The Reason Behind the Exam and Hard Truths
Some of you are new to the modern College admissions process. We who attended high school in the '60s, '70s, and '80s didn't face the same pressures and timetables that college-bound kids face in this decade.
Whether to invest effort in prep for standardized tests is greatly determined by the student's goals. It also relates to the student's GP A. Except in the case of athletes, no college counts the SAT test more highly than overall GPA. But recognize that the time spent prepping for and taking one test is miniscule compared to the time spent collectively working towards good high school grades.
For the varsity athlete, many colleges weigh SAT scores especially highly, because they know that it is very difficult for busy athletes to garner the very best grades. Thus the admissions committees look at an athlete's high SAT score as excellent reassurance that she/he can do college level work.
For all who are seeking merit-based scholarships (which abound at every "tier" of colleges) the SAT is now the single biggest determinant of merit scholarship awards.
For the hard-charging student who will be aggressive in getting hired from college (or grad school), the benefit of being in a better-ranked college program is somewhat calculable: all other things being equal, graduating from a college one tier better, is likely to result in a difference of OVER $1,000,000 in lifetime earnings (higher if you presume a decent chance of marrying a college sweetheart who's equally aggressive).
For first-time parents with busy kids, allow me to lay out the time spent / reward ratio:
We have no problem with students taking the ACT as a sophomore year experiment, within 6 weeks of taking the SAT, and comparing scores. If the ACT comes back more promising, then ACT-only may be the way to go.
Though I never want to replace a good guidance counselor, I and some of our instructors are willing to advise students on how to best present their credentials to colleges. For a general approach, join us on our "Sunday Conversations", the Conference call we conduct the first Sunday of February, April, June, August, and October at 9:15pm Eastern. These are dedicated to test scheduling and college admissions issues, and should be helpful to first-time parents of college-bound kids. To "attend", call 605-990-0300 x 294454.
PO Box 7076, Chicago IL, 60680-7076Tel: 1.302.338.1205 firstname.lastname@example.org
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