College Preparation & Planning

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Tour the college or university of your choice - without leaving home!

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Am I taking the right classes?

Do you know if you're on the right path to college or career? Find out with a few helpful tips.

What can I do to get prepared and ahead for college and career?

Whether you are in middle school or high school, there is so much you can do to get ahead and be prepared.

Don't Leave it Up to Chance

Don't miss the opportunity to learn everything you know about paying for college and applying for the FAFSA.

Does a degree equal higher pay?

Career exploration is vital when making decisions regarding your future. Now is the time to look at what you love to do, what you're passionate about, and how you can make a living. There's alot to think about!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

ACT and SAT Testing Dates 2013-14

Click on the link below for a complete listing of testing dates for both the ACT and SAT.

Or, visit the SAT or ACT websites:

NACAC College Fair on February 13, 2014

Spring Branch High Schools will be taking students to the NACAC College Fair on February 13, 2014. Thus far Westchester Academy, Memorial High School, Northbrook High School and Spring Woods High School have made plans to take students during the 9:30-12:30 time slot to provide students an opportunity to talk with representatives from over 200 institutions of higher education not only from Houston but also from across the state, nation and the world!

What: NACAC College Fair
When: February 13, 2014
Where: Reliant Center Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.


Students can register today at Representatives will scan their bar codes and obtain their information instead of delaying them by filling out information cards. Registration is not required to attend the fair.

Surprising Benefits of Higher Education

A college degree is associated with many benefits, and by now you may think you've heard about them all. Significantly higher lifetime earnings? Sure. Lower unemployment levels? Check. Comparatively higher career satisfaction? Got it, awesome. But what about decreased likelihood of developing obesity or diabetes? What about a productive and secure old age? What about a more secure marriage? Here are three benefits that researchers have found to positively correlate with earning a college degree.

Longer life and better health
These things are connected in complicated ways. We can't always show clear cause and effect. Nevertheless, this video from Virginia Commonwealth University does a good job of summarizing the health benefits associated with higher education. Steven H. Woolf, M.D., director of the VCU Center on Society and Health, noted, "I don't think most Americans know that children with less education are destined to live sicker and die sooner."

Further, this College Board report points out that college graduates are less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise, less likely to develop diabetes, and more likely to work in jobs that provide health insurance benefits.

Reduced risk of divorce
Wait, really? A college degree is related to a decreased chance of divorce? Research suggests that it is. A Science Daily summary states that "a college degree has a protective effect against divorce." Not only that, CNN reported in 2010 that college graduates are more likely to marry in the first place. The article goes on to note that being married is associated with various benefits in quality of life, such as higher income.

Higher standard of living in old age
While there are a number of reports focusing on the starting salaries of recent college graduates, a recent study looked at the lasting effect higher education has on older Americans. A U.S. News article on this research notes that older workers who hold a bachelor's degree earn almost three times more than those with no college experience.

The report goes on to explain that since Social Security and pension benefits are based on earnings, college-educated workers (who tend to earn at higher levels) not only have higher wages while working, but will typically have higher income in retirement. Further, since their occupations often involve less physical labor, it may be more attractive to them to keep working longer, further improving their retirement finances.

Thinking About Your Future

An important consideration when choosing a major is the possibility of gaining lucrative employment following graduation. In a perfect world, the best college major would simply be the one that interests you the most, period. Naturally, your level of interest in the field should be weighed more heavily than any other, as this is something of which you intend to make a career.

If you're really passionate about a certain field that won't necessarily have you retiring early (social workers, for example, make an average of $39,400 per year), don't let a potential salary sway you.
Helping others or entering a career you love is priceless, and many of the careers below will require some study beyond undergraduate school for you to advance in those fields. But if you have a particular knack for math or science and aren't necessarily sure where those skills would translate best, consider the kinds of careers that could offer a generous return for your investment.

Listed below are the 10 highest-paying college majors as of 2013. The list comes courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), which conducts surveys of college graduates’ job offers. Data for the NACE survey are reported by employers, represent accepted starting salaries (not salary offers), and are produced through a compilation of data derived from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and a master set of data developed by Job Search Intelligence.
  • Petroleum Engineering ($93,500 average starting salary)
  • Computer Engineering ($71,700 average starting salary)
  • Chemical Engineering ($67,600 average starting salary)
  • Computer Science ($64,800 average starting salary)
  • Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering ($64,400 average starting salary)
  • Mechanical Engineering ($64,000 average starting salary)
  • Electrical/Electronics and Communications Engineering ($63,400 average starting salary)
  • Management Information Systems/Business ($63,100 average starting salary)
  • Engineering Technology ($62,200 average starting salary)
  • Finance ($57,400 average starting salary)

Get Your PSAT Scores Now...Plan Your College Visit Today!

The latest PSAT scores are arriving soon--here is the real scoop on what they do and do not mean for your college admissions search.

PSAT scores will arrive for anxious high school students this week. These scores mark the time when sophomores and juniors can begin to target colleges that are in range. Realistically, there are only 5 months left for juniors to visit colleges before campuses empty out in the first week of May.

In the fall, early action dates begin a few weeks after school opens, and many colleges are filling 30-70% of their seats in that round. So, starting your visits in junior year is critical. If your school is slow about handing out scores, you may want to go online and get them. Then, how do you interpret your PSAT scores and use them to launch your college search? Read more...

Important Information on SAT & ACT for Student Athletes

All college-bound student athletes must achieve the required score on the ACT or SAT before enrolling full time at an NCAA Division I or II college or university. Students must do this whether they are a citizen of the United States or of an international country.

All ACT and/or SAT scores must be reported to the NCAA Eligibility Center directly from the testing agency. The NCAA Eligibility Center does not accept any scores that appear on a transcript.
When you for the ACT or SAT, it is important for you to use the score recipient code "9999" to have your scores reported directly to the NCAA Eligibility Center. Making a request for the scores to be sent at a later date can require additional fees.

Below is a list of the upcoming ACT and SAT exam dates:

February 8, 2014
April 12, 2014
June 14, 2014

January 25, 2014
March 8, 2014
May 3, 2014
June 7, 2014