• How to Earn an IB Diploma

    If you’re a student who intends to take academically challenging classes in high school, you’ve likely heard of International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. While IB course options are not as commonly available in the United States as, for example, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, they have a worldwide reputation for quality and rigor.

    When people in the United States speak about “the IB program,” they’re usually referring to the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, or IBDP, which is a two-year academic curriculum available to students aged 16 through 19. The IBDP is just one of a number of different educational programs offered by the worldwide IB organization.

    If you’re interested in taking just a few IB courses, most high schools with IB programs will allow you to do so. If, however, you’d like to more deeply immerse yourself in the IB’s curriculum and educational philosophy, receiving an IB diploma through the IBDP may be a compelling option for you to consider.

    In this post, we’ll go over the steps you’ll need to take to earn your IB diploma and how to get the maximum benefit from your experience in the IBDP.

  • The CollegeVine Guides to the ACT

    Love them or hate them, standardized tests are an important part of the college planning and application process. The ACT is one of the major testing options available to college-bound high school students, so many applicants will choose to make it part of their college preparations.

    The ACT test consists of four required sections—English, Math, Reading, and Science—as well as a Writing section that is optional overall, but required for certain colleges. While this exam has a reputation for being more popular in the Midwestern states, it’s widely accepted by colleges, and differs from the SAT in ways that make it a more appealing option for some students.

    Here at the CollegeVine blog, we’ve frequently posted about the ACT, its structure, its content, and its scoring process. Below, you’ll find a list of all our posts about the ACT with links to each. Read on for everything you need to know about the ACT!

  • 10 Tips for Talking to Your High School Teachers

    Inevitably, at some point during your high school career, you will need to reach out to a teacher to arrange a formal conversation. Perhaps you need an extension on a homework assignment, an extra credit opportunity to make up for a poor grade, or the chance to air your concerns regarding the amount of homework you receive. Some of these conversations may not be easy to have, but self-advocating is an important skill to develop now, while you still have somewhat of a safety net.

    In college, you will need to take much more initiative to talk with professors, who often have hundreds of students. High school is the time to learn how to have important or difficult conversations with your teachers, especially if you’re an introvert or naturally less comfortable talking to adults in positions of authority.

    In this post, we outline ten tips for talking with your teachers.

  • The CollegeVine Guides to the SAT

    An important part of the college application process is standardized testing. One of the most popular standardized tests is the SAT. Along with the ACT, it’s one of the main tests that colleges use to evaluate your academic skills, and creates a common ground upon which to compare applicants with a range of differences in their schools’ grading systems.

    In 2016, the SAT was substantially redesigned, meaning that many older SAT preparation resources are no longer accurate. When you’re looking for guidance on how to study for the SAT, make sure you’re relying on sources that reflect the most recent iteration of the test, like the CollegeVine blog posts listed below.

    Ready to learn more about the SAT and how to give it your best shot? Read on for our best advice regarding this very important part of your college preparation.

  • Pre-College Summer Programs for High School Students

    When reviewing your application, admissions committees want to see that you have used your summers productively. From earning money at a summer job to participating in an internship, you will need to show that you have done something worthwhile.

    If you want to get a taste of college life and learn something new, summer programs can be a great option. These programs often take place on college campuses, and many focus on specific areas of academic or professional interest, so you’ll find out what college is really like and participate in activities you enjoy—all while building up your resume for your applications. Below, we’ve put together a compilation of the top CollegeVine summer program guides to help you find a program that is right for you.

  • Parents, How Involved Should You be in the Application Process?

    If you’re a parent, you’re probably wondering how it could even be possible that your son or daughter is applying for college, when it seems like only yesterday you were dropping them off at preschool or kindergarten. The old adage that time passes quickly hits you like a ton of bricks as you come to […]

  • How Important Is Freshman Year of High School?

    If you’re a freshman in high school, you might be wondering how much of this actually matters in the long run. College is still four years away. Is anyone really going to care what grade you got in English when you were 14? What about the long weekends you spent volunteering at the senior center? Or your hard work on the JV soccer team?

    In this post we’ll break freshman year down into distinct categories and discuss how much each one will matter in the long run. Specifically, we’ll talk about course selection, grades, extracurriculars, standardized tests, college planning, and the relationships you build at school. To learn more about how much these factors from freshman year will matter when you apply to college, read on.

  • These Colleges Require SAT Subject Tests

    If you’re thinking about applying to college, chances are you’re thinking about the SAT Subject Tests. You might be wondering what these exams are, how many of them you need to take, or which schools require them. For more information about these tests and which schools require them for your application, read on!

  • Resources for First-Generation College Applicants

    For an aspiring first-generation college student, the college application process can be intimidating, to say the least. Without guidance or insight from a parent who has been in your shoes, it’s not easy to recognize the many resources that are available to you. Luckily, these resources are plentiful, and many are designed specifically with first-generation students like you in mind.

    If you’re a first-generation college student who isn’t quite sure where to find the best advice, tools, and references around, this is the post for you. Here, we outline our favorite resources for helping first-generation college students through the college admissions process.

  • How to Choose the Right Extracurriculars in High School

    The academic side of high school might be pretty clear, but the same can’t be said for extracurriculars. It’s hard to know exactly what role extracurriculars should play in your high school experience, let alone on your college applications. Extracurriculars are a broad category to begin with—they seem to encompass everything from starting your own dog-walking business to participating in groundbreaking scientific research projects.

    So you might be wondering, what’s the deal? Are some extracurriculars more important than others? Which will be most heavily weighted on your college application? And how do you know which are worth pursuing?

    In this post we’ll give an outline of how to choose extracurriculars that not only are personally fulfilling, but also augment your profile as a college applicant. Read on for the five standards you should keep in mind when selecting an extracurricular activity.