New Schools Added To The Common Application - What Does It Mean For You?

Like Heinz Vinegar, the Common App will now be more powerful than you ever could have imagined.

Like Heinz Vinegar, the Common App will now be more powerful than you ever could have imagined.

The Common App will add at least twenty-five schools this coming year, enticing students to apply to even more schools than they might have in years past. As we've said before, there's very little downside to applying to a large number of schools, and whatever hangups you might have (cost, inconvenience) should be outweighed by the long-term benefits of landing a spot at a reach school (successful friends, higher income potential).

So there are more schools on the Common App. Problem solved, right? Not quite. One of the big misconceptions about the Common App is that adding schools to your list is a click-and-you're-done situation if they're all on the Common App. But the large majority of these 25 new schools will ask for supplemental essays, so having these schools on your list might mean fewer applications, but won't necessarily cut down the number of essays you're required to write. That's where CEO comes in. We can streamline that process instantly, automatically, and inexpensively.

What's more, starting next week and going throughout the fall, CEO will be updating its database of essay requirements to keep them as current as possible. And with our new email notification system, we'll be able to alert you as soon as the requirements are made available so you can start early and save yourself the stress.

The new additions to the Common App might mean fewer applications, but with CEO, it'll mean fewer apps and fewer essays. If you're a rising senior, check out the discounts we have available. They won't be there after July first!

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Congratulations Rising Seniors!

Class o' '32

We really did not do as much for the class of 1932 as we could have.

Congrats to those of you wrapping up your junior year this month! And to those of you with a little bit more to go, hang on, you're almost there.

Finishing your junior year is all about getting the hardest classwork behind you. The most important exams and papers - even the SATs - pass quickly, leaving what looks like a cakewalk: senior year.

The last big push of work comes this fall with your college applications. We've posted before about the need to diversify your selection of schools, and to help you do it, we've set up a whopping 20% discount for all juniors who sign up for CEO's Essay RoadMap before July 1.

Head on over to our juniors page and have at it!

And in the meantime, enjoy prom, your summer vacation, and whatever summer plans you've got. We'll be updating our requirements throughout the summer as they become available and answering all your questions about how best to handle the application process through the end of the year. Stay tuned.

Knewton Blogs: Evil SAT Trick Of The Week

Sarlin vs. Evil. Bet Sarlin.

Sarlin vs. Evil. Bet Sarlin.

Our post this week comes from Alex Sarlin, Verbal Lead at Knewton, where he helps students with their SAT prep.

If you’ve begun your SAT prep, you’ve probably already realized that the test-makers aren’t exactly mild-mannered or kind—quite the opposite. Luckily, we at Knewton have their number. Today we’ll be revealing one of their signature tricks.

First, a quick aside. Have you ever heard this old word-game? It goes something like this:

You: Let’s play a game. I’m bet I can get you to say the word “black.”

Friend (smirking): No way.

You:  OK. Name the colors in a traffic light.

Friend (thinking, suspicious): Red… yellow… green.

You: How about the colors in the American flag?

Friend: Uhh… red… white… blue.

You: Gotcha! Oh man, that was so easy!

Friend (surprised): What?!

You: I made you say blue. You totally weren’t even paying attention.

Friend: What?! You said you were going to make me say ‘black!’

You: NOW I gotcha.

So very evil. And there’s a moral, too: Never let your guard down before the game is over.

The SAT writers use their own version of this trick on the math section of the test. They give you a rather complex problem, and then, just when you’re at the very last leg of your problem-solving, they’ll offer you an answer choice that refers to the next-to-last step. After all that work, many test-takers cling to this number like a life preserver, forgetting to do that last, important step and completely wasting all the time they just spent.

Let’s look at some examples:

8. There are 2 different ways to arrange the 2 letters A and B in a row from left to right. How many more different ways are there to arrange the 5 letters A, B, C, D and E in a row from left to right?

A.      60

B.      100

C.      118

D.      120

E.       625

Ah, permutations and combinations: everybody’s favorite subject. Dig into your math knowledge: you need to put the number of possibilities into “slots.” There are 5 possibilities for the first slot (A, B, C, D or E), 4 for the second (because one letter is gone), 3 for the next slot, and so on. You end up with 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 120 different combinations. Choice D. All set, right?

Wrong. The question actually asked how many more different ways are there to arrange 5 letters than there are to arrange 2 letters. Because there are 2 ways to arrange two letters, there are 118 more ways to arrange five letters. Choice C is correct—not evil Choice D.

Now try this problem, which has not one, but three evil answers lying in wait:

4. Hector is both the 4th tallest and the 4th shortest person in his family. If everyone in his family is a different height, how many people are in Hector’s family?

A.      6

B.      7

C.      8

D.      9

E.       10

Some test-takers will think, OK—four taller, four shorter, eight people, choice C, done. Those people obviously aren’t paying attention. For one thing, they forgot about Hector himself!

Others think, Ah ha! Four people taller and four shorter, plus Hector. There are nine people in Hector’s family: Choice D! That might sound like it makes sense—but it’s still wrong.

In reality, if Hector is the fourth tallest, then actually there are only three people taller than he is. He is the fourth tallest. The same goes the other way. There are three people shorter than he is. And, then, we have to add Hector. There are 7 people in Hector’s family. Choice B is correct.

As you can see, the SAT isn’t out to make friends. Watch out for answer choices that seem too obvious or simple to be correct—they often are. These are particularly evil examples, but in fact, the SAT uses this trick, in some form or another, on many math questions. Beware, and think twice before choosing the “obvious” answer!

Check out the Knewton blog for more Evil SAT Tricks!

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