College Planning Questions

Why do I need a Milestone college advisor if I have a guidance counselor at school?

Milestone advisors do not replace high school guidance counselors; we work cooperatively to augment the services that in-school counselors provide. However, guidance counselors have significant responsibilities and are tasked with helping many students. According to an article published in the New York Times, the average counselor to student ratio in public high schools across the country is approximately 500:1.

Milestone advisors are able to get to know students and develop an individualized college plan that meets the needs of the student and the family as a whole. In addition, Milestone advisors visit college campuses, attend conferences and workshops, and participate in ongoing continuing education to provide the highest level of expertise and service, enabling us to help our students meet their unique academic and personal goals.

When should my student begin meeting with a Milestone college advisor?

Some students begin meeting with Milestone advisors as early as eighth grade to begin the planning process. Other students meet with an advisor at different points during high school, depending on their unique needs. We offer a range of services which include course selection, resume building, summer activity recommendations, standardized test preparation, college essay writing support, application assistance, and financial aid/scholarship guidance and career counseling. As such, students from eighth grade to post-college graduation can benefit from meeting with Milestone advisors to address individual needs.

What if I do not need all of the college counseling services? Do you offer flexible packages and pricing?

Our flexible pricing model is part of what makes Milestone unique.  We realize that every student has different needs.  For those families who want the full array of college advising services, we do offer packages, but many of our families choose to work on an hourly basis, selecting some (or all) of our services without having to commit to large up-front costs.

I see that the founder of Milestone, Jen McKenzie, is an associate member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). Is this important?

Membership in IECA not only provides extensive opportunities for continuing counselor education, it also requires its members to a maintain the highest standard of professional practices and ethics. The IECA philosophy, which focuses on helping students find their “best fit” college, aligns closely with the Milestone mission.

ACT/SAT Prep Questions

Should my child take the SAT, the ACT, or both?

Since most colleges do not prefer one test over the other, we recommend that students take the test with which they are most comfortable. Using a student’s previous standardized testing history coupled with diagnostic testing administered in our office, our advisors can recommend the appropriate test(s).

When should my child start SAT/ACT prep?

Testing timelines can vary, but generally, most students test sometime during their junior year of high school. Factors such as a student’s math skill level, PSAT score, athletic commitments and extracurricular involvements can all influence the time table. It is best to meet with a college advisor early in the second semester of your student’s sophomore year in order to develop a plan that will allow for adequate preparation and maximize your student’s individual potential.

How do I register for the SAT and ACT?

Register for the ACT: http://www.act.org/ Register for the SAT: https://www.collegeboard.org/

What are SAT Subject Tests and does my child need to take them?

SAT Subject Tests are one-hour content specific exams offered in the following subjects: Literature, Math, Science, History and Foreign Language.  Subject tests are required and/or recommended at only a relatively small number of colleges and universities throughout the country, so not every student will need to take SAT Subject Tests.  Our advisors can provide guidance as to which Subject Tests should be taken by students as early as the spring of a student’s sophomore year.

Does my student have to take the writing portion of the SAT and/or ACT since it’s optional?

The writing portion of the test is optional when it comes to taking the test, but it is not optional for every college.  Students should research the admission requirements for all schools to which they are interested in applying or speak to a Milestone advisor.  If a student is unsure where he/she will be applying, then we recommend taking the writing portion of the test just in case.

If a college requires the writing portion of the SAT and/or ACT, how is that score used?

Individual college policies vary widely regarding how the writing scores for the ACT and SAT are used, but, in general, colleges will use the writing score as a factor in the admissions decision, as part of the criteria for class placement, and/or as a standard of comparison for the college essay.

How will Milestone’s test prep help my child?

Through a combination of either individual or small group tutoring and ongoing timed practice testing, Milestone tutors help students become familiar with the tests, develop necessary content knowledge, and learn important standardized testing strategies to maximize test performance.  Milestone tutors and advisors also work with students to build confidence, manage test anxiety (when necessary) and set realistic goals, all of which are designed to help students find success on the ACT/SAT and ultimately, in a college classroom.

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