This has been a tough fall for high school juniors and seniors, as test schedules and cancellations made a chaotic spring feel even less predictable for many students.
But that doesn’t mean juniors shouldn’t be gearing up for the SAT and looking toward the future.
To help you and your student get the college search off the ground, Academic Approach offers one-on-one tutoring and school programs that empower students from all backgrounds to increase their scores, skills, and confidence on and beyond standardized tests.
We believe that the ACT or SAT can be a powerful tool for prospective students looking to kick start their college searches, especially if they keep in mind what colleges do with their test scores in the admissions process. Let’s look at how you can leverage the test prep and scores today.
Start with the Right Question: What Can Your Test Score Tell You?
Whether your student takes the SAT or the ACT, the test results may affirm their sense of their academic abilities and bolster their confidence as they embark on their college search.
The test results may also show them where they’re starting out. Viewed as a baseline, test results can help your student align their academic profile with other students at their high school who have been admitted to college.
Test scores can deliver a ballpark estimate of where each student may fit with the academic rigor of colleges and universities they’re considering. It’s a way of judging preparedness that is not definitive. And with the right preparation, test scores can go up.
How Colleges Use Test Scores Today
Test scores aren’t designed to tell you how smart your student is or where they should go to college. The SAT was designed to measure what students learned in high school and gauge whether they have the knowledge they need to succeed at the college level.
Following a slew of test delays and roadblocks due to COVID-19, many colleges have gone test-optional sooner than planned, and these changes are opening up the conversation about how testing is used.
Per the University of California’s Academic Senate: “Test scores are also used at some campuses for purposes beyond campus admissions, such as part of scholarship decisions, for placement, to identify students who would benefit from extra support, and in honors program admissions.”
This isn’t surprising, but it is a fairly good list of ways a test score can boost a student’s candidacy, and it may be helpful to share this with your teen as you discuss the importance of diligent test prep this fall.
How Test Scores Can Help Guide Your College Search
Test scores are an excellent check of a students’ scholastic aptitude, but they’re just one important piece of the puzzle when it comes to your student’s college application.
The conventional wisdom in this area is strong: GPA and essays tend to matter more. A student’s engagement at high school, in the community, and in the admissions process can also be far more impactful than their test score at different stages of consideration.
Once you have a test score, you can begin looking at schools with a better understanding of where your student might fit in academically. If your student is still a junior and they’re not happy with their PSAT or practice SAT scores, these numbers can even provide necessary motivation to study harder and aim for higher achievement.
With this in mind, it’s important to leave standardized testing and preparation until the last minute.
Still Not Sure Where to Start? Begin with a Calendar or a Consultation
If you’re not sure where to begin the process, Academic Approach offers free diagnostic tests and score review sessions to students and families.
Our score review session is a private one-on-one consultation with an Academic Approach Director that will help determine whether the SAT and ACT is the best fit for your student’s goals, as well as test scheduling recommendations and identification of immediate areas for improvement on the test.
To schedule a free diagnostic test and score review session, please reach out to [email protected].