• Dual Credit FAQs

    Ever had questions about Dual Credit courses?

    Our new Advanced Academics FAQs playlist on YouTube will have videos on many topics, including Dual Credit courses. Go ahead and watch the Dual Credit video now!

  • College Ready Night: Scholarships

    We had a great evening meeting with Lauren from TCU’s Financial Aid department at the end of February! If you weren’t able to make it that night, we have a recording of (most) of the evening. Sadly we had technical difficulties and did not record the first seven minutes of her presentation. However, we do have her slides so you can take a look at them to see what we missed in the recording.

    Link to video

    Link to slides

  • Overcoming Fear and Guilt as a Parent in the College Admissions Process

    Book Summary: The Price You Pay for College, by Ron Lieber, Part II

    In this post, we’re continuing the summary of the book started here. In this post, we’ll look at overcoming fear and guilt in the college admissions process.

    As a parent, the college admissions process can be a stressful and emotional time. You want the best for your child and may experience feelings of fear and guilt throughout the process, but it’s important to recognize that these feelings are unhelpful and can ultimately hinder your child’s success. Here’s how to address these emotions and make the most of the college admissions process.


    Fear is a common emotion felt by parents during the college admissions process. You may worry about your child’s future and whether they will attend a high-quality school. However, it’s worth recognizing that these fears are often irrational and should not guide your decision-making. Instead, focus on what you can control and what matters most for your child’s future.

    Research shows that attending a highly selective college does not have a significant impact on wages earned throughout one’s life compared to attending a less prestigious college. Therefore, it’s important to consider factors beyond the name and reputation of a school, such as the specific programs and opportunities offered.


    Many parents feel guilty about their child’s college expenses and may assume that they are expected to foot the bill. This assumption is not always realistic and can lead to unnecessary guilt. It’s important to have an honest conversation with your child about the financial realities of college, including the additional costs such as housing, fraternities or sororities, and transportation.

    You may also feel guilty about not being able to provide your child with the same college experience that you had. In reality, times have changed and you don’t need to make the same decisions as your parents did. Taking out loans that you can’t afford may ultimately harm your relationship with your child and put unnecessary pressure on that relationship.

    Instead, focus on what you can afford and what will ultimately benefit your child’s future. Encourage them to apply for scholarships and financial aid, and consider schools that offer programs and opportunities that align with their interests and goals.

    The college admissions process can be a stressful and emotional time for parents, but it’s important to recognize and overcome unhelpful feelings of fear and guilt. Focus on what you can control and what matters most for your child’s future, and have an honest conversation about the financial realities of college. With the right mindset and approach, your child can successfully navigate the college admissions process and thrive in their future endeavors.

  • College Admissions for Parents

    For the parents of high school students, the college admissions process can be daunting. But with a few tips and strategies, parents can help their student navigate the process and increase the chances of success. Here’s a guide to help you get started based on “A Parent’s Guide to College Admissions” at CollegeVine.com.

    Admissions process starts before senior year

    The admissions process starts before senior year, with 50-60% of the outcome determined based on grades, course selection, and extracurriculars from 9th-11th grade. This means that it’s important to build a strong admissions profile from the start, and in 12th grade focus on improving essays and applications.

    Admissions profile

    The admissions profile is based on a few key elements: transcript, standardized test scores, extracurricular resume, and relationships with teachers. To boost their profile, students should take challenging courses, strive for good grades, and reach out to teachers for a recommendation letter. It’s also important to have extracurricular activities that align with the student’s intended major.

    The Application

    For most students, the application process starts with the ApplyTexas application, which is used by Texas public colleges and universities. Students should also consider the Common App, which is accepted by over 900 colleges (out-of-state and private).

    In addition to the application, students should also spend time on their essays, which are an important part of the admissions process. CollegeVine.com offers great support, including livestreams and past prompts. Finally, don’t forget about financial aid and scholarship applications, like the FAFSA, which opens on October 1.

    Budgeting time

    Essays can take anywhere from 20-40 hours to write, depending on the school. Other activities like applications, coordinating with third parties, and parent financial aid forms can add up to 10-15 hours. To reduce stress, it’s best to spread out the work over the course of several weeks, rather than cramming it all into one week.

    Key elements in the process

    Academics are the most important factor, accounting for 80%, 50%, and 30% of the admissions process for non-selective, selective, and very selective colleges, respectively. Extracurriculars and essays become increasingly important in more selective schools, accounting for 15-25% of the admissions process. Finally, luck, personal assessments, finances, and college strategy make up the remaining 20%.

    We hope this guide has helped to demystify the college admissions process and set you on the path to success. Remember, your student should take the lead, but you can still provide important support. Good luck!

  • Spring 2023 Events

    We have a full calendar for the spring! These events support BISD families in preparing for college and celebrate the work of our gifted and talented students! See the events below for details. Purchase free tickets for all events through Hometown Tickets two weeks prior to the event.

    1. January 12th: College Ready Night: FAFSA, ApplyTexas, BOF
    2. January 26th: College Ready Night: Timelines
    3. January 28th: TAG INSPIRE Camp
    4. February 9th: GT Parent Association Spring Meeting
    5. February 28th: College Ready Night: Scholarships
    6. March 28th: College Ready Night: Linking Careers to Colleges
    7. March 29th: Dual Credit Night
    8. College Ready Night: Trade Schools, 2-Year Colleges, and Military: Postponed until Fall 2023
    9. April 12th & 13th: TAG Showcase

    January 12th: College Ready Night: FAFSA, ApplyTexas, BOF

    Drop by if you would like help completing the FAFSA application for financial aid, ApplyTexas to apply to Texas colleges & universities, and the Burleson Opportunity Fund scholarship application.

    • Date: Thursday, January 12th
    • Location: Game Development Design School
      • Park off Market Street
      • Enter through door 6
    • Time: 5:30-6:30 PM
    • Link to flyer

    January 26th: College Ready Night: Timelines

    Ever wonder when you need to do what in order to be ready for college applications?

    We have the answer for you!

    At this event, you’ll learn about timelines to be ready for college applications from 9th grade through 12th grade.

    January 28th: TAG INSPIRE Camp

    TAG students in grades 3-5 are invited to this camp at Clinkscale Elementary. Students will have the choice of exploring four areas of inspiration: art, technology, engineering, and the performing arts. Look for communication from your student’s TAG teacher.

    February 9th: GT Parent Association Spring Meeting

    Join us for discussions about parenting gifted & talented students! In this meeting we’ll focus on helping our students follow their purpose. Look for an email with details about the meeting on January 19th.

    February 28th: College Ready Night: Scholarships

    Paying for college is the most challenging financial decision you’ll ever make.

    We’re calling in an expert to help you out.

    Come hear from the financial aid department at TCU about scholarships and financial aid for any college or university.

    March 28th: College Ready Night: Linking Careers to Colleges

    Decisions about colleges should flow from a student’s career interests.

    In this College Ready Night session, we’ll show you how to take student career interests and make informed choices about college selection.

    March 29th: Dual Credit Night

    This event is required for all students who plan to take Dual Credit courses at BHS or CHS in the 2023-2024 school year.

    Come prepared to get information about Dual Credit courses as well as to complete the paperwork to get approved for registration.

    • Date: Tuesday, March 29th
    • Location: BHS Cafeteria
    • Time: 5:30-7:00 PM
    • Link to flyer

    College Ready Night: Trade Schools, 2-Year Colleges, and Military: Postponed until Fall 2023

    April 12th & 13th: TAG Showcase

    Come celebrate your student’s hard work! Your student will deliver a formal presentation on his or her research and you’ll hear from other students as well.

    TAG teachers will communicate with each family regarding the session the student is assigned to.

    April 12th

    Location: BHS South Entrance

    Session 1: 6:00-7:00 PM

    Session 2: 7:00-8:00 PM


    • Academy of Leadership and Technology at Mound
    • Academy at Nola Dunn
    • Frazier
    • Clinkscale
    • Taylor

    April 13th

    Location: CHS Auditorium Entrance

    Session 1: 6:00-7:00 PM

    Session 2: 7:00-8:00 PM


    • Academy of the Arts at Bransom
    • Brock
    • Hajek
    • Norwood
    • STEAM at Stribling
  • Can I get in at my dream school?

    If you’re asking whether or not your dream school is within reach, CollegeVine can help answer the question. CollegeVine takes data on the students it serves to generate its own predictive computations to let you know your odds of admission. Take a look at the features below:

    Build your School List

    Admissions Calculator

    • This section of CollegeVine is currently free
    • As you add extracurricular activities, intended majors, grades, and test scores you’ll get a more and more accurate report of the odds of acceptance into the schools on your list


    • This section of CollegeVine is currently free
    • Enjoy recorded and live videos on:
      • Information sessions from individual colleges
      • Admissions support from individual colleges
      • General advice on the admissions process
      • Live essay review
      • Q&A with current college students

    Additional Resources

    • Blog
    • Essay Guides (take a look at this one for TCU)
    • Expert advising (there is a cost for this feature)
    • Essay review (there is a cost for this feature)
  • Turn your grades into scholarships

    Raise.me helps you earn microscholarships for the work you’re already doing in class and outside of class. Microscholarships are exactly what they sound like: small scholarships that you can earn at specific colleges and universities. Raise.me consolidates the process of earning and tracking the microscholarships. Take a look at their video below as well as a review at the New York Times.

    Here’s what you need to do:

    • Sign up at www.raise.me.
      • Make sure all of your personal information is accurate.
      • Use your personal email address, not your @bisdmail.net address.
    • Follow colleges you might be interested in. This list can grow over time.
    • Add your achievements from 9th grade through now.
      • Grades
      • Sports
      • Community service hours
      • Awards
    • Pay attention to eligibility requirements at each college.
      • Possible requirements:
        • Minimum GPA
        • Socioeconomic status
    • Watch the earnings add up!
  • High Caliber Recruitment at the University of Texas at Arlington

    If you’re interested in a challenging college program and you’re at the top of your class, then here’s a unique opportunity for you. The Office of High Caliber Recruiting at UTA actively recruits students in the top 10% of their graduating class. Read on for more details!

    Why UT Arlington?

    The University of Texas at Arlington holds several distinctions as a top university in Texas. It is one of five Texas Tier One designated universities and has 18 Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors – tied for the most of any university in Texas. Additionally, if you’re in the top 25% of your graduating class there is no minimum SAT or ACT score for admissions. Finally, there are so many scholarship opportunities!

    High Caliber Recruiting at UT Arlington

    The High Caliber Recruitment program targets high achievers, especially students in the top 10% of their graduating class or College Board National Recognition students. If you reach out to their office you’ll get personalized admissions tours and admissions support from the Office of High Caliber Recruitment. There will be additional opportunities for you while you are at UTA – High Caliber students are more likely to participate in a research experience as an undergrad. There are also scholarship opportunities specifically for High Caliber students. Learn more at uta.edu/established-excellence.

    UTA Honors College

    The High Caliber Recruiting office can also put you in contact with the Honors College. The Honors College is comprised of students across all majors who are looking to excel academically at UTA. If you are interested in the Honors College, you will first complete your UTA admissions and then apply to the Honors College. Learn more at uta.edu/honors

    Honors College Admissions Requirements (must meet at least one of the following)

    • 1270 SAT
    • 27 ACT
    • Top 10% of graduating class
    • 3.5 unweighted GPA
  • Advanced Thinking’s Favorite Podcasts

    Who doesn’t love a good podcast, especially one that helps you get into your dream university? There are too many podcasts out there to listen to all of them, so we’ve curated a list of our favorites. We’ll also post episode summaries in case you don’t have time to listen but still want to learn. If you have other podcasts you’d recommend, let us know!

  • Upcoming changes to the SAT

    You may have heard that the SAT is going digital. Here’s what’s changing, when it is changing, and what you should do to prepare for the changes.


    Let’s start with what is staying the same:

    • The SAT still aims to measure the knowledge and skills that matter most for college and career readiness.
    • The scores for the new SAT will still be on the traditional 1600 scale.
    • The SAT will still be administered at schools (not at home).

    Here’s what is changing:

    • You’ll take the SAT and PSAT on a laptop, either your personal device or a school-issued device. If you don’t have a device, College Board will provide one for you on test day.
    • The test will be shorter – two hours instead of three, and the reading passages will be shorter.
    • You’ll receive your score report more quickly.
    • Calculators will be allowed on the entire math section.


    In the fall of 2023, juniors in the class of 2025 will take the PSAT/NMSQT digitally for the first time. These juniors took the PSAT 8/9 digitally as 9th graders, so it will not be an entirely new experience.

    The following spring (2024), the SAT will be given digitally for the first time. That means the juniors who took the PSAT/NMSQT digitally in the fall of 2023 will take their SAT that spring digitally as well.

    The graphic below shows the timeline for administering the digital PSAT and SAT.


    The best option for preparing for the SAT remains the free resources on Khan Academy. College Board partners with Khan Academy to provide full-length practice tests and customized practice based on students’ performance on those practice tests or on actual PSAT and SAT exams.

    For more information, see the Digital SAT Suite page on College Board’s website.