The CollegeVine Blog

The CollegeVine (formerly Admissions Hero) Blog is your go-to source for all things academics, applications, and extracurriculars, straight from our team of top-tier admissions experts.

  • Ultimate Guide to the New SAT Writing and Language Test

    The SAT Writing and Language Test is one of two components of the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing portion of your SAT. This section replaces the Critical Reading Test and Writing Test from the previous iteration of the SAT. The new Writing and Language test takes place at a much quicker pace than the previous test’s version, with just 35 minutes allowed to complete 44 questions. The new test also places a greater emphasis on the meaning of words in extended contexts and on how word choice shapes the meaning, tone, and impact of a written piece.

    To learn more, read on for the CollegeVine Ultimate Guide to the New SAT Writing and Language Test.

  • Ultimate Guide to the New SAT Essay

    As with all things new, the new SAT has taken some getting used to. Students, parents, teachers, and tutors alike have had to adjust to some significant changes in format and content. But the good news is that the new SAT is no longer an unknown variable. The essay in particular is now a well-known and understood piece of the puzzle, with the prompt remaining the same on each administration of the test. The only thing changing is the passage to be analyzed.

    To learn more about the SAT Essay and how you can best prepare for it, read on.

  • So, What is the SAT Anyway? (A Newbie’s Guide to the College Board SAT)

    The SAT is a long-standing test used to assess college and career-readiness. It is most commonly used for college admissions and is one of the most common standardized tests in the college admissions world. Originally known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, next as the Scholastic Assessment Test, then as the SAT I: Reasoning Test, it is now simply known as the SAT, and has no official acronym associated with it anymore. The SAT is managed and published by the private, not-for-profit corporation College Board, and is administered on behalf of the College Board by the Educational Testing Service.

    While more than 6.7 million test-takers completed an SAT- or PSAT-related assessment in the 2015-2016 school year, the test wasn’t always so popular. In fact, the growth of the SAT program from nearly nothing to its current popularity over the past century speaks to its ability to adapt with the ever-changing environment of American education and student learning goals. Although it may be unrecognizable from its original form, today’s SAT serves the same purpose as it did 90 years ago, when it was administered to high school students for the very first time. But its roots go even further back. To learn more about the SAT exam, from its controversial origins to today’s current test format, read on.

  • Ultimate Guide to the New SAT Reading Test

    The SAT has been consistently adapted over time to reflect ongoing changes in the American education system. Since 1994, it has changed to include the use of a calculator on the math section, the addition of writing skills, and the elimination of analogies. Still, when the most recent changes were announced in 2014, to be enacted in 2016, a wave of discomfort swept over college admissions advisors, high school students, and test prep experts. What would the new test look like? How would test prep need to change to best suit it? How would student performance on the new test measure up?

    Well, the results are in now, and advisors, students, and test prep experts alike can relax. Enough data has been gathered and insights lent; the prep materials for the newest version of the SAT are here. The experts at CollegeVine have spent the past six months consulting and revising, pouring over resources from the College Board, Khan Academy, and private sources, to develop a fine-tuned and accurate prep guide for the new SAT, and we are excited to be able to share a preview of it here with you now.

  • Summer Activity Ideas for the Hopeful Future Lawyer

    For many high schoolers, the school year is a busy time packed not only with required coursework, but also with sports, clubs, and service projects too. For the student who has some idea of a potential career path through and beyond college, planning these activities may take on even more meaning. Aspiring pre-med students may volunteer at the hospital and take a course load heavy with math and science. Prospective political science majors are likely getting their feet wet in student government while studying history and the social sciences.

    But what if you’re an aspiring lawyer? During the school year of course there might be mock trial or debate club. And there is valuable content across your curriculum from writing classes to research methods and social sciences. But when summer draws near and school lets out, where do aspiring young lawyers go to advance their knowledge and experience? What are some valuable summer activities for the future esquires out there?

  • Dealing with Test Anxiety

    If you suffer from test anxiety, you are not alone. Many other students of all ages experience the same thing. As a high school student, you will find yourself faced with numerous tests, including midterm and final exams for your classes, AP or IB exams, and the SAT or ACT, especially when you are a junior or senior. So how do you cope with test anxiety when you are faced with having to deal with taking so many tests at once?

    Test anxiety is a very real thing; it is no small issue, especially when you sit down to take your test and your mind goes blank, no matter how thoroughly you’ve prepared for it. If test anxiety is something that affects you to the detriment of your scores and grades, you will need to address it sooner rather than later. If you try to ignore it in hopes that it will go away, it may impact you to the point at which your health suffers and your stress becomes unmanageable. In this guide, we will look at some ways to address and reduce test anxiety. However, it is also important to remember that your test scores do not define you—and in fact, there is a growing test-optional trend for admissions, because colleges understand how detrimental test anxiety can be for students. (However, the popularity of this trend may be a bit misleading and comes with a few caveats. For more information, read The Reality of the Testing-Optional Trend.)

  • 2017 Welcomes New Testing Policies for Accommodations on the SAT

    The College Board has released a statement outlining some great news about the SAT for English language learners and students requiring testing accommodations. The process for requesting and receiving testing accommodations is becoming much simpler in 2017.

  • What Parents Need to Know About SAT and ACT Studying Prep

    For many teens, the ACT or SAT tests are the first task they undertake that has the real potential to shape their future. While test scores are just one of many parts of the college admissions game, they are often an integral piece of the college applications that will shape your child’s path in higher education. For students who perform well on them, doors will open. And for others, sometimes doors will close.

    We at CollegeVine know how stressful this sounds, and while these tests are indeed important, don’t worry. Your teen doesn’t have to go through this stressful experience all by him or herself. There are many ways that you can help, and there are lots of opportunities to build a team of other supporters too. With some basic knowledge of the SAT and ACT studying preparation process, you can help to support and guide your child through this process too.

  • The CollegeVine Guide to SAT Scores: All Your Questions Answered

    If you’re awaiting SAT scores, or perhaps you’ve just received them, you might be wondering how your test is scored, what the scores mean, or even what to do if you believe your SAT score is incorrect. Read on for CollegeVine’s answers to all your SAT score questions.

  • Will I Fit In at College as a First-Generation Student?

    If your parents did not pursue higher education, applying to college can be an especially exciting process. Overcoming the roadblocks that many first-generation (or “first-gen”) college applicants face is an achievement of which you should be very proud.

    However, you may be wondering what’s on the other side of college application season. If you are admitted to a college, will your first-gen status affect your experience once you arrive on campus? Will you be able to feel like you fit in when relatively few of your peers share your first-gen experiences?

    Read on to learn more about what you can expect as a first-gen college student as well as some advice for managing your worries about fitting in.