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The Brag Sheet

I’ve written here that you don’t need to send a resume with your college applications, that in fact you shouldn’t. I stand by that. It’s just that there’s a bit more to the topic. You don’t need a resume to apply for college, but you should have what’s called a brag sheet. I wrote that […]

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More Application Essay Tips

Here’s another installment in our ongoing series of tips for application essays. Before, I discussed four crucial aspects of the essay-writing process; now we have a couple of things not to do. You need to be on your guard; sometimes bad results stem from good intentions. Here’s a couple of cases in point. Don’t Write […]

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How to Get the Best Recommendations

Our founder always says that in the tens of thousands of applications he’s read, he’s never come across a bad recommendation. You might be surprised, but imagine how letters of recommendation are produced for college applications. A student asks a teacher, Could you write me a recommendation, please? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the […]

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SAT Practice Tests

At Top Test Prep, we stress the importance of completing as many official practice tests as possible, and not just for diagnostic purposes. Doing practice tests is one of the best ways to prepare for the real one and improve your scores. This is true not only of the SAT, but also of the ACT, […]

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College Application Resumes

If you already have a resume at seventeen, great. But: don’t send it off with all of your college applications automatically. Only send a resume if a school specifically requests one (most don’t) or if the Common App doesn’t convey everything about you that you believe is important for schools to know. Send other supplementary […]

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What’s a “Safe” Major?

What’s a “safe” major? These days, it is becoming more difficult to find a job after graduating from college. So much competition, such few spots! With unemployment rates remaining high, students are preparing earlier than ever to avoid this plight. The days of any guaranteed employment are over. More students are now choosing majors that […]

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What’s a Good SAT Score?

The straight answer is: it depends. It depends on where you want to go (or who you want to impress). According to the College Board’s table of 2013 SAT percentiles, the median SAT score for college-bound seniors was around 1500 combined. So maybe a ‘good SAT score’ is anything over that mark: you’ll be better […]

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Application Essay Tips

Writing your application essay can seem like an easy task: you’ve written longer papers, there’s no research to do, and the question is straightforward. But you’ve also never written an essay quite like this (unless, of course, you’ve written an application essay before). Use these tips to craft the best statement possible. 1) Brainstorm. Coming […]

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Admissions Is Not a Lottery

The idea that the college admissions process is a lottery is a common one among frustrated applicants. The popular variation is often phrased, ‘Admissions is a crapshoot,’ with the additional implication that you don’t have great odds in this particular lottery. Some, however, have taken the idea a bit more seriously. Writing in The Atlantic, Rob Goodman […]

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Too Far Away or Too Close to Home?

For many students, the factor of distance becomes crucial in the college admissions process. Sometimes a parent wants to veto any school outside a certain radius of home. Sometimes a student feels such a need to distance themselves from childhood that any school in California starts to look a lot more attractive. It’s important not […]

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