ADMISSIONS 101 ACT & SAT COLLEGE APPLICATIONS DEGREE OPTIONS EXPLORE PLAN APPLY

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1 ADMISSIONS 101 ACT & SAT COLLEGE APPLICATIONS DEGREE OPTIONS EXPLORE PLAN APPLY

2 CFWV.com Your gateway to West Virginia s colleges and universities. The College Foundation of West Virginia, online at provides FREE resources to help students and families plan, apply, and pay for education and training beyond high school. You can explore West Virginia s colleges and universities and even use the site to apply directly to most of the state s two- and four-year schools! Applying through can save you time because you can apply to several schools at once without having to re-enter your basic information (such as your name and address). Plus, the site helps you stay organized by automatically saving your applications to your portfolio.

3 THE BASICS What s in a name? Understanding the word college... College is important there s no doubt about it. At least 60 percent of all new jobs require a college education, 1 and West Virginia needs hundreds of thousands more college graduates to build our economy. 2 But what does that mean for our students? Most workforce and education leaders use the word college to include any type of postsecondary education or education and training beyond high school. That means students have many options when it comes to attending college. But it also means a high school diploma is no longer enough. On average, four-year college graduates earn more than double the salary of individuals who stopped their education after high school. 3 And students who complete some form of postsecondary education are less likely to be unemployed than those with just a high school diploma. 3 Every West Virginia student should plan to complete some type of education beyond high school. The good news is West Virginia s colleges and universities offer a wide variety of education options to fit the unique needs of all of our state s students. Options include: Certificate or Licensing Programs: Certificate and licensing programs are specialized plans of study that are usually intended for students planning to pursue a trade. Most of these programs can be completed in a matter of months. West Virginia s public community and technical colleges and career and technical centers offer several certificate and licensing programs throughout the year. Additionally, some employers and/or trade groups offer such programs. Associate s Degrees: Associate s degrees are typically awarded to students who complete a two-year period of study at a college. These degrees are often required for technical fields, but students can also pursue two-year degrees in business or other professional careers. Students can earn an associate s degree at any of West Virginia s ten public community and technical colleges and associate s degree students are often eligible for many financial aid programs, including the PROMISE Scholarship and the West Virginia Higher Education Grant. Bachelor s Degrees: Bachelor s degrees (or baccalaureate degrees) are typically awarded to students who complete a four-year period of study at a college or university. Students pursuing a bachelor s degree take classes in their career field and in general education subject areas. Types of colleges Public Colleges and Universities: Two-year or four-year colleges or universities that are regulated and funded in part by the State; Independent Non-Profit Colleges and Universities: Non-Profit organizations that do not receive direct funds from the State; and Proprietary Colleges and Universities: For-Profit institutions. 1 According to data from the National Organization of State Higher Education Executive Officers. 2 According to data from Georgetown University s Center on Education and the Workforce. 3 According to data from the College Board s 2010 Education Pays report. Need additional information or help? Visit 3

4 THE RIGHT FIT Finding the college, university, or program that s right for you There are more than 30 colleges and universities in West Virginia and thousands more across the United States. With so many choices, deciding on a college can be overwhelming. However, there are some easy ways to narrow your options and find the school that s right for you. Know what s NOT important... Going to college with your high school BFF: Going to school with your friends might sound like fun, but what s right for them might not be the best fit for you. Before you decide to follow your classmates (or boyfriend or girlfriend) to college, take a step back and imagine how you d feel if your friends suddenly transferred to another school. Would you still like the school? Would you want to stay? If the answer is no, you should look at other options. Choosing a school based on its sports record: Everyone likes to be part of a winning team, but unless you re a student-athlete, choosing a school based on the college s athletic record is a bad idea. The score of the game probably won t matter much ten years from now, but your experience in the classroom, the connections you make with your fellow students and professors, and the academic and career opportunities your college offers will impact your life forever. And know what REALLY matters... Finding the right location: Your school s location can have a big impact on your college experience and your level of comfort. It s natural to feel a little scared about leaving home. But if you re terrified, it might be a good idea to choose a college near your family. That way, you can visit home on the weekends, or perhaps even commute to school. On the other hand, if you re looking for new places and new faces, college also is the perfect opportunity to try a new town in a secure setting. Be sure to visit the campus before you enroll, so you can check out the personality and vibe of your new part-time home. Choosing a degree-program you ll love: You ve heard it before do what you love and the rest will follow. That s especially true when it comes to choosing a degree program. Think about the type of career you want to pursue, and then look for programs and majors that will help you get there. Talk to the professors and current and former students to get as much information as you can about the sort of experiences and opportunities the program provides. Ask what makes this program different from those at other schools, and check the college s website to see what kind of classes you will likely take. Finding the best bargain for you: Many families experience sticker shock when they look at the cost of tuition, fees, and other college expenses. But most students in West Virginia receive financial aid, and families often pay much less than sticker price. Before you decide, make sure you look carefully at the unique financial aid package and costs associated with each school you re considering. You may qualify for more aid at one school than another, and scholarships and expenses can vary from college to college. Talk to a financial aid counselor from each school to get a better idea of what it will cost you. 4 Need additional information or help? Visit

5 APPLYING TO COLLEGE College applications: putting together the pieces Completing the application form is often just the first step in the college application process. Here are some other common requirements: Submitting a transcript: Most colleges require students to submit an official transcript listing their grades, high school courses, and any college courses taken as part of dual-enrollment or other classes. 1. Ask your high school counselor to send an official copy of your high school transcript to each college to which you re applying; and 2. Complete a transcript request form for any colleges you ve attended through dual-enrollment, earlycollege, or previous college classes. This will allow these colleges to release your grades and course information to the colleges to which you re applying. Some colleges charge a small fee for this. You can usually fill out the form online by visiting the college s registrar page on their website. Paying an application fee: Not all colleges charge a fee to review your application, but some do. If the school to which you re applying charges a fee, be sure to work with your parents or guardians to arrange payment. Usually, colleges will direct you to pay online or to mail a check or money order to the college s admissions office. Students who are unable to pay the fee often can request a fee waiver. Writing an essay: Some colleges require you to submit an essay in order to determine your abilities and interests. Make sure your essay is well-written and showcases your best characteristics, such as your work ethic, personality, and desire to succeed. Submitting a resumé: Some colleges may ask you to submit a resumé, or list your activities and achievements from your time in high school. You can get help creating your resumé by using the free Resumé Builder tool available at Providing test scores: Most four-year colleges will require you to take an entrance exam. The most common exams for four-year institutions are the ACT and SAT. Your scores must be sent directly from the ACT or SAT office to the school to which you re applying. When you take these tests, the test forms will ask you to indicate where you d like your scores sent. If you ve taken any Advanced Placement (AP) exams for college credit, you may need to send those scores as well. Speak with your high school counselor if you are unsure of this process. Students who are attending a two-year college are often required to take the Accuplacer. Accuplacer results typically are not used to determine whether or not you are accepted to the college, but instead are used to determine what level of classes you will take your first semester. QUICK TIP If you re having trouble coming up with the money to pay a college application fee, speak with your high school counselor or college admissions counselor about a fee waiver. Colleges provide several waivers each year to assist students in need. Need additional information or help? Visit 5

6 COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMS About the tests If you apply to a four-year college, the institution will probably require you to take a college entrance exam to help determine whether or not you are ready for college-level work. The most common entrance exams are the ACT and the SAT. Most West Virginia colleges and universities will accept scores from either the ACT or the SAT, but you should check with the institution you plan to attend to be sure. Your scores on these tests can help decide what colleges you can attend, the amount of financial aid you can receive, and even which classes you can take your freshman year of college. So yeah, they re kind of a big deal. It s important to know a little about each test, so you are prepared to do your best. ACT: The ACT comes in four parts or sections: English, mathematics, reading, and science. There is also an optional writing component. Students taking the standard version of the test receive five scores, one for each required section and an overall composite score. SAT: The SAT comes in three parts: reading, mathematics, and writing. Scores range from 200 to 800 for each section. Adding your scores on the reading and math sections will allow you to determine your combined score. Both the ACT and the SAT require you to register to take the tests, and students must pay a testing fee. If you are unable to pay the fee, ask your school counselor about applying for a fee waiver. The earlier you register, the more money you ll save because you ll avoid late fees. To register, view current testing fees, or find test dates and locations, visit for the ACT or for the SAT. Both tests also have rules about what you can bring to the testing site (including the type of calculator you can use), so read through these rules on the ACT and SAT websites. Preparing for the ACT and SAT Study: It seems obvious, but don t underestimate the importance of studying. There are plenty of guides, classes, and online tutorials to help you study and the state of West Virginia even offers FREE online ACT and SAT test prep courses. Log on or create an account at then click on the college planning tab, then click on the test prep link on the bar across the top. You can take practice exams for both tests, and build your vocabulary for the reading sections of the exams. Plus, the CFWV tutorials will show you how to solve problems and make smart guesses so you ll score higher even if you don t know all the answers. Retest: Maybe you took the test and your score was great. Or maybe...well, maybe you didn t score as high as you d hoped. Either way, you can take these exams more than once to try to get a better score. According to ACT research, 55 percent of students increase their composite score the next time they take the exam. And guess what most colleges and scholarship programs will use your highest score! Relax: If you have test anxiety, having someone tell you to calm down may make you want to snap your pencil. But it s true the calmer you are, the less flustered you will be while taking the test. And that can make a big difference in your scores. An easy way to reduce the pressure is to NOT wait until the last minute to take the tests. Taking the exams as early as sophomore or junior year will give you a feel for the structure of the tests, and you ll know you have time to take them again if necessary. 6 Need additional information or help? Visit

7 Understanding your results: what s a good score? College entrance exams are just like any other standardized test they are only one indicator of a student s ability. However, colleges and universities rely on these scores to help determine whether or not a student is ready for college-level work. So how do you know if your score is good enough, and what does your score tell you about your performance compared to other students? Here are a few guides to help you put your test scores in perspective, and to help you decide whether or not you should take the tests again. Quick Reference Guide to Understanding ACT or SAT Scores ACT SAT Possible Range of Scores: 1-36 Possible Range of Scores: (each section) Average Composite Score for WV Test-Takers (2012): 20.6 Average Scores for WV Senior Test-Takers (2012): 516 (reading) 502 (math) Minimum Scores Required for PROMISE Scholarship Eligibility (2012): 22 (composite) and 20 (in each subject) Minimum Scores Required for PROMISE Scholarship Eligibility (2012): 1020 (combined) and 490 (reading) and 480 (math) Minimum Score Required for Admission to WV s 2-Year Public Colleges (2011): not required Minimum Score Required for Admission to WV s 2-Year Public Colleges (2011): not required Minimum Composite Score Required for Admission to WV s 4-Year Public Colleges (2012): 18-19* Minimum Combined Score Required for Admission to WV s 4-Year Public Colleges (2012): * * Minimum scores for admission are dependent on each student s grade point average (GPA) and the college or university he or she plans to attend. In some cases, the minimum test score requirement may be waived based on a student s GPA. These requirements are subject to change. Talk with your counselor or an admissions representative to learn more. West Virginia s colleges and universities generally use the ACT when determining admissions standards. However, students can also take the SAT and their scores will be converted to ACT equivalents using approved conversion charts. The SAT scores indicated in the four-year admissions section of the chart above have been converted using the conversion chart available at When colleges and scholarship programs use your test scores to determine your eligibility, they often set minimum scores for each section AND define a minimum composite. An example: Assume you are trying to qualify for West Virginia s PROMISE Scholarship. To qualify, you must earn a score of 20 or higher on each section of the ACT, AND your composite score must be higher than 22. That means simply scoring a 20 on each section will not allow you to qualify you have to score higher in one or more subject areas in order to pull up your composite score to 22. Most schools and programs will allow you to submit your scores multiple times to try to get a better score. Many will use the highest set of scores you submit, so you usually don t have to worry if you score lower the second time you take it. However, you typically cannot combine scores from different tests. QUICK TIP Save money by taking advantage of the FREE test preparation tools provided by the State of West Virginia. Students can practice for the GED, ACT, SAT, Accuplacer, and GRE (the test you take for graduate school) by visiting Need additional information or help? Visit 7

8 WEST VIRGINIA S COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES Two-year public schools 1. Blue Ridge Community and Technical College 2. Bridgemont Community and Technical College 3. Eastern WV Community and Technical College 4. Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College 5. Mountwest Community and Technical College 6. New River Community and Technical College 7. Pierpont Community and Technical College 8. Southern WV Community and Technical College 9. West Virginia Northern Community College 10. West Virginia University at Parkersburg QUICK TIP Visit West Virginia s free one-stop college exploration and application shop! Create an account on the site to quickly and easily submit and keep track of your college applications. You can apply to almost all of WV s WV s schools directly from CFWV! 25 Four-year public schools 11. Bluefield State College 12. Concord University 13. Fairmont State University 14. Glenville State College 15. Marshall University 16. Shepherd University 17. West Liberty University 18. West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine 19. West Virginia State University 20. Potomac State College of WVU 21. West Virginia University 22. West Virginia University Institute of Technology Independent non-profit schools 23. Alderson Broaddus University 24. Appalachian Bible College 25. Bethany College 26. Davis and Elkins College 27. Ohio Valley University 28. University of Charleston 29. West Virginia Wesleyan College 30. Wheeling Jesuit University Wheeling Parkersburg 14 Morgantown Buckhannon Martinsburg Huntington 19 Charleston Beckley 18 Use the number codes to find the location for each of WV s colleges & universities. 12 Princeton 11 8 Need additional information or help? Visit

9 KNOW THE LINGO: ADMISSIONS TERMS Adult Learner A student who has returned to college after an extended period outside of the education system. Adult learners are sometimes referred to as non-traditional students; however, the term is misleading, because adult learners make up a significant portion of the college student population and are therefore an expected and integral part of the campus culture. Associate s Degree The degree typically given for completing a two year undergraduate program. Audit An evaluation of a student s prior coursework conducted to determine whether or not the student can count this work toward completion of his or her degree. Transfer students or adults who previously attended college but did not finish may want to request an audit. Speak with an admissions counselor to learn more about these options. Note: audit can also mean attending a college class as a guest in order to learn more about the course or a subject area. Students can often audit a class for free, but do not receive credit for classes they audit. Baccalaureate (Bachelor s) Degree The degree typically given for completing a four year undergraduate program; also called a bachelor s degree. Bursar A staff member at the college who is in charge of student bills. The bursar s office keeps track of any money a student owes the college and works with the financial aid office to apply students aid to their account balances. The bursar then settles the final balance by either sending the student a bill for any remaining costs not paid for by financial aid, or sending the student a reimbursement check if the student has received more aid than needed to cover their bill. College A formal institution offering education and training beyond high school; can include two year schools, four year schools, technical institutes, or trade schools. Certificate Program A specialized, usually short term, program of study during which a student completes training and receives a certificate or certification. Many trade and technical schools offer certificate programs. Class Rank A measure of a student s academic performance compared to all other students in the same grade at the same school. Co-Curricular Activities Activities a student participates in beyond those required as part of the regular school day; examples include: volunteer programs, sports, school clubs, faith based groups, and part time jobs. Many colleges and scholarship programs consider a student s co curricular activities in evaluating students for their program. Co-Curricular is also referred to as extra-curricular. Credit Hour Units of value given to classes; often based on the number of hours a student is expected to attend class each week. Some classes may be worth more credit hours than others. Students who take a certain number of hours are considered to be full time students, while those who take fewer hours are considered part time. Twelve credit hours is typically the minimum required for full time status for undergraduate students in West Virginia. However, a student usually must take at least 15 credit hours per semester in order to graduate on time. Deferred Admission The practice of some colleges or programs of allowing an accepted student to postpone enrollment, usually for one year, without having to reapply. Need additional information or help? Visit 9

10 Early Admission The practice of admitting (or accepting) students of superior ability or skill into college programs before they have completed high school as a gesture of confidence that the student can attend the institution should he or she choose to do so. Early admission does NOT limit the student s ability to receive state or federal financial aid, and students are not locked in if they have been accepted early. Enrollment The process a student must complete AFTER he or she has been admitted or accepted in order to be considered an official student at the college. To enroll, students typically must complete all forms required by the college he or she plans to attend, pay tuition and fees, and sign up for college classes. Entrance Exams Tests students take to measure their ability to complete college level work. Typically, students take the ACT or SAT, but other tests, such as ACCUPLACER, are common. Students scores on these exams are sometimes used to determine whether or not a student is accepted to a college, and what classes they are required or able to take their freshman year. For example: a student who scores below a minimum required score may still be accepted to a college or university, but he or she may be required to take developmental courses to catch up during the first year of college. Financial Aid Money provided to a student to help pay for college. A financial aid package is the combination of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study stipends or funds a student receives to help offset the cost of attending college. The most important step in applying for financial aid is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Graduate School A degree program for students who have already completed a bachelor s degree and wish to earn a higher-level degree. Not all four year colleges and universities offer graduate programs. Honors Programs or Colleges Students who have excelled academically in high school may be eligible to enroll in an honors program or honors college in college. Honors programs offer students the chance to take more difficult classes, and some students are required to participate in honors programs in order to receive college scholarships. Many honors programs offer additional support for honors students, such as personalized tutoring or priority registration for college classes. Major Subject or discipline in which a student chooses to specialize. Many colleges ask a student to choose a major on the college s application; however, students can sometimes choose undecided if they are unsure. A student can change his or her major at any point in college; however, doing so late in the game may cause a student to delay graduating. Students also can choose more than one major. Master s Degree An advanced degree earned after completion of a bachelor s degree, usually focusing specifically on a particular career or research field. Minor A secondary subject or program of study in which a student chooses to specialize. Students typically spend less time taking classes in their minor field of study than in their major. Open Admissions Typically means that the admissions process is NOT competitive. In other words, students who meet the minimum requirements outlined by the institution will likely be accepted to the school; sometimes also referred to as open enrollment. Orientation Hosted by a college to help new students understand the enrollment and college going process. During orientation, students often learn how to register for classes; how to use the school library, cafeteria, fitness center, and other school services; how to pay tuition fees; and how to take care of other important details during their time in college. Parents are usually encouraged to attend student orientation sessions with their student, but parent attendance is typically not required. Postsecondary Education and training beyond high school. 10 Need additional information or help? Visit

11 Priority Deadline A date set by each college allowing students who apply to the school before the priority deadline to be given first consideration for acceptance. Students can apply after the priority deadline, but may not be as likely to be accepted. Priority deadlines are NOT the same as application deadlines, which are the last dates to submit applications and be considered. Private College or University A non-profit institution that is not funded directly by government support. Proprietary College or University A for-profit institution. Public College or University An institution that is partially funded by the state or other government support. Registrar A staff member at the college who is in charge of registration for college classes. The registrar s office manages class scheduling, publishes the list of available classes and class times, and assists students in signing up for classes. Registration The process of choosing and signing up for college classes. Most colleges have a defined registration process, which determines when students can register (typically seniors are first, followed by juniors, etc.). Class registration is on a first come, first serve basis, so students typically try to register as soon as possible in order to secure the classes they want at the times they prefer. Selective Admissions Typically means that the admissions process is competitive. In other words, students who apply to institutions with a selective admissions process are compared to other applicants, and only those judged to be the best fit or most qualified (based on criteria set by the school) are accepted to the institution. Selective admissions processes often require students to write essays, describe after school and community activities in which they have participated, and list awards received. Institutions that have selective admissions processes often require higher academic achievement (like higher grades and test scores). Semester A way of dividing the school year into two main sessions or terms. Traditionally, colleges divide the school year into fall and spring semesters. Typically, college courses do not last more than one semester. Many students also take courses during the summer, but class schedules and term lengths during summer tend to vary much more and are usually not considered to be part of the traditional academic year. Technical Institute A postsecondary institution that emphasizes career and technical skills. Transcript The official record of high school and college courses and grades; often required as part of a college application. Transfer Students who have completed college coursework at another institution can often transfer their course credits to the new institution to which they plan to apply. Students who started college but stopped short of earning a degree, or students who completed college classes while in high school should be sure to speak with an admissions counselor about transferring their credits. Trimester A way of dividing the school year into three main sessions or terms. Undergraduate A college student who has not yet earned an associate s or bachelor s degree. QUICK TIP Does it seem like everyone is speaking a different language when it comes to college planning and financial aid? Check out the college and education terms dictionary available under the College Planning tab on Need additional information or help? Visit 11

12 I APPLIED... NOW WHAT? Ok, so you ve applied to college... but what happens now? It may take a couple of months for the college or university to get back to you. In the meantime, follow these next steps: Financial aid: Sometime after January 1, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If possible, complete the FAFSA before March 1, because that s the deadline for many state scholarship programs. Explore the cash for college resources available on to learn about all of the state and federal financial aid opportunities available to you. Visit college and university websites to see what scholarship programs are offered. Enrolling and going: Complete your housing forms and applications (if you plan to live on campus). Work with your family to develop a budget, including living expenses and transportation. Look for (and read) information from your college. They will send you letters and s that will tell you how to register, how to enroll in your classes, and the types of financial aid you can receive. Don t panic: If you re feeling nervous, lost, or confused... just ask for help! Your high school counselors and college admissions and financial aid counselors are there for you. They want you to succeed, so don t be shy about asking them for assistance. About the College Foundation of West Virginia: The College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV) offers free college- and career-planning resources, including a free website to help students and families plan, apply, and pay for education and training beyond high school. CFWV is coordinated by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission in conjunction with the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education, the West Virginia Department of Education, and the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts.

ADMISSIONS 101 ACT & SAT COLLEGE APPLICATIONS DEGREE OPTIONS EXPLORE PLAN APPLY ADMISSIONS 101 CFWV.COM

ADMISSIONS 101 ACT & SAT COLLEGE APPLICATIONS DEGREE OPTIONS EXPLORE PLAN APPLY ADMISSIONS 101 CFWV.COM ADMISSIONS 101 ACT & SAT COLLEGE APPLICATIONS DEGREE OPTIONS EXPLORE PLAN APPLY 1 CFWV.COM Your gateway to West Virginia s colleges and universities The College Foundation of West Virginia, online at cfwv.com,

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