Answers to Common Questions on College and Career Entry

Do You Have QUESTIONS About Your College & Career Planning?

Below we have listed some of the most common questions that individuals have about college and career planning. We hope that you find the answers provided below helpful as you prepare for your future. Each of these questions and many more are answered in depth in our comprehensive career and college preparation Publications and Programs.


  • Common College Entry Preparation & Planning Questions & Answers
    • Q: What are the differences among comprehensive, academic and cumulative GPAs - and which one is most important to colleges?
      A: Your comprehensive GPA includes all of your courses while your academic GPA includes only the academic courses (generally the classes required by a college for admission). Your cumulative GPA is simply an average of your GPAs for all of your high school quarters, semesters or years, instead of simply the current quarter, semester or year. Most colleges look at your cumulative academic GPA.
    • Q: When are activities most important to a student's acceptance at a college?
      A: Activities tend to be especially important at smaller and medium-sized private schools. They can also make the difference between two students with similar academic records at any school.
    • Q: What forms are required for a student to be eligible for federal financial aid - and many scholarships?
      A: The most important form for financial aid is the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Many colleges also use the Financial Aid PROFILE and/or an institutional financial aid form of their own. What many students don't realize is that if they don't apply for financial aid, they may not receive consideration for a number of merit-based scholarships and awards that they might otherwise be eligible for.
    • Q: What are the BASE YEAR and EFC?
      A: The BASE YEAR is the tax year that comes before the academic year for which you are seeking funding. The EFC (Expected Family Contribution) is the amount that your family is expected to contribute toward your education based on the results of the financial aid forms you complete.
    • Q: How will you organize the materials involved in the college entry process?
      A: The best way to organize your materials is in one place using a folder system. Winning STEP® has developed the College Entry Organizer & Journal to assist you in setting up and managing your college paperwork organization system.
    • If you want to learn more about the college planning process, then try our Comprehensive College Entry Preparation Publications and Programs. They will provide you with the answers you need!
  • Common Career Entry Preparation & Planning Questions & Answers
    • Q: Why is it important to take self-assessments before you choose or change a career?
      A: The career that you are in affects the type of people you meet, the friends you make and the lifestyle you are able to afford, so it is important to understand your own personality, interests and goals in order to find a career that you will be happy in. These can change over time, so it also important to re-evaluate yourself if you change careers.
    • Q: How does your level of education affect average income?
      A: While there are always exceptions, in general the more education you have, the higher your salary is likely to be. This is true for almost any career.
    • Q: What skills are most important to success in all careers?
      A: While most people assume that it's the core academic math, reading and writing skills that are the most essential to success in a career, new research shows that while those skills are necessary, it is actually your emotional and social skills that are most likely to predict the degree of success you will have in a career. Winning STEP® Transition Readiness Preparation can help you to understand and strengthen these crucial skills.
    • Q: How can you know if the job you are offered will pay your bills?
      A: When considering a job offer, it is important to consider the benefits as well as the wages and calculate a potential monthly budget for yourself in order to find out if the job will meet your financial needs.
    • Q: How will you organize the materials involved in the career entry and job search process?
      A: The best way to organize your career entry and job search materials is in one place using a folder system. Winning STEP® has developed the Career Entry Organizer & Journal to assist you in setting up and managing your career paperwork organization system.
    • If you want to learn more about the career planning process, whether you are choosing a career for the first time, re-entering the workforce or changing careers, try our Comprehensive Career Entry Preparation Publications and Programs. They will provide you with the answers you need!
  • Common Transition Readiness Preparation Questions & Answers
    • Q: How does your emotional and social intelligence affect your success in relationships and careers?
      A: Research shows that your emotional and social skills are essential to success in almost any career as well as in personal relationships.
    • Q: Do you have the academic skills necessary for life-long learning and success in any career?
      A: While there are many rewarding careers which do not require formal education beyond high school, it is necessary for you to have strong basic math, reading, writing, technology and study skills in order to perform well in any job and to keep up with our ever-changing technological society
    • Q: How can you establish and protect your financial stability?
      A: The single most important thing you can to do to establish financial security is to have and stick to a budget. In order to protect yourself, you also need to be able to practice internet safety and understand how to use credit wisely.
    • Q: What do you need to consider about the way transportation, housing and your job depend on each other?
      A: While you need a job to pay the expenses related to housing and transportation, you also need to realize that in order to keep a job, you have to have reliable transportation and must live somewhere that makes it possible for you to get to and from work in a reasonable amount of time.
    • Q: How will you organize the documents and records related to your home, car, finances and job?
      A: The best way to organize your documents and records is in one place using a folder system. Winning STEP® has developed the Transition Readiness Organizer & Journal to assist you in setting up and managing your document organization system.
    • If you want to learn more about academic, emotional and logistical readiness for independence and success, try our Transition Readiness Preparation Publications and Programs. They will provide you with the answers you need!
  • Common College Testing Questions & Answers
    • Q: How do you know which college test(s) you need to take?
      A: Because each college has its own standards, it is essential to find out exactly which tests each college you plan to apply to requires. The earlier you know this, the better.
    • Q: What are the main differences between the ACT and the SAT Reasoning Test?
      A: One of the major differences between the two tests is that the ACT does not penalize students for incorrect answers, while the SAT subtracts ¼ point for each incorrect response. Additionally, the SAT test focuses more on a student's reasoning than the ACT does. Finally, while both tests cover math, reading and writing skills, there is also a science section on the ACT while there is none on the SAT.
    • Q: Are the SAT Subject Tests all basically the same type of test?
      A: The truth is that the type of questions and the kind of preparation you need for the SAT Subject Tests varies greatly. You need to be certain that you understand and are familiar with the particular subject test(s) that you plan to take.
    • Q: What if you don't want all of your test scores sent to a college?
      A: Most colleges will only count your highest test scores, but both the College Board and ACT, Inc. allow you to choose to have only certain scores sent to specific colleges.
    • Q: What is the best way to prepare for a particular college test?
      A: For any test you take, you need to be familiar with the format, type(s) of questions, answer sheet, scoring system and strategies for answering each particular type of question before you enter the testing session. In addition, you should take as many practice tests as possible.
    • If you want to learn more about college tests and strategies for college testing success, try our Straightforward Strategies for College Testing Success Publications and Programs. They will provide you with the answers you need!
  • Common Questions & Answers About Reducing Test Anxiety
    • Q: What is test anxiety?
      A: Test anxiety is intense stress and anxiety which actually interferes with the ability to concentrate and perform well on tests.
    • Q: How do you know if you suffer from test anxiety?
      A: If you experience multiple stress symptoms which actually keep you performing well on tests even though you know the material, you may suffer from test anxiety.
    • Q: How can you feel less stressed about taking tests?
      A: There are a number of strategies that will help you reduce your anxiety over test-taking, but two key elements are to study effectively so that you feel confident going in and to allow yourself to accept the fact that you can only do your best. You should never measure yourself against others' expectations or abilities.
    • Q: What are the best ways to deal with anxiety during a test situation?
      A: Two of the most effective strategies for breaking the stress cycle are to STOP for a moment to consciously relax and to simply skip any question(s) that confuse or stump you, moving on to those that you can answer more easily. You can always return to the question(s) you skipped later, once you have built your confidence back up by responding to those questions you can answer easily.
    • Q: How can you keep a bad testing experience from affecting your stress about taking future tests?
      A: Accept that it is over and focus on how you can do better next time. Even if you did get a poor score, it won't ruin your life - even if it feels like it. The key is to have a positive attitude and learn from what went wrong during that particular testing experience.
    • If you want to learn more about how to reduce your stress and anxiety over taking tests, try our Strategies to Reduce Test Anxiety Publications and Programs. They will provide you with the answers you need!