Transferring summer college credits, converting SAT scores and more.
By Anne Vaccaro Brady
This week’s post covers some of those loose ends parents and students face before high school and college begin again.
For college students
Transfer summer credits A student who took a course(s) over the summer at another college will need an official transcript sent to his home school to get those credits transferred. If the information on how to do this isn’t readily available on the visiting college’s website, your student can contact that school’s registrar’s office. While your student will receive credit for those summer courses, the grades will not count toward his GPA, though they will become a permanent part of his official transcript.
Accept financial aid To find out the portion of the college tuition bill your student (or you) is responsible for, she’ll need to review and accept her financial aid on her student account. If that aid includes a federal loan which she plans to use, she must complete the online entrance counseling and provide references before the loan can be credited to her account. The processing of the loan takes a few business days once the online paperwork is completed, so to ensure the college bill can be paid on time, your student should accept and complete the requirements for all financial aid at least two weeks ahead of the payment deadline.
Confirm graduation Your college senior is heading back to campus expecting to graduate next spring. Unfortunately, I’ve heard of college students who found out too late that they were short the credits or required courses they needed to earn their diploma as planned. Before your senior returns to college, review the requirements for his major and his transcript with him to see where he stands. He should also schedule an appointment with his adviser or the college’s graduation office (or both) for when he’s back on campus to make sure he’ll be wearing his cap and gown next spring.
A requirements and transcript review with your underclassmen is helpful, too. We did this with our son late in his freshman year, which he said helped him better manage his future class schedules. Understanding his prerequisites and seeing where he had flexibility made it easier for him to work with his adviser and stay on track to graduate in four years.
For high school students
Compare new and old SAT scores In March, the new SAT was launched and students who had taken both versions quickly learned that the scoring had changed, too. The old test was based on a 2400-point system, while the new one is out of 1600 points. The College Board, which issues the SAT, provides a score converter on its website. Colleges will continue to accept the old scores for a couple of years and convert them to determine a student’s best outcomes.
Request teacher recommendations Your senior’s guidance counselor must provide a recommendation for your teen for college, but your student will also need one from a teacher. Now is the time for her to reach out to one or two teachers via email or in-person requesting that recommendation. The most popular teachers receive the most requests, so your teen will want to get on those teachers’ lists now. If school isn’t in session, your student can try emailing her teacher(s), otherwise once school starts, she should ask in-person during the first week of classes. Once a teacher has agreed to write the letter, your student can put him on her recommender list on her Common App account and have the online form sent directly to the teacher.
Prepare for application season Hopefully your high school senior has finished the list of colleges where he plans to apply. Check out my post on finalizing the list for tips on how to do this if he’s still working on it.
Once the list is complete, he should check each college’s application deadline and which use the Common App, then gather the materials necessary to fill out the applications. His essay should be ready to go, too. He doesn’t have to start his applications right now, but keep in mind how much busier he’ll be once he’s back in school.
I find it helps to set a completion deadline for all applications, whether it’s really early, like Halloween, or a little later like Thanksgiving, or even New Year’s Day. Most students, and their parents, do best with a goal.
What did your high school or college student need to finish up before heading back to classes? Please share in the comments section below.