The week before Thanksgiving 2019, I was presenting to a group of parents of college-bound high schoolers who were extremely nervous about the whole “college admissions game.” Game? What game?

They were particularly concerned about their child going to a school that “must be ranked high, otherwise he/she would end up with no job.”  But they understood, those schools as “impossible to get into.” Major of study or careers is “secondary as long as my son/daughter gets in one of those schools.” Career and major are secondary to the college of choice? If we are worried about jobs at the end of this, why are they secondary? How could that be?

Then came one mom who was frazzled about her son receiving “a personal invitation to apply to a ‘super selective’ college.” How is that possible? Her son, after all, was “just a middle of the road, 2.7 GPA, 24 ACT, barely making through regular classes.” Was that a mistake?

Shortly after, a dad asked about additional options for footing the $60K/year bill for his daughter’s upcoming first year in college. $60K/year… That’s a brand new BMW or a decent country cabin to have vacations… Every year for four years. 

After having to calm the nerves of over 50 parents with facts and data with some real-life examples from our students, it occurred to me:  The college admissions bubble – which we knew had long existed – has blown so big that it creates questions, anxiety, and panic.

These were the Pre-COVID19 days for higher education and college admissions — otherwise known as the “dark ages of higher education.”  Those of us who have worked in or around college admissions for years would attest that this “bubble” would burst somehow, some time.  We just didn’t think it would be burst by something that’s only visible via a super sensitive microscope.

And yes, you heard that right. PRE-COVID19 days were indeed the dark ages (but only for parents and students — not for “prestigious” colleges, that is) for college admissions as parents and students were forced to live by the rules set by the “top 200, most prestigious” colleges that you’d find in any and every rank published in print or online. And the other 3,800+ colleges… They “aspired” to be breaking in that 200 somehow and in some way by playing the game by those rules. This was the “college admissions game” I mentioned earlier.

Rules of the College Admissions Game in Pre-COVID19

Post-COVID19 World of College Admissions Expected: The Age of Hope

Some things will change by default (for the better) while some things will change only if parents and students make a collective effort. Here is the breakdown:

By default:

By collective effort:

The only factor that might not change post-COVID19 in the college admissions game unless there is more of a concerted effort from families is the weight that’s put on college rankings rather than the fit.

While the changes that are expected to occur above might shift the focus of rankings from being “prestigious” and “selective” to more “career readiness” and/or “higher ROI,” the habit (or reflex, by now) of checking college rankings will continue — unless families become more intentional with their college choice, i.e. fit, moving forward.

After all, that’s for the better: fewer heartbreaks, false hopes, misguided facts, and broken budgets.

As we all have forcefully embarked on an unknown journey with our daily lives over the last week due to COVID-19, our children’s lives have been disrupted just as forcefully, causing an emotional rollercoaster of events with domino effects.  Two of these events are the recent cancellation of the ACT on April 4 and SAT on May 2.  Provided that the national SAT on March 14 was off to a very rocky start with hundreds of test centers already closed and students were forced to return home, these were expected cancellations and being welcomed by all parties involved. However, they are not without consequences.

Why is it a big deal for high school juniors?

What should high school juniors do?

What if SAT & ACT are delayed further?

What if I have a high school sophomore or younger?

* SAT and ACT cancellations will have longer term effects as colleges may begin to re-think admissions without SAT/ACT requirement. This depends on how the class of 2021 (current juniors) admissions for Fall 2021 is handled:

– If standardized testing is handled exactly the way it is now, but with minor tweaks to submission deadlines, then chances are that most colleges will continue current practices as they are for Class of 2022 (current sophomores) and beyond).

– If SAT and ACT cancellations disrupt current juniors’ college application season (typically from August 1 through January 1 for most colleges) greatly, requiring colleges to take more drastic measures by waiving requirements or significantly pushing back deadlines, then chances increase about rethinking the value of SAT/ACT in their entirety and/or temporarily.

– Provided that the University of California (UC) system, the largest university system in the country, has had high level discussions about considering Test-Optional admissions earlier this year is increasing the chances for some rather radical changes to be considered in the near future — with or without the dire impact of COVID-19.

From the minute your child is born your life changes. You want the best for him or her and that includes academics. Like most things in life, everyone is unique and the approach to how we learn and retain information comes in different forms and levels. You don’t want to see your child struggle and thankfully there are resources in place to serve as a safety net to help your child succeed academically. Here at Firat Education, our academic coaches are trained in a vast array of different subjects and age groups. While every child is different, there are some consistent warning signs you should be aware of when it comes to perhaps considering a tutor beyond the classroom. Here are just a few:

Lack of Drive:

A lack of ambition or motivation shouldn’t be just brushed off as a typical teenager characteristic or trait of a strong-willed child. Your child might find it increasingly difficult to stay afloat with a subject matter and fall behind, thus the motivation to learn can lack. If you notice your child unmotivated in a subject, it can be a strong indicator that they need additional help. Consider having a candid conversation with your child to find out the root of the issue, and determine what type of tutor will be most beneficial. Firat Education prides itself on hiring coaches who specialize in their subject studies. Our team is flexible and available for a last minute emergency session or a long session to prepare for the exam the next day.

Declining Grades

This might sound obvious, but a slip in grades is a red flag that your child might be struggling. Whether it’s a sudden decline or a gradual slope downhill, grade decline is a major indicator that your child might benefit from additional coaching sessions.  Firat Education offers customized one-on-one educational coaching in the following subjects:

Lack of Confidence:

Self-esteem issues in school can be common and the source can come from different areas such as peers. If you notice your child seems to lack confidence and is struggling with self-esteem, try to get to the root of the problem. If the cause is a decline in academics, tutoring can serve as a powerful and valuable tool to overcome confidence issues. The professionals at Friat Education offer goal-orientated solutions to help your child achieve success. Get started today!

We’re here to do what your child’s school can’t do for them. We work around tricky schedules and dedicate as much time as you need. We are here to help your child succeed academically with a hands-on custom approach. Visit or call (713) 871-1048 to get started today! Like us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on the latest topics and events.


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With Valentine’s Day coming up, don’t let your child distract you with Valentine’s candy and crushes. Your child may be too young to find their #soulmate but how about their #schoolfit instead! #Admissions events for the new 2019-2020 school year are now in session, and it’s time to narrow down your choices and attend the #campustours and #openhouses that fit your values and goals for your child. Be sure to follow us for all of your #admissions news! #findthebestfit

It’s something that can cause countless teenagers sleepless nights and numerous days of anxiety and tension. It’s something that can take up an enormous amount of time and energy. Thinking about it can almost seem like a ticking time bomb; the closer you get to it, the more you dread it. What can cause this much stress and uncertainty? No, we are not talking about what dress to wear for the upcoming Prom (although that can cause some confusion!). Instead, we are referring to what is involved with a student preparing to take an upcoming standardized test.

No matter how old a student is, preparing for any type of testing, especially college prep standardized testing, doesn’t have to cause so much anxiety. In fact, there are plenty of tools available to make this preparation infinitely easier. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to test preparation.

Get Creative

Firat EducationFor students of all ages, there are a number of technological resources you can use to know what to expect from a standardized test. There are even some practice tests and questions you can take online. For younger students, coming up with some fun games and motivators to help reward them and motivate them can make the process of studying much less intimidating.


Know Common Test Terminology

The language used in tests is unlike any language or dialect. That’s why it’s a good idea, before taking a standardized test, to make a list of the most common words used in test instructions. Remember that telling students to read the directions isn’t enough if they can’t understand the directions.

Have Faith and Confidence

Firat Education in Houston TXAt test time, there’s nothing you can do but say, “You’re ready.” Students have a skill they need to take these tests—it’s called educated guesswork. And after years of school, and your teaching, they have some ability to do it. They just need to trust themselves.

When it comes to properly preparing for taking a standardized test, trust your friends and experts at Firat Education. Firat Education prides itself on providing exemplary customer services. We provide a wide variety of standardized test preparation for grade levels starting at 3rd grade all the way through graduate school. Firat Education has been serving students and parents in the Houston area for over 10 years. To discover more about how we can serve your child’s education needs, please visit our website or call us at 713-871-1048. Like us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on current events, tips, and specials.  


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Don’t forget schools are still hosting #admissionsevents this week and the next! The holidays will be here before you know it and then #applicationseason begins! Be sure to fit in your schedule #OpenHouses and #CampusTours that you wish to visit of your top schools of interest. Remember, the holidays are upon us but so are #applicationdeadlines! Be sure to check our blog daily to be in the know of current #admissions events and important dates!

Your ACT is right around the corner!

The night before your exam is crucial! Follow our checklist to help you succeed.

  1. Organize and Pack.
    1. Lay out your clothes. Dress for success(comfortably). Don’t forget a jacket in case it is chilly in the testing room. You can also take an analog watch.
    2. Prepare your snacks the night before. We suggest something light but filling: a banana or a granola bar.
  2. Sleep well.
    1. Relax the night before and go to sleep early.
    2. Wake up the next day refreshed and ready to destroy this test.
  3. Eat a good breakfast.
    1. We suggest a good amount of protein to keep you full.
    2. Have some fruit as well for good carbs and natural sugars.
  4. Double check you have everything required.
    1. Calculator and pencils
    2. Picture ID
    3. Testing Ticket
  5. Remember… do not panic. You have been preparing for this test. Remember your tutorials and the strategies you’ve learned.

You’ve got this.



Dear Seniors,

The time has come… for you all to flee the nest. It’s a bitter sweet time for most parents, but we, at Firat Education, have a question for you.

Have you taken your ACT or SAT? Have you even registered?

Time is running out! We prefer students to have taken and received their desired score towards the end of their junior year or the summer prior to starting their senior year.

Fall semester of senior year testing dates are only used in rare instances as back-up dates.

If you’re a senior who has not registered for a test, these are your remaining dates for the fall semester.

Instructions for how to register for both the SAT and ACT.

SAT Registration

It’s a good idea to plan ahead—and get comfy—before you start to register.

  1. Sign in to your free College Board account. Your parent or counselor can’t register for you.
  2. Provide your full, legal name and other identifying information. Make sure it’s the exact same name and information shown on your photo ID.
  3. Decide if you want to answer other questions about yourself. This takes time, but it’s worth it if you want colleges and scholarship organizations to find you.
  4. Decide whether to sign up for the SAT with Essay. See which colleges recommend or require it.
  5. Upload a photo that meets very specific photo requirements.
  6. Check out, and print your Admission Ticket.


ACT Registration

Step 1: The first step is to log into your ACT account here. Create an account if you do not have one

Step 2: Complete “Your Personal Profile.” The important page is the first one: “Your Information.” Make sure all of this information is accurate because this is what they’re using to track your tests.

Step 3: The next major section is “Your Interest Inventory.” Much like the previous section, this is purely optional. The ACT uses this to try to recommend career choices for you, but few students really see this as helpful.

Step 4: Next, we move to “Your Test Selection.” This is where your choices really start to matter.

Step 5: The next page goes over the requirements of the photo of yourself you must upload in order to complete your registration. This photo will be used on test day for identification purposes. You have to upload your photo by the photo deadline (eight days before your test date) or your registration will be cancelled.

Step 6: Next, the ACT asks for the high school courses you’ve taken, and then it asks you to enter grades for each course. Colleges mainly use official high school transcripts but try to be as accurate as possible.

Step 7: Next, you’ll have a chance to add Score Report choices. At this point, you get the ability to send four free score reports to colleges of your choice. However, we strongly recommend against putting any colleges on this recipient list as they will be receiving your scores automatically whether or not you like them. We advise you to send your scores only if you’re satisfied with them — at a later date, for a fee. Slightly more money spent but less headache.

Step 8: Finally, you get to choose your Test Center. This will show you the test centers closest to you, and the best location to take your test might not be your high school.

There is still time to squeeze in test preparation at Firat Education if you need assistance. Contact us today to schedule your educational assessment.



Last week, we revealed the newly published 5th edition of The Firat Guide. We call it, FG5.

For five years, The Firat Guide for high school admissions has provided guidance for:

About FG5

FG5 asks, “are you about to make a 4-year investment or an 8-year one?” Author Ibrahim Firat believes choosing the right fit high school leads to finding the best fit college. FG5 is specifically designed to help families through the rigorous process of private high school admissions in the greater Houston area.

FG5 introduces you to private high school admissions, including the selection process, application process, and the decision phase. Each process is detailed and thorough and ties in to the step-by-step FG5 format.


About The Author

Ibrahim is the only school placement consultant in Houston who also specializes in college admissions counseling and standardized testing strategy.

If you plan to read any book or take any advice about high school admissions or placement testing, it should be from someone who is knowledgeable about college admissions. The end goal is not high school. The end goal is the placement of your child into the best fit college of his or her dreams.

Ibrahim is a professional member of IECA and NACAC.


Top 5 Benefits of FG5


  1. Information pertaining to Academics, Athletics, Social Life, College Preparedness on SIXTY schools.
  2. Timeline to private high school admissions: When to research, when to take a practice test, when to apply, etc.
  3. High School Entrance Exams and their respective test preparation timelines.
  4. Firat Fit Diagrams measuring each school’s perspective fit. Use diagrams to narrow down the potential school options.
  5. A chapter detailing Firat Education’s Freshman Transition Program and how it can lead students to the right path.

You owe it to your son or daughter to read this book and explore your options before choosing a private high school. 

You can purchase FG5 here.






Last week, ACT announced there would be upcoming changes to the test starting in September 2018 for students who are approved for extended time.

Below is the official announcement.


ACT National Extended Time and ACT Special Testing Timing Code 6

Examinees approved for National Extended Time or for Timing Code 6 will have 50 percent extended time for each section of the ACT, with a hard stop after each section. Examinees will no longer have to self-pace through the four multiple-choice sections over the allotted five hours. All examinees in the test room will begin the same section at the same time and have the same amount of time to complete that section.

Timing for the writing test isn’t changing. If taking writing, examinees will continue to have 60 minutes (50 percent extended time) to respond to the writing prompt after completing the multiple-choice tests.


There are positives and negatives to this change. It depends on the student and their perspective. For instance, taking the ACT self-paced reduced anxiety for some students knowing they did not have a time restraint for each section. It also allowed students to strategize and use more time on their “weaker” sections .

However, having a time restriction can also help students balance their time. Some students use too much on time on a section hurting their overall score in the long run.

Students can still take the self-paced ACT for the June and July ACTs. At Firat Education, we know the best and most efficient test strategies to help students with their scores whether they’re prepping for the ACT this summer or in September when the changes go into effect.