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About Kate Dalby

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So far Kate Dalby has created 40 blog entries.

Just Be Yourself

“Just be yourself” – arguably the most cliché, most useless, and most frustrating piece of “advice” handed out on a day-to-day basis. But if it’s so useless, why do we hear it constantly when setting out for first dates, readying for interviews, or sitting down to start that all-important college essay?

A majority of college applicants know that the amount of time a reviewer spends poring over college applications is infinitesimal, so why bother? Regardless of the impressive awards you’ve spent your high school career amassing, to the person reviewing your file, you’re nothing more than a slip of paper – that is, until you differentiate yourself.

But is there such a thing as going too far – sure, every great joke can be ruined with poor delivery, but can every terrible joke be redeemed with a hilarious rendition? Are there experiences that are just so flat out boring and unimportant that, even with the proper storytelling, fall flat in a college essay setting?

My freshman year of high school, an admissions officer came to our school to do a presentation on how to write a college essay. After some basic tips and what to include, he ended the presentation by reading a few examples of his favorite essays. While I can’t recall the exact topics of the first two essays he read, they were wonderfully written and both told compelling stories. The third one, which left a permanent imprint on my mind, was about a three-year-old boy on a quest for his lost shoe. Despite the ridiculous pretense, I was hooked. By the time the lector was finished, the child-like and colorful layers of the essay had fallen away to reveal a surprisingly deep message. Not only did the essay demonstrate the applicant’s eagerness to explore and problem-solve, but its novelty and presentation kept me entertained. It was simultaneously the most fun and most meaningful essay I had heard in my life.

The college essay is the chance to show to the college admissions officer not only that you’ve done the preparation for college, but also how it has impacted you as a person and how you’ve grown and benefitted from having that experience. The college essay is an opportunity to tell that story from a personal lens. For example, loads of people have been skydiving, but not everyone conquered their fear of heights and have used that experience to challenge their fears, break new ground, and etc… (you get the idea). Even though people may experience similar circumstances, the way that they approach the situation and what they take away makes them stand out – and that’s exactly what the college officers want to see.

2018-08-01T19:05:10+00:00

ACT/SAT Reveal Concordance Table

SAT vs. ACT – The classic battle between the two giants of standardized testing has long since been a concern for any student making their foray into preparation for college. After years of conflict, the SAT redesigned its test in 2015 to make it more similar to the ACT’s model. Despite this, ACT did not allow convergence from the new SAT due to the lack of data.

College Board developed and posted a concordance when it first released its latest SAT, but ACT objected to the unilateral effort because ACT believed there was insufficient data to draw conclusions. After two plus years of data on the new SAT, the ACT organization has decided that it has been long enough, and an ACT/SAT concordance table has been published on the ACT website. You can find the link here. This means that there is now an official ACT/SAT way to compare the two standardized tests. The table below shows a sample of the data in the convergence tables.

Note: For the sake of brevity, only ACT Scores from 26-36 will be shown. For information such as other scores and subject-specific convergence tables, please view the full document here.

SAT Total Range ACT Composite
1600-1570 36
1570-1530 35
1520-1490 34
1480-1450 33
1440-1420 32
1410-1390 31
1380-1360 30
1350-1330 29
1320-1300 28
1290-1260 27
1250-1230 26
In effect, this joint effort by the ACT and the SAT reduces the stress placed on the student by making them choose between the two tests. To all the folks at the ACT and the SAT, well done.
2018-06-20T19:07:57+00:00

Geometry Crash Course for Early August

Is your lack of geometry hurting you on high school admissions tests?

Take our four-day crash course to preview/review essential elements for tests such as the SSAT, TJ admissions, HSPT, and ISEE.
Homework sets included to reinforce class instruction.
Class is 7-8:30pm Monday through Thursday, August 6-9, 2018.
Cost: $290
Instructor: Caroline Hesse

To see the course description or to register click here.

For ongoing practice throughout the summer, come to our reading, science, and math skill building drill classes.

2018-08-24T14:33:16+00:00

Finally!! A Summer ACT in July

For years, students and parents complained that there were no ACT or SAT test dates for the summer.  For years, our summers were spent chillin’ at the beach.  Over the last few years, however, there has been a drastic change.  More and more students have been getting a jump start on prep during the summer between sophomore and junior year. Last year, the College Board responded to the pent up demand for summer testing dates by offering an SAT in late August  (at the same time removing the late January test date from its calendar).

Not to be outdone, the people behind the ACT are rolling out a mid-July 2018 test.  For the first time,  students who prefer the ACT can take the test on Saturday, July 14.

Here is where Inspiring Test Prep comes in.  We have scheduled a three-week course to prep for that July test date.  The class meets Monday-Thursday, the weeks starting June 18, June 25, (we skip the week of July 4), and July 9.

Take advantage of our special introductory pricing: sign up now and pay later and still get $200 discount of course price. Regular price: $1,195.

Your price: $995.

Delay no longer.  Take action today and click the link to sign up.

Call Kate at 703-203-5796 to schedule the diagnostic test.

2018-10-16T18:49:04+00:00