Five Activities You Can Do This Summer to Boost Your College Application

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You’ve turned in your last assignments, taken your last final, and bid farewell to the classmates you’ve spent all semester with. This can only mean one thing: summer is here! While it’s the perfect time to unwind and catch up on all the episodes of the latest Netflix crave you missed, summer is also a great time to boost your college application. Here are five activities that will help you stand out from the crowd:

Virtual college visits

One of the best ways to express your interest in a prospective college, and boost your college application, is to visit! While many colleges have temporarily suspended on-campus visits, several institutions are offering virtual tours, including Arizona State University.

Virtual Experience ASU visits are live sessions with ASU enrollment and academic team members held through Zoom. This gives students an opportunity to learn and ask questions about the admission and enrollment process. School visits, even virtual ones, give you a leg up on the competition by knowing exactly what to expect come application season, so be sure to schedule a few this summer!

Learn a second language

We’ve already talked about the top three benefits of learning a second language, so what are you waiting for? Summer is the perfect time to dive deep into a new language, whether it’s Spanish, French, or even German! In fact, ASU Prep Digital is offering world language courses this summer, and Arizona students can enroll at no cost. There are also fun apps you can use, such as Duolingo.

Volunteer your time

Volunteering is an excellent way to give back to your community and show colleges the different causes you’re passionate about. As we continue to battle a global pandemic, there are plenty of ways to safely help the cause, including volunteering at food banks or offering to help make masks to donate. Volunteer Match is a great place to start and will show you available opportunities in your area.

Dive deep into your passion

Colleges like to see that applicants are well-rounded and passionate outside of the classroom, which means taking the time to develop new hobbies and skills. Whether it’s joining a sports team, learning how to code, or picking up an instrument, there are so many ways to explore your passions and show off your talents.

Prepare for the SAT/ACT 

It’s no secret that your  SAT and ACT test scores are vital to your college application, but did you know that scoring well also puts you in the running to earn scholarships? That’s why it’s never too soon to start prepping. There are plenty of resources at your disposal, including practice tests and study guides. And be sure to visit the official ACT and SAT websites for information on testing dates and registration.

 

Looking for more activities that will boost your college application this summer? Check out this post:

Top 10 Summer Activities to Boost Your College Resume

What is STEM?

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Do any of your students spend hours outside with a telescope on breezy nights, excitedly locating and pointing out constellations? Or devote a few hours every night to teaching themselves how to code, hoping to create their own website or app one day?

If so, they may have an interest and potential career path in STEM.

According to Live Science, STEM is a “curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.” While students can take separate classes in each of these four subjects, STEM education can also take an interdisciplinary approach and integrate all subjects to make it a cohesive learning experience.

Why is it so important?

Not only do students learn a handful of important skills in STEM courses, such as problem solving and critical thinking, but these jobs are also in high demand—and only becoming increasingly more important.

Last year, it was projected that 2.4 million STEM jobs would go unfulfilled. Meanwhile, from now until 2027, STEM jobs are expected to grow 13%. And if you’re wondering what jobs fall under the STEM umbrella, and how important they are, here are some examples:

  • Software Engineer
  • Pharmacy Technician 
  • Green Power Creator
  • Web Developer
  • Environmental Engineer

These jobs are crucial to sustaining and improving society as a whole, whether it’s finding ways to distribute information or discovering solutions to environmental issues.

How is STEM implemented in curriculum?

With the knowledge that STEM is significant to our success as a society, how do we make sure students are prepared to pursue a major and potential career in one of the many related fields? And more than that, how do we cultivate an interest in these subjects?

The first step is to make sure STEM is being integrated into your curriculum across the board. Chances are you offer science and math courses independently, but you can introduce key concepts and skills from STEM into classes you already have or partner with a virtual high school to provide more classes and expand your students’ opportunities.

But that’s not enough. The second and equally important step is to engage students. These subjects are not easy and there has been a declining interest in STEM over the last few years, making it harder to steer students in the direction of possibly pursuing a career in a related field. 

Schools like ASU Prep Digital use technology to keep students engaged and excited to learn, whether it’s launching a crew on a mission to Mars in their BioBeyond course, or taking virtual field trips. Giving students more virtual or hands-on activities enhances the learning experience and shows them how the concepts they’re mastering apply to real-world situations and careers.

STEM education is a vital part of every student’s education and introducing it in high school courses is a great way to pique their interest and encourage them to pursue it in future courses in college, and beyond.

 

Interested in learning more about how ASU Prep Digital incorporates STEM into their curriculum? Check out the career pathways students can explore within the STEM field and which courses are recommended for each major.

 

Three Important SAT Prep Tips for High School Students

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‘Tis the season for cooler weather, fall activities, and SAT prep! It may not be as fun as pumpkin patches or haunted attractions, but preparing for the SAT is important since your score is a crucial part of your college application. This may feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of great tips for preparing for the exam, and we’re going to share a few:

Enroll in a prep course.

It has been proven time and time again that taking an SAT prep course helps improve your score. Not only do these courses break down and help you familiarize yourself with the different exam sections, but they also provide strategies on how to physically take the test. 

ASU Prep Digital offers an ACT/SAT Test Preparation course, open to all students who have completed Algebra 2 and English 10. The course includes assignments using an online resource called Shmoop, a ‘one-stop learning shop’ offering homework help, learning guides, and, most importantly, test prep!

Work on your weaknesses.

This may seem like a given, but it’s easy to find yourself working on sections you’re comfortable with because it keeps your confidence up. However, working on your weak areas will benefit you in the long run by helping you improve your overall score.

How will you know what you should focus on? One of the best ways is to take a diagnostic test. Before you begin any lessons or activities in the ASU Prep Digital ACT/SAT Test Preparation course, the diagnostic exam will pinpoint your weakest areas so you can tackle them head-on.

Take as many practice exams as you can.

The phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ exists for a reason! While you don’t want to burn yourself out before test day arrives, you also want to be prepared and familiar with the format before sitting for the exam. 

Experts recommend you complete at least three timed practice exams before taking the SAT, reviewing your results afterward to pinpoint areas that require more studying. If possible, you should take at least one test on paper to get comfortable filling out a scantron and writing by hand for 3-4 hours.

Ready to sign up for the SAT this semester? Here are the remaining test dates and their registration deadlines:

  • November 2 
    • Late registration ends October 22
  • December 7
    • Registration ends November 2
    • Late registration ends November 26

Looking ahead to the spring semester? Enroll in our SAT and ACT test prep course here to be ready by test day, then pick the exam date that best fits your schedule.

  • March 14, 2020
    • Registration ends February 24, 2020
    • Late registration ends March 3, 2020
  • May 2, 2020
    • Registration ends April 3, 2020
    • Late registration ends April 21, 2020
  • June 6, 2020
    • Registration ends May 8, 2020
    • Late registration ends May 27, 2020

Want more tips on navigating the college application process? Subscribe to our newsletter on our website and check out a few more posts here:

ACT and SAT Test Prep Course at ASU Prep Digital

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You’re finally an upperclassman! You’re in a groove with your schoolwork, you have a solid group of friends, and you’re already dreaming about how you’ll decorate your dorm room. While it’s not time to start applying for college just yet, this year is important because you’ll be tackling a few beasts: the ACT and SAT exams.

Your test scores are an important part of your college application and a big factor in getting accepted. The good news is you can prepare so you feel more confident on exam day—and ASU Prep Digital is here to help with our ACT/SAT Test Preparation course.

Unlike other test prep options, our course is offered as an elective rather than an after school activity. This means you will earn high school credit for it and be ready for those exams in the spring. And with the ability to work anytime, from anywhere, you can work on assignments at your own pace (and take mini study breaks to snuggle your pet or grab a cup of coffee to bring you back to life).

Taught by a team of our highly qualified online teachers, this class gives you the tools you need to prepare for every part of the ACT and SAT.

The semester is divided into two parts so you can give your undivided attention to one exam at a time. To complete assignments, you will be using an online resource called Shmoop. As a ‘one-stop learning shop,’ Shmoop offers homework help, learning guides, and, most importantly, test prep!

Do you sometimes feel like your eyes are glazing over because you’ve been staring at the same page for 30 minutes? Shmoop seeks to change that dynamic by combining engaging content with a fun, sassy tone that actually makes test prep enjoyable. They use a range of tools, including exams, practice questions, and other activities, to prepare you over the course of the semester.

We know there are a lot of topics to cover and it can feel intimidating when you get started.

This is why Shmoop begins with a diagnostic test for both the ACT and SAT exams. The diagnostic tests will help you determine your strengths and weaknesses, making it easy to decide which areas to spend more time on.

Your ASU Prep Digital teachers will also provide you with a pace chart to use throughout the semester. These tools will ensure that you’re spending extra time on your weaker areas while still allowing time for areas you’re comfortable in.

These tests are important, but they don’t have to be scary. This is why we’ve created a course that provides you with the tools and support system you need to succeed. If you’re interested in signing up, make sure you’ve completed Algebra 2 and English 10 before enrolling. Look through our course catalog or schedule a call with an admissions advisor if you’d like additional information on the class.

Looking to add another class to your schedule or start preparing for next semester? Check out a few of our blog posts for inspiration:

 

How to Set Yourself Up For Success – Junior Year

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With the first two years of high school behind you, it’s time to embark on your junior year! This is arguably the most important year of your high school career as colleges will be paying attention to the grades you earn in your classes, the scores you achieve on the ACT and/or SAT, and the extracurricular activities you’re involved in. It may sound intimidating, but we’ve rounded up some of the best ways to set yourself up for success this year:

Prepare for and take the ACT/SAT

Your ACT/SAT scores are one of the most important factors when it comes to college applications, so you want to score well to ensure you have a better chance of getting accepted. You’ll register to take the exams during the spring semester of your junior year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start prepping now.

You can sign up to take the PSAT during the fall, which will give you a good indication of what areas you need to improve on. You can also enroll in a test prep course, which is designed to go over all the sections you’ll see on the tests. ASU Prep Digital offers this course and you can find it here.

Keep your grades up

It’s important to consistently have good grades each year, but the stakes get a little higher when you get to 11th grade. When you apply for colleges in the beginning of senior year, you’ll be sending your junior year transcript along with your application—and colleges can deny you entry if you don’t meet the minimum GPA requirement. If you’ve been earning good grades consistently, maintain that momentum through junior and senior year. If you haven’t been performing as well as you’d like to, it’s not too late! This is the year to make strides in your academic career.

Enroll in college courses

One way you can make your college applications stand out next year is by enrolling in college courses during your junior year. Universities like to see that you can handle a more rigorous course load, and earning college credit while still in high school helps you save time and money before you even begin your freshman year. At ASU Prep Digital, full-time Arizona high school students are eligible to enroll in two university courses per semester through ASU, for free. Check out our college course catalog here.

Start thinking about potential majors

You might not be applying to college for another year, but it’s never too early to start thinking about what you might want to study in college. Write down a few of your hobbies and look up majors that would allow you to further explore your interests. ASU Prep Digital students can explore different career pathways and enroll in college courses based on majors they’re interested in, such as engineering, business, or communication. Check out the different career pathways here.

 

Still looking for a school to enroll in? ASU Prep Digital is accepting applications until September 9 for students to begin a compressed semester starting on September 16. Schedule a call with an advisor and get started here.

 

ASU Prep Digital and Juab School District Bring Free Online Courses to All Utah Students

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This fall, Utah students gain an unprecedented opportunity for college-prep education thanks to a partnership between ASU Prep Digital and the Juab School District.

Starting August 19, all Utah students will be eligible to enroll in classes at ASU Prep Digital free of charge, giving them a head start on college and careers.

Juab is a forward-thinking Utah district known for pioneering competency-based education in Utah and for being an honored member of the League of Innovative Schools. ASU Prep Digital, part of Arizona State University’s prep school network, offers a unique opportunity for Utah students to gain access to resources at ASU, dubbed the “most innovative university” ahead of MIT and Stanford for four years running.

“Juab School District is thrilled to join forces with ASU Prep Digital,” Rick Robins, Juab Superintendent, said. “This innovative partnership will provide students across the state of Utah with new and exciting educational experiences!”

Retired Utah Sen. Howard Stephenson agrees. A legislative expert on digital learning and teaching, Stephenson sponsored the 2011 bill establishing Utah’s Statewide Online Education Program. “This is a dream come true,” Stephenson said. “The quality of courses offered by ASU Prep Digital is unsurpassed.”

In addition to excellent instructional design, ASU provides experienced online teachers and learning success coaches. “You have two skilled adults assuring student success,” he said. “This type of program is what I hoped for.”

Board chair for Parents for Choice in Education, Robyn Bagley, is an advocate for high quality digital learning as outlined by the Digital Learning Council. She welcomed the partnership saying that it will “dramatically strengthen the learning possibilities for all Utah students” and provide a new path for academic achievement and prep for college and careers.

Recent ASU Prep Digital graduate, Allie Reckinger, said that her experience gave her the confidence boost and credits she needed to graduate on time. “This is a great place to flourish,” she said. “You have amazing support and amazing helpers to be there for you. They’re there to see you succeed.” Reckinger is pursuing nursing studies at ASU this fall.

“We couldn’t be happier to bring our rigorous virtual education option to Utah students,” Julie Young, ASU Prep Digital CEO, said. “Utah students are gaining access to adaptive, personalized college-prep curricula that is embedded in the most innovative university in the nation. Their experience with ASU Prep Digital will leave them well prepared for college and an increasingly digital workforce.”

Updates on the partnership and information about registration for Utah students can be found here.

College Enrollment Rate for Arizona High School Students Remains Static

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The Arizona Board of Regents conducted a report examining college enrollment in 2010-11 and 2016-17. Based on the research, only 52.6% of Arizona high school students enrolled in college in 2017, which means the rate remained static for four years.

It’s important to address this issue now because an estimated 65% of jobs will require a post-secondary degree by 2020. Students who choose not to continue their education are limiting their opportunities to earn higher wages, better overall health, and a lower unemployment rate.

In order to remain competitive, Arizona is moving toward a skills-based economy and the majority of jobs will require more education after high school.

According to The Arizona Republic, “High schools need to do a better job preparing students for college, and community colleges and universities need to focus more on helping students finish their degrees.” One significant factor attributing to the decrease in college enrollment rate may be expensive tuition rates.

One way ASU Prep Digital is tackling this issue is by offering full-time Arizona high school students the opportunity to enroll in college classes for free through Arizona State University. Students will learn from real ASU professors and earn college credit that can be transferred to universities across the country.

We believe every student should have the opportunity to pursue a post-secondary education, and we will provide them with the tools and mentorship to make sure this becomes a reality.

Find out how you can enroll today and begin an accelerated path toward university.