlingua Language School, Switzerland! On this occasion, Michael Gamerl, Vice President of The Princeton Review, USA, gave a workshop on “Top 5 ways you can ace your college applications after new SAT/ACT Exam” to high school students and parents of Grade 10-12 on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the American University of Kuwait.

This workshop was organized in collaboration with the Commercial Services division of the US Embassy in Kuwait. The program started with a welcome speech given by Dr. Earl L. Tim Sullivan, President of the American University of Kuwait, followed by an opening speech by H.E. Lawrence Silverman, U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait, who emphasized the importance of higher education and its role in transforming life. Michael Gamerl explained the importance of test scores and high school GPA, US college admission selection criteria, and gave tips for finding best fit colleges as follows:

1.College Planning
•Your path to college begins in Grade 9 of high school as you make yourself college ready. Grades and test scores are important factors in college admission, but admissions officers are also looking for curious and engaged candidates who will round out a diverse first-year class.

2.Grades
•Most admissions officers’ report that, along with your high school grades, the academic rigor of your high school curriculum is the most important element of your college application.
•Choose your high school classes carefully. Make sure to challenge yourself with honors classes in your school such as CBSE classes, AS/A-Level classes, AP classes, and IB classes when they are available.
•Grades matter for all 4 years from Grade 9-12. When colleges review your transcript, they typically focus on your Grade 10 and 11 year grades but will still see the others.
•“Start early.” Focus on getting good grades, and get homework help when you need it to stay on track.
•Even if you had a rough first year, there’s still time to turn your grades around. Many schools will reward your upward trajectory.

3.Test Scores
•SAT and/or ACT scores take the lead, but admissions officers consider your performance on other standardized tests as well.
•Many selective colleges require you to submit SAT Subject Test scores, and some colleges grant course credit for excellent performance. It’s a good idea to sit for the Subject Tests right after you finish the related classes in high school.
•Good performances on AP exams are one indicator for admissions officers of your potential for achieving in college. More than 1,400 colleges and universities accept high scores on AP exams for course credits.
•Schools accept both the SAT/ACT equally, so it’s completely up to you which test you take (you can even take both!). The essay sections of both tests are optional, but some colleges may require it.
•Test optional schools: Schools that are test optional do not require standardized test scores as part of a complete application. Since your test scores could qualify you for merit scholarships (even at test optional schools), it’s still a smart idea to take and prep for at least one standardized test.

4.Extra-curricular Activities
•What you do with your time outside the classroom shows colleges who you are and what qualities you’ll bring to campus.
•Commitment to a sport, hobby, religious organization, or job over four years of high school is key. Colleges would much rather see you excited about a few worthwhile endeavors than marginally involved with a ton of clubs.
•If an after-school job is cutting into your extracurricular time, don’t worry! Work experience demonstrates maturity and responsibility on your college application.
•Summer counts, too! Some students enroll in university programs to start earning college credits. Others volunteer or find a summer job. Whatever you do, your summer activities can make your college application rise to the top of a competitive applicant pool.

5.College Search
•No two students are exactly alike, and no two schools are exactly alike. What are the features of your best fit college?
•Conversations with your college counselor about what’s important to you in terms of academics, campus culture, and financial aid will help guide your overall college search.
•Research is a must. Attend college fairs, consult our college profiles, and visit campuses to find and compare potential schools. Check out majors, dorms, clubs, career services, and other key features.
•You’ll end up with a list of dream, match, and safety schools - any of which is a great fit for your specific personality and interests.

6.College Applications
•When it comes time to apply, you’ll have some decisions to make.
•Will you apply early? Many colleges allow applicants to submit their materials for an early deadline (November 1, 2018) that falls before the regular deadline (usually sometime in January 2019).
•The key components of the college application are your transcript, score reports, letters of recommendation, and application essay. Colleges will also ask you to list your extracurricular activities. Learn everything you need to know about college application.
•Always check admissions requirements with each individual school. Schools may have different requirements regarding number of SAT Subject Tests or whether they require you to take the SAT or ACT essay.
•The Common Application makes it easy to apply to multiple schools, but schools will typically have different supplemental essay topics or test score requirements.
•You may decide to interview with an admissions representative or college alumni member to learn more about schools—and to help schools learn more about you.

7.Choosing Your School
•Once the notifications start rolling in, celebrate your acceptances with your college counselor, and make your final decision (typically by May 1, 2019 “Decision Day”).
•Get excited about the schools that accepted you by talking to real students on campus, learning more about key programs and on-campus activities, and touring dorms and other facilities.
•Compare financial aid packages to determine which one makes the most financial sense for you.
•If your dream college waitlisted you, don’t despair! You could still be accepted from the waitlist, as students notify the college whether they accept or decline.
•Students may be deferred (their application held to be evaluated at another time) if a college decides they need more information (like senior year grades or test scores) before making their decision.
•You may also decide to defer your acceptance for a year to work, travel, or volunteer. Learn more about taking a gap year.

The Seminar was concluded by the Director of Score Plus Kuwait Learning Center, Ritu Kalwani, who re-iterated that “college admissions is all about finding a school that fits you. As an applicant, you are looking for a college environment where you can thrive academically and personally.” As part of the 10th anniversary celebration, Ritu Kalwani invited the high school student community of Kuwait to visit The Princeton Review team at Score Plus Learning Center in Kuwait for complimentary practice test on PSAT, SAT, ACT, SAT Subjects and AP Exams followed by a personalized test feedback and individual college application timeline planning before summer vacation commences in June 2018.

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