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A dictionary definition of character is: "the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual."
That is exactly what schools are looking for. They want to know you -- your mental and moral qualities. Many students get A+ grades and perfect or almost perfect test scores, but what makes them unique and stand out?
A child’s personality and character have always been important to the independent school admission process, but they did not have a tool to measure the character skills a student is developing or has already developed.
A tool is now available. It is called The Character Skills Snapshot, which is a new online assessment that provides schools with a more holistic view of your child. It measures your child’s character skill development and is meant to complement more traditional assessments, such as the SSAT, the ISEE or the HSPT. The Character Skills Snapshot gives admission teams richer holistic information and illuminates areas where their school can help your child grow, thrive, and shine.
Why should you care about the Character Skills Snapshot? Remember that one of the reasons you want your child in an independent school is an education that focuses on instilling character values and encouraging personal growth.
Schools know that a complete picture of your child contains much more than grades and test scores. That’s why they are asking your child to take The Character Skills Snapshot as part of their application. It will give them richer information about your child, and show them areas where they can help your child grow.
Admission teams will use the information provided from The Character Skills Snapshot to complement ISEE or SSAT test scores, interviews, grades, letters of recommendation, and other information.
The Character Snapshot
Snapshot was designed by test experts and independent school admission professionals to measure eight skills they deemed important when considering applications: intellectual curiosity, teamwork, initiative, responsibility, resilience, self-control, open-mindedness, and social awareness.
If you need help in applying to private high schools and/or want help on preparing for the ISEE and/or SSAT tests, please feel free to contact us. We offer high school admission consulting and ISEE/SSAT test prep.
The Harker School is an elite Bay Area academic powerhouse with an impressive record not short of any accolades. Ranked the 6th best private school in California, Harker's high school, known as the Upper School, has cultivated some of the best and brightest young minds from the South Bay. But is the Harker School right for your high school student? Here are a few fast facts to consider:
World Record AP Scores
Harker students have scored some of the highest AP exam scores in the country. This past spring, the College Board reported that Vedaad Shakib, grade 11, and Sahana Srinivasan, grade 10, were two of just 67 students nationwide to earn a top score on the computer science exam. Likewise Janet Lee, grade 12, was one of 54 students to do the same in microeconomics, a particularly strong subject in the Harker curriculum. The San Jose Mercury News reported in 2013 that 11 out of 11 Harker AP Microeconomics students scored a perfect 5 on the exam, being the only school in the world to do so. Not bad at all.
Hard to Beat SAT Scores
In 2014, the Huffington Post reported that Harker students received the second highest SAT scores in the country with an average score of 2210. The most recent Harker average in 2016 brought the score to 2220 with section scores of 740 in all three Writing, Reading and Math sections. Considering the national average SAT score is 1700, it is noteworthy that Harker students are scoring at least 500 points higher than any given peer within the United States.
A Priceless Education
Academic excellence does not come cheap. Sending your student to Harker for high school will cost you a whopping $43,693 per year. When you graduate you a Harker student, your high school diploma is a piece of paper close to $175,000 in worth. If you can afford the pricetag, your student not only gains a world-class education but also becomes part of a network of some of the nation's brightest young intellectuals of the upcoming generation.
While your student will find typical extracurriculars like sports and speech-and-debate, a number of unique extracurricular opportunities await outside of class at Harker. Emphasizing access to a global education, Harker students can take part in a number of student exchanges with partners in Australia, Japan, India and Switzerland. Harker prepares its students to take advantage of all Silicon Valley has to offer through its Business and Entrepreneurship programming. In harnessing the passions of all its students, Harker also offers research opportunities for its upper school students in subjects covering the sciences, the humanities, and countless others. All in all, there truly is something for everyone to pursue after class hours end at Harker.
Where are they now?
Curious to see where Harker students are going? Well, you actually can! Data from the class of 2013, 2014 and 2015 reveals that not just a few but many students got into the most competitive universities in the country including Stanford (44), Harvard (16), MIT (31), Columbia (30), UPenn (28), Duke (40), and Cornell (61) to name a few. Some universities accepting the highest number of Harker students include Carnegie Mellon (86), Berkeley (173), USC (162), NYU (74), University of Washington (88), and UCSD (201). The stats don't lie: Harker students are really going places with their education.
Want to know more about getting your student into Harker? Contact the Hillview Prep team today to schedule a consultation for your student at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your ultimate goal...
Every year, thousands of students will apply for admission to the private school of their dreams. As the process begins, each student must decide whether to take the ISEE, SSAT, or both.
What are the differences? Similarities?
The difference between the ISEE and SSAT is similar to that of the SAT and ACT. Here are a few similarities to note:
Here are some differences to note:
Which one is right for me?
Even though you have the potential to score high on either test, the formats of the ISEE and SSAT do provide different test taking experiences.
The Hillview Prep Difference.
Whether you are a literal or abstract thinker, stronger or weaker at math, or have any other academic strengths or weaknesses, your overall goal is to be the most well rounded test taker possible. Are you a literal thinker? Let's learn to become more abstract and a better decision maker. Are you an abstract thinker? Let's improve your detail. Learning these skills will prove valuable not only for the ISEE and SSAT, but for any area of academia.
Learning the “tricks”… a common misconception
I recently came across a new SAT Prep company uses the differences between the new and old SAT to market its services. They outline how they’ve “discovered that the old ways of preparing for the SAT simply will not work for the new test”, and that students must choose a program that teaches “skills” for the New SAT.
“Tricks” and “Skills” for a test: Missing the big picture of standardized testing.
Tricks and skills for the New SAT are none other than keywords used to paint the SAT as a “specialized” test. The old SAT and new SAT are not specialized tests, they are STANDARDIZED tests, so why are these companies marketing specialized skills? Sounds like a marketing scheme, right?
What test prep is supposed to be.
The purpose of these standardized tests is to analyze a student’s comprehension speed, classification abilities, logic, decision making abilities, and mental endurance across various academic disciplines. When prepared correctly, a student should be able to perform well on any standardized test at his or her level.
More than just SAT Prep...
When asked about Hillview Prep’s SAT prep program, the first point that I emphasize is our mission to enable our students to take control of their academic abilities in order to become more efficient learners, thinkers, and test takers. What does that mean?
The Hillview Prep difference: Learn to take control of your academic abilities.
Every student has his or her unique academic abilities. Rather than learning “tricks” or “skills” for the new SAT, our students learn strategies and methods that complement their natural learning styles. These unique methods organically develop and nurture faster comprehension and more efficient problem solving across reading comprehension, math, and writing, inherently enabling them to take a proactive approach to the SAT, or any test.
By: Ken McCandless
Founder, Hillview Prep
Timing: 52 questions in 30 min.
Pacing for HSPT quantitative is a little faster than the math section, but also shorter. Other than comparisons, HSPT quantitative generally consists of single-step equations to 2-3 step comprehension problems.
Math vs. Quantitative...what's the difference?
Concepts on the quantitative section includes:
Unlike math, quantitative is more predictable, meaning we can have a more strategic approach in solving. We must understand that comparisons are going to take longer to solve and that number manipulation and series reasoning require pure strategy and logic. Most importantly, quantitative requires a high level of detail. Because of the fast pace and logic based nature of this section, we are more prone to committing minor errors.
64 Questions in 45 minutes. The longest section...
HSPT Math is the longest section. It requires that you maintain discipline while maintaining an efficient, detailed pace. Questions may range from one-step equations to multi-step word problems. Therefore, we must be strategic.
Taking Control of our Knowledge:
HSPT math tests us on concepts that we've started learning since grade school. How can we possibly remember everything? Our success on HSPT math relies on our ability to classify. Let's find the right strategies that will allow you to shape your knowledge and natural abilities into a fluid, efficient, and detailed math solving process. Our goal is to be versatile between the different problem types, understanding when our pacing must shift, and using the necessary steps of detail in order to reduce minor error.
The hardest part of any word problems is translating English into Math. A lot of students struggle with this issue. If you have good reading comprehension skills, you should have no problem. If you don't, we recommend you contact us to improve your reading comprehension skills.
Call us at (408) 868-9808 or email us at email@example.com
You will find word problems using fractions, decimals, percentages, and even algebra and geometry. How do you translate English into math?
When you read a problem, you can often translate it word for word from English statements into mathematical statements. At other times, you will have to look for a key word in the problem that provides hints at the mathematical operation to be performed. Below is an example.
Equals: key words--is, are, has
Hopefully, you see the pattern here. There are key words for ADDITION, SUBTRACTION, MULTIPLICATION and DIVISION. We will be happy to coach you how to use them effectively for your test. Just let us know.
Below are some concepts on the HSPT math section that you might find helpful.
HSPT math concepts:
Timing: 60 questions in 16 minutes. This section is quick…really quick.
My vocabulary isn’t very good…so what?!
Here are the 5 concepts being tested on the HSPT:
Why are they grouped differently? Synonyms and antonyms require us to understand word meanings while verbal classification, analogies, and logic require us to understand context. With context, we are able to implement specific strategies (such as keyword strategies etc.) in order to answer the problem in the most efficient and detailed way.
Let's not focus on memorizing endless vocabulary lists...let's strategize! Understanding vocabulary isn't about knowing the precise meaning of a word...it's about putting yourself in the best position to get the correct answer. Verbal skills is also a test of efficient and quick decision making. The best way to build your vocabulary is by using your current knowledge of words to create context for new words. Want to learn how? Contact us and we will be happy to help!
Image from Pixabay
Are you planning to apply to a Catholic high school next fall? High school admissions is becoming more and more competitive each year and it doesn't hurt to get a head start! Here are some pointers for beginning your journey...
1. In October, download application information and set up date to visit schools
2. Fill out the application, and sign up to take the HSPT®
3. If possible, take the test at the school of your first choice.
Sacred Heart Cathedral
Sacred Heart Atherton
Notre Dame Belmont
Joseph Notre Dame
De La Salle
Santa Catalina School
Notre Dame Salinas
Mission College Prep
St. Francis Central
How do I sign up to take the HSPT®?
The HSPT® is ordered and administered by individual schools or dioceses. Contact the school where you’d like to take the test for details regarding their registration process.
Can I take the HSPT® more than once?
STS recommends that the HSPT® should only be taken once by each student. Under extenuating circumstances a school may decide to allow a student to retest. However, this should be dealt with by individual schools or dioceses on a case by case basis.
Why study for SAT/ACT and HSPT/ISEE during the summer?
Summer is supposed to be fun! Why study at all? According to New York Times, the average summer learning loss in math and reading for American students is one month per year. This learning loss is cumulative, summer after summer. It has a big impact on students’ success, including high school completion, college education and job preparedness.
Yes, but ... I will be on vacation when you are offering classes.
We know! —And we have a solution. We have a cloud-based student/instructor network that offers instant sharing, integrated chat, and efficient note taking through a browser or mobile device. Our students have the ability to access their course from anywhere, interact with our instructors anytime, and receive instant support.
We work around your schedule, so you can have fun and learn at the same time. Learning does not have to be painful or time or location constrained. That is the Hillview philosophy and difference.
So, what are you offering in the summer?
We are offering HSPT/ISEE (private high school placement test) and SAT/ACT classes, including a workshop on high school and college admissions.
What is your class size?
We believe in small classes and individual attention. We limit our classes to 10 students. Students have however 24 x 7 access to material and instructors via our cloud based mobile software technology.
How do I know if the courses are valuable?
We guarantee that a student will see an improvement of at least 20%. We will continue to support the student beyond summer via our cloud based mobile system to ensure that he or she succeeds.
What is the schedule? Can I pick and choose?
Absolutely, we have a flexible schedule build around your schedule. Check out our summer 2016 program at http://www.hillviewprep.com/summer—hillview.html.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions and/or need more information.
Founder & CEO
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