Prep Talk Blog > August 2011

If you’re going into your senior year and plan to apply to college, you know you’re in store for some test taking your first semester. You need to be aware of the test dates and associated deadlines. Many experts suggest taking the test as early as possible in case you want to have time to take the test again to improve your score.

SAT Test Dates

October 1, 2011 – register by September 9
November 5, 2011 – register by October 7
December 3, 2011 – register by November 8

Get late registration and other details for the SAT here.

ACT Test Dates

September 10, 2011 – The registration deadline has passed, but late registration runs until August 26.
October 22, 2011 – register by September 16
December 10, 2011 – register by November 4

Get late registration and other details for the ACT here.

For more on the ACT, SAT and test prep tips, visit our College Entrance Testing resources.

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Sometimes where the college you attend is located is as important as the college itself. In addition to offering culture, sports, community and scenery, your college’s location can play a role in the internships and jobs available to you while you’re in school.

U.S. News & World Report released a list of the 10 Best College Towns. Here they are with links to the states so you can research the colleges that call these towns home:

Amherst, Massachusetts
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Athens, Georgia
Austin, Texas
Berkeley, California
Boston, Massachusetts
Boulder, Colorado
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Charlottesville, Virginia
Madison, Wisconsin

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Unigo Expert NetworkThis blog post is provided by the Unigo Expert Network, a group of top education experts from across the U.S. answering questions submitted by students and parents about college admissions and succeeding after high school. To have your questions answered visit

“How can parents help students with the college search and application process?”—Vanessa K., Boise, ID

  Parents’ Do's and Don’ts
Jeannie Borin, Founder & President, College Connections  

The college admissions process should be somewhat of a passage from childhood to adulthood. Parents should assist with some organization, give encouragement, make suggestions and support their child. Reward their accomplishments but allow them to take ownership of their college process. Parents can plan college visits, call financial aid offices to learn of opportunities and be a sounding board for their child’s concerns. Listen and read their college essays (if they let you) and give constructive advice. If a college admissions office needs to be called, the student should do it. The college process helps prepare students for the independence they will have when they are in college.
  Schedule an Appointment with Your Kid Each Week
John Carpenter, Founder,

Sometimes kids actually get stressed out talking so much about college, and the best advice I know is not to talk about college over dinner.  A better idea is for parents and kids to establish a weekly meeting time during senior year, say every Tuesday night for 30 minutes, where you all agree to talk to each other about what's going on with the college search/application process and keep track of deadlines and to-do lists.  Make that the ONLY time you bring up college during the week; it prevents parents from inadvertently nagging, and it gives kids a regular opportunity to share progress and express concerns.

Parents Need to Be in the Know, But Not on the Do
Danny Reynolds, Director of College Counseling, Palmer Trinity School

While it is important to keep parents informed and aware of the process, it is more important to allow students to take ownership and make them understand this is an important step in their educational journies.  Parents should have input and offer advice, but should always be careful not to take over or become so involved that it becomes more about them than about the student.  It is, after all, a learning process for both.  The more we empower our students to make certain decisions and to feel that they are somewhat in charge of this process, the more rewarding and meaningful the outcome.

Get the full story from 35 more experts -- including the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Seton Hall and more -- at To send your question to our experts, visit

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PayScale recently released the best college majors for undergrads by salary. Here are the top 10 and their mid-career median salaries:

#1 Petroleum Engineering: $155,000
#2 Chemical Engineering: $109,000
#3 Electrical Engineering: $103,000
#4 Materials Science & Engineering: $103,000
#5 Aerospace Engineering: $102,000
#6 Computer Engineering: $101,000
#7 Physics: $101,000
#8 Applied Mathematics: $98,600
#9 Computer Science: $97,900
#10 Nuclear Engineering: $97,800

And the Worst Paying College Majors?

Here are the 5 worst paying majors, according to the study, and their mid-career median salaries:

#1 Child and Family Studies: $40,500
#2 Elementary Education: $44,000
#3 Social Work: $44,300
#4 Culinary Arts: $46,800
#5 Special Education: $47,800

Search colleges by major.

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