Below you can find a list of short blogs about topics that parents and students (should) care about the most. Taking standardized tests can be a stressful process, but it doesn’t have to. These 5-minute reads (in addition to our services) can change your perceptions about test-taking.
JHU Bids Farewell to Legacy Admissions
What are legacy admissions? Legacy admissions refer to preferential treatment given by a university to certain applicants because of their familial ties to an alumni of that institution. At some selective colleges, including Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania and Notre Dame, more than a quarter of each class is made up of legacy students. Legacy […]
Surprising Changes to College Admissions
Recent changes made at the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) conference could have some serious implications for those applying to college, especially those who plan to apply early decision. In the past, applicants who applied early decision understood that this decision was binding, meaning that students would rescind all other applications upon acceptance […]
Update on the Celebrity College Scandal
The celebrity college admissions scandal, increasingly publicized and present in the news, is deeply upsetting to many—especially those who work honestly as educators to help students improve and develop as learners. Last week we got a bit of an update when the federal government filed a 526-page motion that contains heavily redacted emails and transcripts […]
What to do if you’re deferred
Getting deferred from your top choice college can be disappointing, but don’t lose hope yet! Here’s everything you need to know about getting deferred and what to do next. What does a deferral mean? Deferrals can occur to anyone who applies early (decision or action) to a college; the college defers an early applicant by […]
Your First Semester Senior Grades Matter!
“I’m a senior now. Do my grades even matter?” To put it briefly, yes. So you’re a senior now. Congratulations! But you’re not off the hook quite yet. Your grades during the first semester of your senior year can make all the difference in terms of getting into your dream school. As college admissions become […]
What can boosting SAT by 150-200 points do for student athletes?
Streamline Tutors recently started offering point-based improvement packages, wherein parents can choose to purchase either 150 or 200 points of improvement. We are excited to offer these results-oriented packages, and we urge you to read more about them here. As a follow up to this momentous announcement, we plan to publish a series of blogs […]
What boosting your SAT by 150-200 points can do for your UMD application
Streamline Tutors recently started offering point-based improvement packages, wherein parents can choose to purchase either 150 or 200 points of improvement. Streamline is excited to offer these results oriented packages and we urge you to read more about them here. As a follow up to this momentous announcement, we plan to publish a series of […]
“Am I smart, or not?” Most middle and high school aged kids ask themselves this question every day. Whether they’re sitting in a classroom taking a test, at home working on a problem set, or catching up with their friends after school, the question comes up again and again. “I got a bad grade on […]
SAT subject tests: Should you take them?
What schools require SAT Subject tests? We’ve compiled a list of colleges that either require or recommend SAT subject tests. In recent years, the importance of SAT subject tests has decreased quite a bit. However, some schools still like to see them. What are SAT subject tests? The multiple-choice SAT Subject Tests — available in […]
How to navigate the test accommodations process
Maybe your student has a long and documented history of their learning difference or maybe you’ve just recently learned it might be something you want to pursue. Either way, the accommodations process can be long, stressful, and confusing. So we’re here to help. If you’re one of the countless Streamline parents who learned of their […]
Well rounded versus Angular
Not so many years ago, the prominent narrative for college admissions was that well-rounded applicants fared the best. Many talented students took this to heart and joined every club, every honor society, and ran for every school or club election possible. Instead of cultivating one passion and pouring their energy into that, many talented students […]
A little bit about SmartyScholars
If you’re a big fan of Streamline, then you may have heard about SmartyScholars, our non-profit fund dedicated to providing test prep services to talented, low-income students. We got our official 501(c)3 status about a year ago, but had been offering one-off pro bono tutoring to talented students for about a year before that. You […]
How Streamline Redefines SAT and ACT Prep
When SAT and ACT season rolls around, many parents hesitate before signing their kids up for test prep. There is already so much going on — lacrosse practice, AP exams, rehearsals — and what does a test prep service really offer? Just a few tricks, a couple of patterns to memorize, all for some number […]
Colleges that offer the best financial and merit aid
The college application strategy of each student is going to be unique. Some students want a big state school. Others want a school known for science and research. Others might want to stay close to home. Still others might be itching to get far away. When considering prospective colleges, students are probably thinking about game […]
When should I start test prep?
The week after the PSAT scores come out, our phones ring off the hook! Parents of both sophomores and juniors call us, wondering when they can get their kid started with test prep. And while this may seem like a question with an obvious answer, the answer is actually quite specific to each individual. We’ve […]
Schools that require all test scores to be reported
The ways in which standardized tests are valued and evaluated is truly school-specific. Some colleges superscore while others will not. Some schools allow you to choose which test score(s) you want them to see while others require that you report all scores. It’s important to check out the policies of each school you’re applying to […]
What Is Early Decision 2 and should you consider it?
Early Decision 2 is basically a second round of binding admissions. Early Decision II allows students to enter into a binding agreement with a college later on in the admissions cycle. Why Schools Offer It Colleges offer Early Decision 2 (and early decision in general) to improve their yield rates, or how many admitted students […]
I got my PSAT scores… now what?
Last week, most sophomores and juniors received their results from the PSAT they took in October. We promise, even if you are disappointed by the score, there is no reason to freak out just yet! Before we get into it, please check out this blog that generally explains how you should interpret your PSAT scores. […]
How does the SAT curve work
What’s a curve and how does the SAT “curve” work? Your high school teachers may “curve” a test when the whole class does poorly. Maybe the highest grade was an 88%, so she adds 12% to every students grade so that way the highest grade is now 100% and everyone’s score is a bit higher. […]
Best Colleges for Jewish Life
The transition to college is both exciting and difficult, and for many students, finding a community on campus that shares their values, culture and faith is a scary process. For this reason, many Jewish teens make finding a college with a strong Jewish community a top priority. So, we’ve put together a list of colleges […]
College Interviews: the Lowdown
How to prep for college interviews Some colleges require interviews, others encourage them, and even others offer them as an opportunity for applicants to learn more about the school and the programs they offer. As a prospective student, you should always jump at the opportunity to interview, regardless of whether it’s only offered or encouraged. […]
Use High School to Prepare for College
How to approach your high school classes so you’re prepared for college Students and parents come to us all the time worrying that their high school courses aren’t adequately preparing them for college. This concern is founded in reality; a lot of high school courses don’t require the kind of research, reading, or writing that […]
What is Academic Coaching?
Academic Coaching: Learning how to play the game of school Do you find yourself missing assignments? Or sitting down in class, only to realize you have an exam that day that you forgot about? Do you sit down to study and not even know where to start? Are you worried about getting to college and […]
Should I take the SAT Essay?
What is the SAT Essay? The SAT essay is an analytical essay that is quite similar to the AP Language rhetorical analysis essay. The SAT essay tasks students with reading a 700 word passage and evaluating the author’s argument through a written response. Similar to the AP Language essay, you’ll need to identify and analyze […]
Which Schools Superscore the ACT
Starting in September of next year, students will be able to retake individual section of the ACT instead of having to take the whole thing. You can read more about this exciting change here. The good news is that this change will likely make ACT superscoring an inevitability. Superscoring is when a college evaluates your […]
Why You Should Consider Early Decision
Whether you are a senior unsure if you want to apply ED 2 or a junior thinking ahead to college applications next year, you might be a bit hesitant about putting all your eggs in the Early Decision basket. While it might seem like a big commitment, and it’s certainly one you should think extensively […]
Prepping for AP Exams and Subject Tests
It’s the winter of your junior year… you’ve just got your first quarter of grades and you’re absolutely killing AP bio! You won’t start reviewing for AP exams in school until the spring, but that doesn’t mean you should put off thinking about them until then. The spring of your junior year can get pretty […]
Self Reporting Your Test Scores
In a surprising shift in college admissions, more colleges are now allowing applicants to self report their test scores. Previously, colleges required all applicants to send official score reports directly from the testing agency as a necessary part of the application. Not only did these reporting fees quickly add up, but having to send official […]
Does Prestige Matter?
Each year, the college admissions process gets more competitive, especially at the top schools in the country. This past year, Harvard’s admissions rate hit a low of 4.5%, and Stanford, the most selective school in the country, has elected not to publish its admissions rate for fear of dissuading prospective students from applying. It’s no […]
Top 7 Tips for Writing a Personal Statement
Whether you go Common App or Coalition, your personal statement is the crown jewel of your application. If you’re doing your due diligence, this might be the 100th listicle you’ve read on how to write the perfect college essay, but we hope that it helps you out to hear it from someone you know you […]
Student’s Don’t Know What They Don’t Know – And It Causes Stress
As high school gets more serious and college admissions become more competitive, it’s not a surprise that there’s an increasing prevalence of mental illness, including depression and anxiety, among high school students. In fact, new research has found that students in high performing schools have the same risk for serious mental illness as students growing […]
1-on-1 Tutoring and Growth Mindset
Imagine you are sitting in class. The teacher asks a question. You think back to your homework the night before, and you’re 80% sure you know the answer. You go to raise your hand, but something in you is pulling it back down. You’re not completely sure about the answer, and you don’t want to […]
Are some SATs / ACTs Easier Than Others?
Yes. But not in the way that you think. Many students try to identify which month reliably offers the “easiest” test sitting— is it late fall when seniors are scrambling for a last minute boost or is it in winter and early spring? While some tests are considered “easier” than others (and this has all […]
ACT to Allow Students to Retake Individual Sections
Starting next September, the ACT will allow students to retake individual sections instead of having to retake the entire test. This is an exciting change that could transform the way students prep for the test and the way colleges review ACT scores. Prior to this change, students would have had to retake the entire test […]
DEBUNKED: Common Myths About Testing
Does thinking about the SAT or ACT stress you out? These tests are important and you should definitely take them seriously, but don’t let these common misconceptions contribute to an already stressful experience! 1. You shouldn’t take the test more than twice This is false. All colleges allow students to superscore the SAT. Most colleges […]
Understanding the Test-Optional Movement
The SAT has been a lightning rod for controversy and criticism for decades, and the College Board’s efforts from the 2016 redesign to this year’s Adversity Index fumble have only served to feed the skepticism of parents and educators alike. Now, scores of elite colleges, including 15 of the 100 top-ranked national universities, have adopted […]
Taking the Test One Last Time
Should I take it one last time? As senior year begins, students might wonder if they should take the SAT or ACT one last time. Because taking the test again means taking time away from school work and college applications, there are some important things to consider before signing up. Would a few extra points […]
When the PSATs Matter and When They Don’t
Most high schoolers will take the PSAT for the first time in October of sophomore year. For many students, it might seem like there is a lack of information surrounding this test. What is the PSAT? Does my score count? Should I study? As the name suggests, the PSAT is just a “preliminary SAT.” The […]
Why “Sticker Price” is Misleading
With college tuition prices spiraling out of control, most families heavily consider “sticker price” when comparing prospective schools. However, Paul Tough of the New York Times Magazine reports that 89% of students at private four-year colleges receive some form of financial aid— meaning that very few families pay sticker. In fact, the average student paid […]
Summer Test Prep
“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” Who would have known amidst his journey to becoming one of the most gifted writers in the English language, Shakespeare would have known how to approach standardized test prep! We have fun with our literary references, but let’s be real: students need to take advantage of standardized […]
The Proctor Nightmare
Sign this petition to urge standardization of SAT/ACT proctors and test site: https://www.change.org/p/high-school-families-make-each-sat-act-proctor-and-test-room-standardized-8bc51f5c-0f5d-44c7-8129-a4e1e21653df Imagine it’s the morning of test day. Your student wakes up fully rested, prepared and confident that their SAT/ACT preparation is going to pay off. They’ve done their due diligence. They’ve hit the books, found a tutor, and done seven practice tests, […]
The Admissions Essay: Don’t Let the Prompts Define You
Say it’s a loved one’s birthday. You plan on going out and buying them a gift that’s unique to your relationship and makes them think of how thoughtful and caring you are. But alas, you’re crunched for time and the birthday party is tonight, so you gather all your allowance and decide to get the […]
The Burning House Dilemma
Imagine you’re in a burning house, what would be the few things you grab before you scram for the door? You wouldn’t be able to bring the antique china set that has been passed down through generations and, honestly, you wouldn’t even have much time to decide at all. Due to the severity of the […]
Students Don’t Read and Don’t Know Where to Start
“The problem of our age is the proper administration of wealth, that the ties of brotherhood may still bind the rich and the poor in harmonious relationship. The conditions of human life have not only been changed but revolutionized, within the past few hundred years. In former years there was little difference between the dwelling, […]
The University of Virginia brings back Early Decision
As the college application process insidiously approaches and students make last minute touch ups to the common application essay, it is critical to encourage students to weigh their options in order to make the most informed decision about which schools to apply to and when. While some might choose to apply to every school on […]
How will the “Adversity Score” impact college admissions?
The Varsity Blues celebrity admissions scandal that broke just a few months ago left many yearning for a so-called meritocratic admissions system. Just last week, the CollegeBoard announced their development of an “Adversity Index” that will allow colleges to view an applicant’s SAT score in the context of the socioeconomic status, crime rate, and average […]
But When Will I Ever Use This?
“Lines are stupid; I’ll never use these dumb formulas” Every teacher has heard this, and we at Streamline Tutors hear it constantly: “why do I need to know this beyond this test? I’m never going to use the formula for a line in the real world, so why learn it now?” There are multiple answers […]
The Case for Believing in Yourself
Why Believe Anything? In the age of fake news and alternative facts, it often feels impossible to tell what is true anymore. Any belief you have can be proven wrong with contrasting evidence, and it makes us return to the question: “Why believe anything at all?” This uncertainty has even leaked into test prep. With […]
Making March Marvelous
Thinking about March usually conjures up images of spring, St. Patrick’s Day, and of course college basketball. Likewise, while college athletes prepare themselves for March Madness, we think that students should put just as much effort into preparing for the March SAT. Just as athletes do their hardest work in the offseason leading up to […]
Essays: Recommended but not Required
It seems that college admission boards are finally realizing what students knew all along: essay questions on tests are more hassle than they’re worth. As a recent article in the Washington Post points out, Princeton and Stanford have finally joined a long list of schools that have made the essay on the SAT and ACT […]
Late Season Applications: How to Make Colleges Woo You
College admissions decisions for the regular round are finally arriving in Baltimore — there are a number of opportunities high school seniors can seize if they are dissatisfied with their choices or discouraged by costs. In the spring months, colleges are hustling to fill empty dorm rooms and open spots in their incoming classes. Come […]
Not Happy with your SAT Score?
March 10th — it came and went. Maybe you took a prep class with your friends, maybe your mom ordered you one of those big scary workbooks. You did what everyone told you to do. But now, here we are. It’s March of your junior year, and your SAT score isn’t where it needs to […]
Case Study 5: The “Bad Test-Taker”
Executive Summary: Anthony was a middle of the road Park student starting at an 1120 on his diagnostic SAT. He had great grades, but his performance on the SAT didn’t seem to match. Parents were struggling to come up with an explanation, but Streamline knew exactly what to do. Challenges: From the start, Anthony came […]
Case Study 4: The Recruited Athlete
Executive Summary: Claire was a star lacrosse player at McDonogh. Her junior year, she was recruited at an Ivy League school — all she needed was a 29 on the ACT. Challenges: Claire’s practice schedule made it impossible to register for a prep class. She needed one-on-one, with flexible timing that kept her committed and […]
Case Study 3: The Prep Plateau
Executive Summary: Teresa was a popular girl at Franklin High with a starting score of 21. She never thought of herself as an academic-type, but she needed a 27 for her dream school. Her tutor unearthed the academic insecurities that were preventing real growth. Challenges: Many students anticipate their development will be a linear progression: […]
Case Study 2: Bright Students Need Tutoring Too
Executive Summary: Tim was a bright Mcdonogh student with a high starting score — 1420 walking in the door. His parents had signed him up to take a prep class with another local company. After months with them, his score had managed to go down. Streamline turned things around. Challenges: In a large traditional classroom […]
Case Study 1: Unearthing Latent Obstacles To A Student’s Test Prep Success
Miles’ IQ was in the 99th percentile while his processing speed was below the 20th percentile. We wouldn’t find that out until we conducted a full battery of educational testing. It took a lot of work to get us there. The parents were resistant. “Isn’t extra time cheating? There’s nothing wrong with my kid!” Unfortunately, in the traditional classroom setting, a high IQ can mask certain learning differences. When a child is earning good grades and keeping up with the material, parents and teachers don’t always recognize red flags.
I just got my PSAT score…now what?
In October, sophomores and juniors around the country took the PSAT. If you’re a sophomore or junior, an email from the College Board will hit your inbox before the end of the week. When you open it, you’ll get directions to your score report. But what should you do next?
Why academic coaching could be the solution for your child
Our academic coaches at Streamline Tutors work to dispel the myths our students have absorbed into their self-conscious. We don’t let our students settle with what they’ve decided about themselves and their abilities.
T minus 3 days. It’s crunch time. Saturday is test day.
The official SAT is this Saturday. Read about our tutor Anneliese’s two experiences with the SAT–one successful and one not so much. Streamline’s tutors are not just test prep robots; we understand how daunting standardized tests can be. We are here to help.
The SAT Essay isn’t required — so why bother?
Most top-tier colleges require the SAT or ACT Essay. There are exceptions — Cornell just recently made the essay optional, and UChicago considered the writing section supplemental even on the old SAT. The trouble is, most of us haven’t finalized our college lists on test day.
At Streamline, Holistic Prep is Successful Prep
Streamline emphasizes establishing where the student is coming from, and tailoring our instruction to the unique needs of the student. Streamline has a three-tiered pyramid approach to math problems on the SAT and ACT.
Tackling the Grammar Section
Streamline tutors train their students to look behind the question at the conceptual framework. This perspective is one of the core strengths that leads to successful strategy development and a confident approach to testing.
A Test Prep Plan for Juniors
Now that you’ve got your Halloween costume taken care of, it’s time to start thinking about standardized test prep.
Test Prep Before School Starts
Summer is thought of by parents, students, and teachers alike as a time for rest and relaxation, free from the stresses and commitments of the academic year. However, for students entering the junior year of high school, it is also a window of opportunity to begin SAT and ACT test prep.
College Admissions Boot Camp – Stand Out Among the Competition
If you’re a parent with a rising senior applying to college in the fall, you may be looking ahead with some trepidation. With gossip swirling about the horror stories of kids with stellar GPAs and test scores not getting into their first, or for that matter, third choice , it may leave you shaking your head […]
Early Admission: A Strategic Move to Consider
Deciding whether or not to apply for early admissions can be challenging. Should you commit to a single school through Early Decision? Does early admissions really make a difference in your overall chances of being accepted? Here’s what you need to know.
ACT vs. SAT: Which Test Should You Take?
The truth is, colleges don’t prefer one test over the other. Both the ACT and SAT are similar in terms of content but differ in pacing and style. So, it’s important to pick the one that puts your best foot forward – and focus only on that one.
Why The New August SAT Test Date Is Awesome
The new August SAT date is awesome news for some students. Not only does it give students the opportunity to fully commit to prepping over the summer, but it also offers relief to a number of students in specific situations.
Secret Weapon for Dramatically Improving SAT or ACT Scores
To see a significant change in your SAT or ACT score, you need to fundamentally change your abilities in critical thinking and reading, not just learn memorization techniques and test shortcuts.
Too Late to Apply for Accommodations on the SAT and ACT?
In many cases, parents don’t even realize their students have a learning difficulty. They might just assume their student is a “poor test-taker,” without realizing there’s a legitimate reason why. Learning difficulties can be hard to detect, especially when high levels of intelligence mask underlying struggles with attention or processing.
I’m not happy with my SAT score!
With junior year creeping to a close, those who aren’t happy with their scores face a challenging array of questions: Should I jump ship on the SAT and try my hand at the ACT (or vice versa)? Should I sign up for a class? Seek out a private tutor? Switch tutors? Give up?
Why 4 months of tutoring for the SAT/ACT?
Some parents rush to sign up for SAT/ACT prep a month or two before the test, but the reality is that dramatic score improvements typically occur with 4 months of tutoring.
Who should take (and prep for) SAT Subject Tests?
Subject Tests represent another differentiating factor in college admissions evaluation.
How the New SAT Tests Intelligence (and What it Means for Your High School Student)
You might want to consider a different way to prep.
Don’t even bother applying to Harvard. Here’s why…
The admissions stats you’ve never seen.
Applying to College? You May Want to Delete Your Facebook Account
A life without Facebook might seem incomprehensible to some, but high school seniors applying to college would be wise to consider it, if only temporarily. As cited in the Huffington Post, more than 80 percent of college admissions officers use Facebook and other social media sites to get a second look at an applicant. Unless the […]
Making Your College Application Stand Out–Focus on What Makes You Unique
(Post also found on the Baltimore Fishbowl here: http://www.baltimorefishbowl.com/stories/making-your-college-application-stand-out/) It used to be that GPA and SAT scores dictated where a student would be accepted into college. Now high scores and top grades only get a student considered at selective colleges and universities. The admissions office at Harvard, for one, reports that over 70 percent of its applicants […]
An Exercise in Critical Reading: Why the SAT Will Change in 2016
Please read the following post carefully, as you would an SAT passage. Critical reading questions — consistent with those found on the current SAT — will follow! In his speech March 5 announcing an overhaul of the current SAT, College Board President David Coleman owned up to criticism that the current SAT reinforces socio-economic inequality […]
Answers to the SAT Questions on “An Exercise in Critical Reading”
Please feel free to comment on the strategies you used to figure these questions out! 1. E 2. B 3. A 4. A
When Push Comes to Shove: When and Why Baltimore Parents Hire Tutors
A closer look at how tutoring can impact your child’s education.
Tailoring SAT/PSAT Strategy to Fit a Student’s Needs
Also found in the Baltimore Fishbowl With just a few days left until winter break, high school sophomores and juniors across Baltimore are powering through remaining tests and papers before the holiday vacation begins. But they’re also getting scores back from a standardized test they took in October: the PSAT. Students across the nation take the PSAT as […]
Give Yourself an Early Holiday Present: Make Your Teachers and Counselors Your Best Advocates
Some consider teacher and counselor recommendations to be the icing on the cake of a stellar college application, but they serve an integral role in the college application process. Most understand that the strongest recommendations don’t succumb to platitudes like, “Johnny is a great, hardworking student,” or “Sarah always goes the extra mile in class,” […]
Is the Ivy League Out of Reach for Most Baltimore Students?
Also published in BaltimoreFishbowl.com: found here. Last year, Baltimore Fishbowl writer Rachel Monroe reported on the parental angst incited by the low acceptance rates of Baltimore students at elite colleges. Since then, not much has changed: acceptance rates remain relatively low at area high schools while New England’s best prep schools still send students by the […]
How to Improve Executive Functioning (Part 1): Learn a Second Language
One of the biggest buzzwords in education these days is the term “executive function” (EF). While the term itself may conjure up images of elementary school students in suits and ties, we’re sure our savvy Baltimore readers know that EF skills are actually the overarching capacities that enable students to stay on task, plan ahead, […]
Getting the Most out of your High School Experience from Day 1 (SAT & College Visits)
It’s only October and already tension is in the air for high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Will the government shutdown persist? Will the Affordable Care Act work? What happened to my Pre-Calculus grade? Which Baltimore tutoring company can help me do my best? Amidst these dubious times, there are several certainties regarding college admissions […]
A College Admissions Perspective: Getting the Most out of your High School Experience from Day 1 (Extracurricular Activities)
Well into September, high school students are hopefully acclimated to the academic demands of the new school year. For some, fall sport seasons are already in full swing, necessitating that students manage their time wisely to stay on top of projects, tests, and homework. Others may have extra time on their hands and may wish […]
College Rankings and College Admissions: Coming Out on Top
A look at what’s really behind the US News & World Report College Rankings and how they impact college admissions.
What Counts for College Admissions: Part 1 GPA
Director Ian Siegel takes an in-depth look at the way colleges evaluate your GPA.
Rosh Hashanah: a day to Reflect… on Parent Involvement in School
America lags behind its counterparts in every major subject on the OECD.
What to Do on Day 1 of Your High School
The last days of August bring mixed emotions to high school students and parents alike. Most students mourn the estival freedom that steadily slips behind them while still anxiously looking forward to what the new school year has in store: extracurricular activities, old and new friends, a new list of classes to attend, room numbers […]
SAT, ACT, or BOTH?
How to choose between prepping for the SAT & ACT.