The pathway to college follows a specific rhythm. In your sophomore year of high school you should start using the web to become familiar with the varieties of colleges in the United States.
During your sophomore year or in the summer before your junior year, you should take a course in Study Skills for the American Classroom. This will pave the way for an SAT prep course in the fall of your junior year of high school. You should plan to take the SAT exam more than once. American students tend to take it two or three times. Colleges look at your highest scores in each section, and you get to choose which tests you want to submit. If you take an SAT prep course at the International Institute in the summer, you should try the October test; if you take it in the fall, you should try the December test; if you take a course in the winter or spring you should take the test in January or March, right after you finish the course. The same pattern should be followed if your target school requires TOEFL. Taking the test will allow you to identify those areas in which you need more practice. You then can take the June test or even the October test in your senior year to achieve the best possible scores.
Kinds of Admission: Each College and University determines the kind of admission offered to students:
Early Decision: When colleges offer early decision it is binding; that is, if you are admitted you cannot apply to any other school. The advantage is that you know around Dec. 15th whether you have been accepted and applying early can be an advantage. Most early Decision applications are due Nov. 1st or Nov. 15h.
Early Action: Although you apply early: usually Nov. 1st or Nov. 15th, and although you will be informed of the school’s decision around Dec. 15th, you do not have to commit to that school until May 1st.
Regular Decision: These applications are generally due around Jan. 1st. There is no one date that colleges let candidates know the decision results, but it is usually around April 1st.
Colleges have “call back” days when admitted students can come and visit, but this would be hard to do from Spain!
Good luck in your college search, and do consult with Jean Choi, (email@example.com) our expert at the Instituto Internacional, Miguel Angel, 8 with any questions you may have.
Prof. Margery Resnick, MIT