Throw your standardized testing plan out the window. COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives, and it has also shed some light on the importance of standardized testing in college admissions. While most universities went “test optional” this year, meaning students were not required to submit SAT or ACT scores with their college applications, the majority of admitted students at highly selective colleges still submitted test scores: 63% of admitted students at Amherst submitted test scores, as did 58% at Boston University and 66% at Davidson. How can you determine whether to submit test scores with your application?
Tip #1: Understand what “test-optional” means
Test optional means exactly what you think: test scores are optional. If you are not happy with your SAT or ACT scores, you do not need to send them. Instead, colleges will focus on the other aspects of your application: grades, curriculum, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and essays. However, it’s important that these other factors paint a compelling picture of your preparedness and fit with the college. If you’re vying for admission to some of the most competitive colleges, your application and supporting materials need to be tremendously strong.
Tip #2: Take the SAT or ACT
Even if standardized tests aren’t your thing, it’s still wise to take the SAT or ACT. This gives you the power to either opt in or out of test-optional admissions. Remember, only 30-40% of admitted students to some of the most selective colleges were successful without test scores! Having those SAT or ACT scores and being strategic about where to send them should be part of your college application plan. But you can’t submit standardized test scores you don’t have!
Sidenote: Unsure whether to take the SAT or ACT — check out this AC College Consulting presentation (College Admission Testing 101) that provides insight on the type of student who does best on the SAT or ACT.
Tip #3: Don’t submit test scores if they fall below the middle-50% range
Every admissions counselor with whom I spoke gave this advice: “your students should not send test scores unless they fall into our middle-50% ranges.” The middle-50% ranges are published test score ranges that give prospective students data on admitted students for a particular college. 25% of students admitted to the college score above the range, and 25% fall below; 50% of admitted students’ scores fall into that range. For example, the University of Rochester’s middle-50% range for the ACT is 30-34. If your ACT score is 30 or higher, you should send your score to the University of Rochester.
Tip #4: Be strategic
As you build your college application list, make sure you have the right mix of colleges: 2-3 “reach” schools, 3-4 “likelies”, and 2-3 “sure things” based on your academic profile and the colleges’ published middle-50% ranges. You’ll probably go test-optional for your reach schools (unless your scores fall into/above their middle-50% ranges), while you will submit SAT or ACT scores for likelies and sure things. Have a plan and be strategic when it comes to your college applications.
Interested in chatting with a former Associate Dean of Admission and Director of Selection?
With degrees from Duke, Miami, and Rice, as well as 15 years of selective college admissions experience, please consider Emily Nevinger a resource as you approach the college admissions process. Emily can set up virtual appointments to discuss what is important about your college search and offer strategic, personalized advice about your application process. Contact Emily for details.
Thursday, May 13th @ 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Drop-In Office Hours via Zoom
Navigating the college admissions process can be daunting, especially if this is your first time, or even if it has been a few years. Join Emily Nevinger, Allendale Columbia School’s College Advising Consultant, for a virtual, informal chat about AC’s student-centered approach to the college search process. Emily will answer your questions about timelines, college applications, financial aid, and more. Zoom Registration Link
Tuesday, June 8th @ 6:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Planning Ahead: Standardized Tests, Financial Aid, and Scholarships
Join Emily Nevinger, AC’s College Advising Consultant, in this interactive workshop ideal for all students and families nearing the college application process. Emily will offer suggestions on testing strategies that work best for your student, the ideal time to take the SAT or ACT, and whether “test optional” schools should be on your radar. Additionally, Emily will provide tips for navigating the financial aid and scholarship processes, a topic all families should consider as they build their college lists. Attendees will leave with an understanding of how to best position themselves for success based on their particular needs. Zoom Registration Link
3-Day Workshop: August 18, 19, 20 @ 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Common Application Bootcamp
Get a headstart on your college application process and finish your Common Application (including the essay!) before senior year. Your instructors — Emily Nevinger and Kristin Cocquyt — have over 30 years of admissions experience with highly selective colleges and will work with you to prepare a comprehensive and compelling Common Application that can be used to apply to nearly 1,000 colleges and universities. Registration through AC Summer Programs
Posted in: AC College Consulting, Events & Workshops
Congratulations to AC’s nine Upper School students whose photography work is being exhibited in a professional gallery setting: Jacqueline ’22, Sophie ’22, Ava ’22, Jonathan ’22, Jennifer ’22, Yuxiang (David) ’22, Fenshuo (Adam) ’23, Mara ’21, and McKenna ’21. These students are included in Image City Photography Gallery’s eleventh annual Through the Student Lens show, which introduces work by local high school photographers to the public. AC is one of thirteen high schools participating in this year’s exhibition. All of the work has been professionally printed and is for sale.
Through the Student Lens 2021 runs from March 23 – April 18th, and there are two ways to view and enjoy this show–in person and online! Image City Gallery is located on University Avenue in the Neighborhood of the Arts, near the Memorial Art Gallery. Click here for hours, directions, and information. You can view the entire student show online here.
“Look. How lovely it is, this thing we have done – together.”
— Toni Morrison
On March 10th, AC students and faculty participated in an African American Read-In. Though this was AC’s first year participating in the event, it was originally established by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English in 1990. The NCTE describes the event as “groundbreaking effort to encourage communities to read together, centering on African American books and authors.” It has reached more than 6 million participants.
At our event, we invited readers and audience members to attend in person or via Zoom. Each reader chose a short text to share. Authors ranged from Sojourner Truth to Lucille Clifton, Ralph Ellison to Jalil Muntaqim. Whatever text was chosen, a highlight was hearing the readers explain why they chose a particular text. Some of these explanations were personal. Readers described first encountering a text before they really understood it and only later coming to fully appreciate it, or they spoke of finding inspiration and solace in what they chose to read. Others spoke of how their texts connected with historical or current events, whether the large-scale rethinking of colonialism that began in the middle of the 20th century or the current fight against systemic racism. A couple of the readers had even personally met the authors they read.
Like all literature — poetry, fiction, memoir, etc. — these texts may be “important” on paper, but they only truly live when we read them and make them meaningful to our own lives. Texts by Black authors historically have been marginalized. When we read them together in a shared event like this, we show how central they are, both in an American context and globally. Thank you to all who came and shared in this event.
View a recording of the program
PACK (Parents of Allendale Columbia Kids) recently hosted Allison Zukoski, co-owner of Laughing Gull Chocolates, to treat our AC community to a night of all things chocolate!
Normally throughout the school year, PACK hosts a handful of events to give faculty, staff, and parents opportunities to casually socialize and make connections. Since most in-person events this year have been canceled, and conventional travel is extra challenging, Allendale Columbia teamed up with Laughing Gull Chocolates to virtually travel the globe and learn the ins and outs of the history of chocolate, as well as a chance to sample eight different varieties.
We were delighted to find chocolate samples from Tanzania, Ecuador, and Madagascar, each having their own unique flavor. Allison instructed us to use all of our five senses when trying each sample to get the most of the experience. Attendees asked questions about the way the chocolates were crafted and Allison shared her wealth of knowledge on the different methods chocolates are grown and produced.
It was also very interesting to hear different opinions about the various flavors we tried throughout the evening. I heard words like “sweet”, “buttery”, “creamy”, “bitter”, “fruity”, and “grainy”, just to name a few. Some participants were surprised that they enjoyed a certain chocolate that they didn’t think they would. For example, one of the samples was a cranberry orange bark, and many people were surprised to enjoy the blending flavors. My personal favorite was the white peppermint bark that had a sweet and smooth base but a nice blend of a minty punch. From Taza super dark chocolate, to the Qantu goat milk chocolate, there was something for everyone’s palates. Overall it was an evening of smiles, laughter and chocolate! What could be better than that?
PACK is always looking for fun events to bring our AC community together.
If you have an idea for a fun, virtual, event, please feel free to reach out to PACK President, Marie Timpani, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie BarrettAs AC’s Welcome Desk Associate, Julie collaborates with several AC departments and ensures that everyone who visits or calls campus feels welcome. Prior to joining AC, she worked for Mattiacio Orthodontics, Rochester Wedding Magazine, and Cardiac Life. She received her Associate’s Degree in Sports Tourism and Marketing from Finger Lakes Community College and is in the process of earning a Certificate in Business and Entrepreneurial Studies from Monroe Community College.
Grab a cup of coffee, relax in your favorite chair and relive happy memories from holidays past as you watch the recording of this year’s AC Holiday Breakfast!
0:00 – Wind Ensemble
0:30 – Welcome (Shannon Baudo)
2:33 – Lifer Speech (Cynara Nelson)
3:33 – Kindergarten Intro (Linden Oliveri)
4:32 – Kindergarten “Up on the Housetop”
6:54 – Lifer Speech (Victoria Edwards)
8:26 – Lower School Intro (Leighanna DeWitt)
8:58 – Lower School “3 Rounds for Peace”
11:53 – Lifer Speech (Alicia Strader)
12:53 – Lifer Speech (Gregory Castellano)
13:25 – Middle School Intro (Calla Schwartz)
14:02 – Middle School Chorus “Winter Wonderland”
16:36 – Lifer Speech (Brynn Peters)
18:41 – Storytime with Mrs. Baudo “The Wish Tree”
23:21 – Lifer Speech (McKenna Shearing)
24:23 – Wind Ensemble Intro (Zoe Crego)
24:47 – Wind Ensemble “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”
27:54 – Lifer Speech (Marlin Bassett)
29:57 – Upper School Chorus Intro (Mary Cotter)
30:20 – Upper School Chorus “Sleigh Ride”
33:19 – Lifer Speech (Amaja Elliot)
34:12- Lifer Speech (Jack Wheeler)
34:27 – Dona Nobis Pacem
37:28 – Closing Remarks (Shannon Baudo)
38:46 – Credits
Please join us by spreading cheer and making a gift to AC today.
One of AC’s most beloved traditions is Heritage Dinner, an event typically hosted on campus potluck-style, to celebrate and share the unique cultural backgrounds of our AC families. With this year’s global pandemic and the health and safety of our community at the forefront of our minds, we knew changes would need to be made in order to safely host the event this year. Pulling this off virtually would be a challenge, yes; but it would not be impossible.
Embracing AC’s core values to the fullest — “the importance of connections”, “mastering strategies for learning”, “minds that are curious and creative”, and “developing a resilient spirit that dares to take risks” — we decided to use this real world challenge as a learning opportunity for our students.
Enter AC Production and Design students Ella Prokupets, Mansa Brown-Tonge, Carly Freeman, Jocelyn Wynn, independent study student Chloe Fowler, and global diploma student Brynn Peters. Together, with the guidance of faculty advisor Amy Oliveri, these six students began to analyze the keystone components of the event and the logistics necessary to host it virtually.
Among the goals and objectives identified by the group were:
- The desire to make the event as inclusive as possible
- The desire to provide various levels of engagement to promote the widest accessibility
- The ability to virtually bring people together to enjoy culturally diverse food
- The ability to incorporate local and international partners
To implement these goals, the students set to work connecting with our partners in Senegal, Dubai, Mexico, China, and locally, they reached out to Headwater Food Hub to coordinate the sale of Meal Boxes to our community. These boxes, they hoped, would provide a sense of community with everyone prepping and enjoying the same meal. Driven by the desire to support and shop local during this challenging time, the students also arranged to have extra Meal Boxes donated to our School #17 Summer LEAP families. Additionally, the students curated a list of ethnically diverse restaurants to encourage participants to support local small businesses and try new cuisines from around the world. During this time, they also began building their own website, creating social media content and messaging to help promote the event, and gathering family-favorite recipes and music from our AC community.
When the day of the event finally came, we had just shy of 100 people in attendance! Through a combination of pre recorded presentations and live discussions, we were successfully (and safely!) able to come together, yet again, to break bread and broaden our understanding of the world and those in our community. This event is always such a wonderful reminder of the richness and diversity of our AC community.
We are proud to be Rochester’s most diverse school, and we are committed to continuing to build a community that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion for all people.
00:00 – Welcome
02:01 – Intro & Land Acknowledgement
05:20 – History of Heritage Dinner
08:06 – Student Speaker #1 (Lizzie)
13:14 – Student Speaker #2 (Ziqi)
15:58 – Student Speaker #3 (Victoria)
20:03 – Faculty Speaker (Mr. Camara)
36:25 – Breakout Rooms
50:17 – Closing Remarks
50:33 – Solidarity Circle Intro
51:41 – Solidarity Circle Video
53:31 – Closing Remarks
*This year’s Heritage Dinner program was organized and produced by students in the Production & Design Class. Thank you to Mansa Brown-Tonge for hosting the evening’s event and Ms. Oliveri for her oversight and guidance.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Entrepreneurship, Events & Workshops, Global Engagement, Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School
Each year, we typically conclude our Holiday Breakfast with a group sing of Dona Nobis Pacem, and while we cannot physically be together this year, we are hoping that we can include some of our families in a special rendition of this song! If you would like to participate, please submit a video recording of you and/or your family. You can access the instructions and materials you’ll need for creating the recording below.
The deadline for video submissions is Friday, December 11th!
Posted in: Alumni News, Art, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Pre-Primary School, Upper School
Please join us at our Thanks & Giving Celebration by making an online donation to support impactful, in-person learning at AC. Challenge donations will match what we raise between 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 19th and 7:00 p.m. Friday, November 20th, up to a total of $25,000!
Posted in: Alumni News, Events & Workshops, Highlights