Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

College admissions are very confusing and there are many questions that parents ask us. Here you can find many answers to those questions. If your question is not posted here, please feel free to call our offices and make an appointment with our college counselors.

Click on the questions below to find the answers.

HS2 FAQ

HS2 FAQ

What classes does HS2 Academy provide?

HS2 Academy has a standardized curriculum for grades 4 through 12. We offer a complete range of classes and private tutoring to cover all of a student’s possible academic needs. There are also classes specifically geared toward preparing students for the SAT 1 Exam, SAT II Subject Tests, and the AP Tests. To help students excel at their homework, and to help parents make sure that their child is completing all of their homework in a timely fashion, HS2 Academy also provides a Homework Club, a schoolwork counseling class where students do their homework in a controlled and supportive environment. This homework class allows the student to ask questions and to seek help on any question for any of their classes.

How are the teachers at HS2 Academy different from the teachers 
at other academies?

The teachers at HS2 Academy are all graduates from the top schools around the United States, such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, and so on. In addition to their degrees from America’s top universities and research institutes, they also have many years of teaching experience.

***HS2 Academy provides much more than our high-quality classes. Our custom-made college counseling program and college application plan makes sure that our students’ dream schools aren’t just dreams anymore!

What do College Application Counselors do?

A College Application Counselor provides students with the personal training needed to enter their ideal universities. Counselors assist each student to ensure that their academic studies are complete and to develop academic enthusiasm. A College Application Counselor leads a student through the university application process at each important stage. Counselors work with students to develop daily time-management skills, study skill training, a four-year high school strategy to choose the classes that will achieve the highest GPA, and an extra-curricular activity and community service plan. During the summer, students will take classes for SAT practice and advanced academic courses. College Counselors oversee the SAT I and SAT II plans and oversee the applications for the precise university schools that match a student’s goals. They also work with the student to compose a splendid individual profile that will attract the interest of the university application officers. In short, counselors work with students to develop their short and long-term education and career paths, and they provide the support necessary to follow those paths. The main prize of the college application package is the face-to-face discussion, including a monthly conference, as well as the ability to immediately consult with your counselor via email or telephone. Not only does the counselor guide the student through each step of the university application process, but he or she also provides complete support and serves as a model of learning for the student.


Why do students need to hire private college application counselors?

Applying for college is a long and tedious process. Both parents and students are under an enormous amount of pressure, and there are many complicated steps that need to be completed. Sometimes this can lead to disputes and misunderstandings that might impede the student’s growth and success. This is when a private college application counselor enters the picture. The counselors at Harvard Square2 Academy have specialized knowledge about the college application process and provide a personal touch that will help students stand out from the thousands of other applicants. Harvard Square2 Academy counselors guide students throughout the entire college application process because our system is not just about filling out forms before the deadline approaches. The modern college application process is so much more complicated than that. Each student has a unique background and goals. Our college counselors believe in getting to know each of their students so that they can provide the best counseling service, and our counselors are a positive influence on their students. College counselors help to plan course loads, summer schedules and activities, extra-curricular activities, and much more. They guide their students through the actual application process, from application forms to personal statement essays.

Will private college application counselors tutor the students?

College counselors provide the guidance students and parents need to make it through the rigorous college application process. If a student needs help with schoolwork, HS2 Academy has a complete range of classes to address those needs, as well as private tutoring. What are the qualifications for the college application counselors from HS2 Academy? The college application counselors at HS2 Academy are all graduates from famous and respected schools around the United States, such as Harvard and so on. Our counselors have the professional knowledge and years of experience to maximize a student’s potential and to guide a student in the best direction and toward an outstanding university.

All of the high schools provide counselors, too. Will they help the students to apply
 to good colleges?

The average high school’s student counselor is responsible for 400 to 500 students. They do not have the time and energy to carefully consider each person’s individual case and needs. Moreover, the primary mission of a high school’s student counselor is to make sure that these students graduate from high school and do not stain the good reputation of the school. For this reason, school counselors may not be able to provide the specialized information and guidance necessary to get into the top schools of the United States. Can parents be their children’s college application counselors? Parents love and care for their children, but they are biased and for the most part they do not have the specialized knowledge that is needed to apply for the top universities. Under some conditions, instructions from parents about the application process may even be incorrect and lead to difficulties for both parent and child. It is also common for young people and parents to disagree about an issue or to suffer from miscommunication. A high school consultant may not catch those problems or might not have the opportunity to help with those sorts of issues. How early should college application counseling start? The college application process DOES NOT only refer to the few weeks before the college application deadlines. From the moment a student enters high school, everything they do—or fail to do—affects their likelihood of making it into a good college. Generally speaking, the college application counseling process should begin when a student is in the 8th grade. This allows the counselor to plan the student’s entire four years of high school and to guide the student from the very beginning of the college application process. The college counselors at HS2 Academy are also able to guide students that are recent immigrants to the United States toward the schools of their dreams. Students that are aiming for medical colleges and the famous Ivy League schools should definitely start college counseling as soon as possible.

What is the success rate of getting into a good college for students who did college application counseling at HS2 Academy?

HS2 Academy has assisted over 500 students to enter the highest universities and medical colleges in the US. 80% of students entered UCI or better. 60% were accepted by schools such as UC Berkeley, Ivy League schools, and other famous and renowned schools. Many students even obtained scholarships to some of these famous schools.

High School Preparation

High School Preparation

How do you calculate a GPA?

For every ‘A’ you receive, you earn a 4.0. For every ‘B’ you earn 3.0; ‘C’ you earn 2.0; ‘D’ you earn 1.0; and ‘F’ you earn 0. Add these points and divide by the number of classes you have. That is your GPA. (This applies to traditional 4.0 schools. Some schools in the United States might have different GPA scoring systems out of 12 points of 100 points). Remember to calculate your academic GPA, so courses like P.E. don’t count. Keep in mind that Cal States and UC’s count only 10th-11th grades.

What is a weighted GPA?

As opposed to the un-weighted GPA, a weighted GPA gives extra weight to certain courses like AP, IB, and community college courses. Most Honors courses are not weighted (see the UC Doorways website to view which Honors courses at your high school are weighted). For weighted classes, for every ‘A’ you receive, you earn a 5.0. For every ‘B’ you earn 4.0; ‘C’ you earn 3.0; ‘D’ you earn 1.0; and ‘F’ you earn 0 (you do not earn a weighted grade for a ‘D’ or ‘F’).

Is it necessary to take AP classes? Are AP classes more lt?

When calculating GPA, it is important to note that AP class grades count for one additional point. If you score an A in an AP class, you will receive a 5.0 instead of a 4.0. If you get a B, you will still receive a 4.0, which is the equivalent of an A in a regular class. This means that AP classes can pull up a high school student’s GPA. An AP class contains university-level curriculum. Students that take AP classes and AP tests can sometimes apply these tests and courses toward their college degree. This may allow a student to skip general requirement courses and replace them with higher level courses, or it may even let a student graduate early. AP classes demonstrate dedication to learning; it is one more indication that a student can succeed at the university level.

How much do SAT and ACT test scores matter?

The SAT and the ACT are national standardized tests. Each high school has its own curriculum and its own level of academic demand. For this reason, universities use SAT and ACT scores to compare an applicant to the students from around the country instead of simply taking a given student’s ranking from his or her respective high school.

How important are extra-curricular activities?

Extra-curricular activities can prove a student’s ability in areas such as leadership and organizational ability. Activities can also display a dedication to improving society. These are the sorts of special characteristics that the top schools are looking for in their ideal candidates. Academic achievement is one of the key factors in college acceptance; however, extracurricular activities can definitely add a bonus point or two.

How important are summer classes? What classes should be taken?

Universities want to understand more about their applicants by looking at the way these students spend their time outside of school. There are students that waste their summers and there are students that diligently work to enrich themselves by taking classes, whether to get in extra studying or to get ready to take more advanced courses during the year. Therefore, summer vacation is a great time to add points to your application profile. Each student is different. The college counselors at Harvard Square2 Academy will help you customize your class schedule and will work with you to make sure you are making the right choices that will guide you toward your goals.

Why do a lot of students have good grades in elementary and middle schools but suddenly drop their grades when they are in high school?

Elementary schools and middle schools have basic curriculums. Many students may not need to work hard to get good grades; some can obtain good results with simple cleverness. Sometimes an “easy ride” through elementary school leads to bad study habits that have negative consequences during high school when the curriculum becomes much more difficult. Moreover, social activity can make it difficult to maintain good grades by diligently finishing one’s homework, studying carefully, and reading every day. Aside from the importance of good study habits, it’s also important to remember that school gets harder as students get older. If your or your child’s grades drop suddenly, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve suddenly stopped working hard. It might simple mean that they need a little extra help in a particular subject. Harvard Square2 Academy provides a supportive educational environment to promote good study habits, as well as private tutoring and classes to help you or your child through any subject.

What are a-g requirements?

These are course requirements for entrance into the Cal State, UC, and in general, any 4-year college or university system:

a) l History/Social Science – 2 years required
Two years of history/social science, including one year of world history, cultures and geography; and one year of U.S. history or one-half year of U.S. history and one-half year of civics or American government.

b) l English – 4 years required
Four years of college-preparatory English that include frequent and regular writing, and reading of classic and modern literature. No more than one year of ESL-type courses can be used to meet this requirement.

c) l Mathematics – 3 years required, 4 years recommended
Three years of college-preparatory mathematics that include the topics covered in elementary and advanced algebra and two- and three-dimensional geometry. Approved integrated math courses may be used to fulfill part or all of this requirement, as may math courses taken in the seventh and eighth grades that your high school accepts as equivalent to its own math courses.

d) l Laboratory Science – 2 years required, 3 years recommended
Two years of laboratory science providing fundamental knowledge in at least two of these three foundational subjects: biology, chemistry and physics. Advanced laboratory science classes that have biology, chemistry or physics as prerequisites and offer substantial additional material may be used to fulfill this requirement, as may the final two years of an approved three-year integrated science program that provides rigorous coverage of at least two of the three foundational subjects.

e) l Language Other than English – 2 years required, 3 years recommended
Two years of the same language other than English. Courses should emphasize speaking and understanding, and include instruction in grammar, vocabulary, reading, composition and culture. Courses in languages other than English taken in the seventh and eighth grades may be used to fulfill part of this requirement if your high school accepts them as equivalent to its own courses.

f) l Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) – 1 year required
A single yearlong approved arts course from a single VPA discipline: dance, drama/theater, music or visual art.

g) l College-Preparatory Electives – 1 year required
One year (two semesters), in addition to those required in “a-f” above, chosen from the following areas: visual and performing arts (non-introductory level courses), history, social science, English, advanced mathematics, laboratory science and language other than English (a third year in the language used for the “e” requirement or two years of another language).

Test Preparation

Test Preparation

Is there a fun website for learning vocabulary?

Yes, there are plenty of fun educational websites! The most popular among our students is www.freerice.com and http://www.vocabulary.co.il. You can even sign up to receive a free daily email with a vocabulary word of the day at www.dictionary.com and www.merriam-webster.com.

When should I take the SAT test?

You can take the test as many times as you want and only forward your highest scores to colleges. However, we strongly suggest that you don’t waste your money and time, and only take the real SAT test when you’re ready. At HarvardSquare2 Academy, we administer a practice SAT test every single Saturday. After a student starts scoring in his/her goal range on those practice tests, then he/she is ready to register for the real SAT test!

What is the ACT test? Should I take it?

The ACT test is another college entrance exam that all high school students can take. Almost every single college and university in the United States accepts the ACT (all Cal States, UC’s, and Ivy Leagues accept the ACT). It has 5 sections: English, Reading, Science, Math, and Writing. Many of our students at HarvardSquare2 Academy choose to take both the SAT and ACT test for college admissions. Those students who are stronger in math tend to prefer the ACT more because the English sections are less vocabulary-intensive. Roughly 1.5 million students take the ACT test each year, so it is just as popular as the SAT!

Where can I find SAT practice questions?

You can find lots of practice questions on the College Board website (www.collegeboard.com). They also display an SAT question of the day everyday. However, at HarvardSquare2 Academy, we also have thousands of practice questions that we have developed with our unique curriculum for our students.

How do I register for the SAT & ACT?

You can find more information for the SAT and ACT and register for these tests at:

College Admissions

College Admissions

How do you define America’s elite colleges?

The U.S. has over 7,000 colleges and universities. Generally speaking, the elite schools rank within the top 50 colleges and universities of the nation.

How do you get into America’s elite colleges?

Each elite school has its own unique culture and background, so the profiles of the students admitted to these institutions will also vary widely. When admissions officers look at a student’s application, their biggest considerations will be the student’s high school grades, SAT I/ACT scores, and SAT II scores. Individual talents and skills also add bonus points. A student’s extracurricular activities can demonstrate leadership, dedication to community service, and other personal qualities that admissions officers are looking to add to their respective campuses. The required admissions essays add the personal connection that allows the officers to understand and see the student as a real person—providing the finishing touch to any application.

Will the top students from high school be guaranteed to get into America’s elite colleges?

There are over 27,000 high schools in the United States. If you counted just the top three students from each graduating class, that alone would be nearly 80,000 people. The eight Ivy League schools recruit less than 30,000 students every year. For this reason, students aiming for the top schools need more than top scores. They need to display their overall abilities and find ways to make their application stand out from the thousands of others.

Do grades really matter when it comes to applying for college?

Yes! Grades are very important to admissions officers because they are the first and foremost indication of whether a student will succeed at the university level; however, if you’ve had poor grades in the past, don’t give up hope. Most colleges are far more flexible that your high school counselors may have led you to believe. While grades are important, they are not the only factors in college admission. If you challenge yourself to take academically rigorous classes and show that you are a well-rounded person by participating in community service and extra-curricular activities, then colleges will still take you seriously as a candidate. Admissions officers are always looking for leaders and for students that will enrich their school.

What are the requirements for Cal States?

In addition to completing the a-g requirements, if you are a California high school graduate (or a resident of California for tuition purposes), you need a minimum eligibility index of 2900 using the SAT combined score for critical reading and math sections or 694 using the ACT. The eligibility index for California residents is as follows: