Archive for the ‘college prep counseling’ Category

Cultivate a STEM Mindset in Your Child

December 9, 2015

In our increasingly complex world, in order for the United States to continue as a global leader, it’s more crucial than ever to ensure that our children have the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence and make sense of information. One of the best things we can do in this regard is to encourage the study of science, technology, engineering, and math—the subjects collectively known as STEM.

The skills that are learned through a STEM education are increasingly necessary in our tech-savvy world. They can also pave the way to some of the most in-demand jobs our economy has to offer.

In addition to encouraging your kids to pursue STEM subjects in school, there are some things you can do as a parent to engage your child in STEM learning outside of the classroom.

Encourage curiosity—If your child is always asking “why”’ and “how,” take the time to explain the things that you understand. If they ask a question you can’t answer, look up the answer together to show them how to research a subject.

Seek out educational programming—There is a multitude of excellent educational programming available to us today. So, the next time you and your child are looking for something to watch together, don’t gloss over the educational or “documentaries” sections of TV services like Netflix; cable channels such as the History Channel, Discovery Channel and National Geographic; and Public Television’s NOVA.

There are also plenty of kids’ and primetime television shows that have more of a STEM theme than you may expect. Sid the Science Kid is a great option to spur a science interest in early learners. For older students, shows like CSI or Numb3rs, can spark an interest in forensic science and math.

museum3Visit a science museum—There’s no better way for your child to get firsthand experience with science than by taking them to a science museum. Science museum exhibits expose children to complex and fascinating science and technology concepts in creative and accessible ways. Hands-on museums even give kids the chance to run their own experiments and engage interactively. Metro Detroit offers excellent science museums, including The Michigan Science Center and Cranbrook Institute of Science.

Look for STEM-based extracurricular activities—There are any number of activities and events today for children who are interested in STEM-related subjects. Encourage your child to engage in science fairs and engineering design competitions, for example. Competitions such as the FIRST Robotics and Junior FIRST Lego® League programs have grown very popular in recent years. They challenge teams of students to solve real-world science and technology problems by building robots with the mentorship of an industry professional.

Pave the way for a STEM career—Talk to your child about different options for a career in STEM. If you’re in a STEM field yourself, bring your child to work with you one day. Ask friends or family members in a STEM field to talk to your child about what their jobs are like, or even set up a job shadow if your child has a strong interest. Check out Pathways to Science (www.pathwaystoscience.org) which maintains lists of STEM internship programs for K–8 and high school students.

If your child needs a little help with STEM-related subjects, Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping students improve their study, reading, math and cognitive skills. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

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Optiminds Can Help with the NCAA Eligibility Process

April 16, 2015

NCAA2If your son or daughter is planning to play sports at a Division I or Division II college, they will need to register with the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Eligibility Center.

Optiminds can help you begin the process through our Athletic College Prep Counseling Division, headed by Aaron Fields. A former Division I baseball player, Aaron is responsible for the NCAA Eligibility Center portion of Optiminds’ College Counseling Division.

The NCAA Eligibility Center, formerly known as the NCAA Clearinghouse, is the body that determines a student-athlete’s eligibility to play a sport at the NCAA level—based on factors including academic record, SAT or ACT scores and amateur status.

Through parent/student workshops and individualized sessions, Aaron can assist you with the recruiting process, course planning and meeting NCAA and NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) eligibility requirements.

Playing college sports can be a major opportunity for a student, with benefits ranging from completion of a college degree to access to scholarships, travel and experiences that prepare a student for life in the real world.

Did you know, for example, that student-athletes as a group have a higher graduation rate than their peers in the general student body; and that NCAA schools have awarded more than $17 billion in athletics scholarships in the past 10 years?

Help your student take advantage of the NCAA experience. Call Aaron at (313) 590-4788, or email him at afields@optimindsct.com to get more information about Optiminds’ athletic college prep counseling program. Be sure to visit our website at: optimindsct.com.

Start the New Year with a Gift of Cognitive Training

December 23, 2014

Optigift2Do you have a family member who is struggling at school or who could use a little help sharpening their memory skills? Why not gift them an Optiminds cognitive training program to give them a little boost in the new year?

At Optiminds, you’ll find individualized tutoring and brain training programs tailored to people of all ages—from children to high school and college students to baby boomers. We can customize a program to address specific issues ranging from ADHD and Alzheimer’s to math, memory, reading and home schooling.

Optiminds also offers ACT and SAT testing assistance. And we’ve recently added College Counseling and Athletic College Prep counseling to our offerings.
You might also want to give the gift of summer camp with our Optiminds Cognitive Camp, designed to help students keep their brains in shape over the summer.

Optiminds offers customized tutoring programs for students, including students who are home schooled. We have earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages in the metro Detroit area. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Educated Guessing and the ACT and SAT

November 9, 2014

takingACT1If your child will be taking the ACT or SAT, they will of course want to be as well-prepared as possible to answers as many questions correctly as they can.

But there are always those instances where you don’t know the correct answer for certain. Rather than wasting time trying to figure out an answer, your student needs to know that on both the ACT and the SAT it is more advantageous to make an “educated guess” than to leave a question unanswered.

On the ACT, there is no penalty for wrong answers on the ACT. If you answer a question wrong, it does not subtract from your overall score; you simply don’t get credit for the question.

On the SAT, you lose ¼ of a point of raw score for wrong answers, and earn one full point for each right answer.

Educated, or strategic, guessing means choosing the best possible answer based on all the information available. It’s the best way to find the right answer when you’re really not sure which choice is right.

Here are some tips for educated, or strategic, guessing:

  • To formulate an educated guess, you must have good information. So read test questions carefully.
  • Rule out the obvious bad choices.
  • Pay attention to details. Look for a tip-off within a test question.
  • Look for patterns. Use your experience in similar situations to predict the outcome of another.
  • Consider the simplest, most obvious solution as the best. Don’t overanalyze or consider information that isn’t relevant to the matter.
  • Use common knowledge and what you know. Practical wisdom goes a long way in making an educated guess.

Optiminds offers customized tutoring programs for students, including students who are home schooled. We have earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Optiminds Offers ACT Test Timer Watches

October 9, 2014

TestTimerWhen it comes to taking the ACTs, your student can use all the help he or she can get.

Optiminds has been helping students prepare for ACTs and SATs, and now we are offering a product that helps test takers manage one of the most difficult and stressful issues about taking these tests—the timing.

The ACT Pacing Watch by Testing Timers is a digital watch and timer with preset times and specific markers for the English, math, reading, science, and writing test sections of the ACT college admissions and placement test.

The timer displays both total time used and total time remaining for each specific section, and has blinking markers that move around the periphery of the timer face to provide a graphical representation of where the student should be in that section.

All you have to do is pick a section and start the timer. The watch shows the total time for each section, and a countdown with the time remaining. There is a readout that shows how far along in the test you are with a small blinking light so you can tell if you are behind or ahead.

Students can use the watch to practice for their ACTs and SATs as well as when they are taking the actual tests.
The ACT Pacing Watch complies with ACT and the College Board (the company that distributes the SATs) test room requirements for noise-free and vibration-free watches and timers, with no computing functionality.

Get your ACT timer and watch to help your student prepare for the ACT test. Call the Optiminds office at (248) 496-0150 for more information.

Optiminds offers customized tutoring programs for students, including students who are home schooled. We have earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Redesigned SAT Takes Effect in 2016

April 9, 2014

SAT3In 2013, 1.7 million took the SAT, a globally recognized college admission test first introduced by the College Board in 1926. SAT initially stood for Scholastic Aptitude Test, later changed to Scholastic Assessment Test.

The SAT is intended to let students show colleges what they know and how well they can apply that knowledge. It tests a knowledge of reading, writing and math — subjects that are taught every day in high school classrooms. Most students take the SAT during their junior or senior year of high school, and almost all colleges and universities use the SAT to make admission decisions.

Just recently, the College Board announced a fundamental “rethinking of the SAT” to make it more useful by reinforcing the skills and evidence-based thinking that students should be learning in high school. The new version will go into effect in Spring 2016.

Among the key changes are the following:

  •  The penalty for guessing, in which points are deducted for incorrect answers, will be eliminated
  • The test will not ask students to define obscure words (such as “depreciatory” and “membranous”), relying instead on vocabulary more commonly used in college courses (“synthesis” and “empirical,” for example)
  • Math questions will focus more narrowly on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking
  • The essay portion, required since 2005, will be optional and scored separately
  • Scoring will revert to the old 1,600-point scale (from 2,400); 800 is the top score on math; 800 is the top score on reading and writing

 Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. Be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

 

Optiminds Offers NCAA and NAIA Eligibility Counseling

March 23, 2014

There are two athletic associations that offer college scholarships—The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Optiminds now offers Athletic College Prep Counseling to help with both the NCAA and NAIA recruiting processes.

Understanding the difference between the two separate governing bodies of college athletics is important for students seeking an athletic scholarship because there are options available from both the NCAA and NAIA.

The NCAA is the governing body for about 1200 schools. It consists of three divisions, with Divisions I and II offering partial or full athletic scholarships to more than 126,000 student-athletes. Division III student-athletes can only receive academic or non-athletic scholarships. About $1 billion in athletic scholarships are handed out by the NCAA every year.

The NAIA consists of 300 schools and 13 sports, with just over 60,000 students, and two divisions. Division I in the NAIA is comparable to Division II in the NCAA. Over 90% of schools in the NAIA offer scholarships, and NAIA athletes receive an average of $7,000 of financial aid.

Our experienced athletic college prep counselors can help you meet eligibility requirements for both the NCAA and the NAIA and continue to meet standards necessary to continue with your playing career. For more information, contact Aaron Fields at (313) 590-4788 or the Optiminds office.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. Be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com; and “like” us on Facebook.

Why You Should Consider College Prep Counseling

March 16, 2014

collegeprep3Not only is getting a college education today costly, the admissions process can be both complex and competitive. With a ratio of counselor to student as high as 500 to 1 in many high schools, school counselors are often unable to offer the one-on-one counseling their students deserve.

These are just a few reasons why more parents are seeking the help of qualified independent college prep counselors. And now, through our new College Counseling Division, Optiminds offers individualized college prep counseling.

Optiminds’ College Prep Counseling can help families:

  • navigate the process and maximize the college opportunity
  • ensure they are making the best college choice
  • turn a stressful process into a successful and enjoyable experience
  • avoid costly mistakes by finding the college that is the best fit
  • meet any specific requirements in terms of academics, athletics and special learning needs

Our college prep counselors have extensive experience working with high school and college students. They are knowledgeable about the latest trends in higher education and can offer a wide array of professional resources to our clients. In addition, they are in touch with evolving admissions requirements and understand what college admissions personnel at specific colleges are looking for in candidates.

College prep counseling can be an excellent addition to high school counseling, providing additional insight and assistance with the college admissions process. For more information, contact Holly Markiecki-Bennetts at 313-478-3319.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. Be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com; and “like” us on Facebook.

Optiminds Adds Two New Counselors

February 16, 2014

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds is pleased to introduce our two newest counselors, who will be handling the new areas of focus we are offering in our College Counseling Division.

Aaron Fields is heading up the Athletic College Prep counseling area and will be responsible for the NCAA Clearinghouse portion of our college counseling division. He will be working to help athletes meet NCAA standards in order to continue with their playing careers. A former Division 1 baseball player, Aaron played professional baseball for a couple of years after graduating from college.

Aaron is dedicated to using his experience and training to help young athletes be prepared for college and the NCAA Clearinghouse requirements.

For more information about Optiminds’ athletic college prep counseling program, please call Aaron at (313) 590-4788, or email him at: afields@optimindsct.com.

Holly Markiecki-Bennetts is heading up the College Prep counseling area. She has spent the past 20 years working with high school and college students, and enjoys serving as a guide for students and their families in finding the right post-high school options.  Holly holds two Masters degrees—one in Higher Education Administration and one in School Counseling.

To find out more about Optiminds’ college prep counseling, please call Holly at (313) 478-3319 or email her at:  hbennetts@optimindsct.com.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Optiminds Announces New Focus Areas in 2014

February 9, 2014

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds is pleased to be introducing two new areas of focus in our College Counseling Division beginning January 2014. The new focus areas are: College Prep and Athletic College Prep. We will be offering Parent/Student Workshops in both areas.

The College Prep Counseling Workshops will include:

  • How to find the right colleges
  • Essay writing
  • Resume writing
  • Applications
  • Organizational tools
  • Individual Sessions

For more information, call Holly Bennetts at (313) 478-3319, or email Holly at: hbennetts@optimindsct.com.

The Athletic College Prep Counseling Workshops will cover:

  • Athletics—High school and beyond
  • The recruiting process
  • NCAA eligibility (National Collegiate Athletic Association)
  • NAIA eligibility (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics)
  • Course planning
  • Individual Sessions

For more information, call Aaron Fields at (313) 590-4788 or email Aaron at: afields@optimindsct.com.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.


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