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  • Swati Chopra

Better resources, better results!

As the school year winds down, high schoolers are busy with finals and I'm getting ready for my new batch of students.

If you're considering getting some extra help with college planning, it's a great time to get on board. I'm always looking for ways to help my students, including by trying out new software and partnerships.

With that, I’m happy to announce my new partnership with ArborBridge to offer my juniors discounted SAT and ACT test prep. Whether your student needs a few hours of academic tutoring or 15+ hours of test prep, ArborBridge will help us create a personalized plan that works for you. Zal Method comprehensive package students will also have access to free SAT and/or ACT diagnostic tests when and if they should need them. These tests come with detailed reporting and a free 30 minute lesson with a tutor at your convenience.

Since March of last year, many families have had questions regarding standardized testing and whether their students need to take the SAT and ACT. However, every student's situation is different; please call and we'll schedule an hourly session to go over testing requirements and whether there is any benefit in having a test score in this new test-optional, test-blind world.

I'm also excited to introduce new software that helps me create a stronger college list for my rising seniors. The Class of 2022 will benefit from this additional resource, as will all the students coming up after them. When we work together to build a college list, we start with majors and programs that are of interest to the student. We add surveys and questionnaires for both students and their parents to get a better understanding of what they are looking for in a college or university. Every year I comb through test scores and transcripts and recalculate the GPA for each of my students to make sure we are targeting the right universities. The college list varies depending on the student's GPA—if we're too aggressive then students might not get the right admission offers. If we’re too conservative then we might miss out on selective schools for your student. Creating the initial college list takes several hours over a few weeks and the list is tweaked often in the early weeks of summer. After we’re satisfied with the preliminary college list, we can start planning the application process and timeline.

Clear and accurate data, which is updated frequently, will help both my students and me as we decide which colleges are a good academic fit. In this new test-optional admissions world it is more important than ever that we target the right colleges. Understanding the data behind admission rates is key and I look forward to helping my families understand the benefits of applying early if that is a consideration. Social fit and financial fit will be the next step.

When does college planning start? College planning needs to start early. Coming in for at least class selection in 9th and 10th grade helps your student stay on track. My younger students also benefit by planning out their extracurricular activities and summers.

Signing up for the comprehensive package in junior year will help us slowly get ready for senior year. I start working with my juniors as early as July 30th. Having one hourly session before school starts helps my students get ready for the new school year. Whether your student knows what they want to pursue in college or whether they are undecided, I will introduce them to aptitude testing which will give them a better idea of what their strengths are.

Over the course of the year we will cover extracurricular activities, SAT timelines, summer plans, and volunteer opportunities. In the spring we will finalize 12th grade classes and jump right into college research.

If you have a rising senior then I would recommend signing up as soon as possible. I start working with my seniors as early as June 1st. I do believe some downtime is essential so we’ll meet once or twice and then take a break in mid June. During this break students and their parents can start their own research on colleges as well as majors/programs.

The goal for my seniors is to start their college essays over the summer and reduce the workload when school starts in the fall. Application deadlines start mid October and can go as far back as January or February.

Call today for more information regarding the Senior Strategy Comprehensive Package. As always, I offer a free 30 minute consultation to all new families.


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