Many parents don’t realize the time to start planning for college is early in the high school years. You may think you have plenty of time to complete the tasks necessary for college entry in the senior year of high school, but the fact is the earlier you start college planning, the better.
One important consideration if your high school student is college bound is preparation for and the taking of the SAT or ACT college entrance exam.
ACT/SAT Scores – Make a Good Score Even Better
Some parents have their children take the ACT/SAT early in high school. Some even start testing their kids in middle school. You may ask what the benefits are of starting to test so early. Here are a few things to consider:
- Many students are very nervous when they go to take the ACT or SAT the first time. Because the tests are relatively inexpensive to take, the experience is worthwhile to help students perform better on future tests.
- High ACT and/or SAT scores are door openers at colleges and universities. Better scores can make a difference in being accepted or rejected at certain schools.
- High ACT/SAT scores qualify some students for scholarships they might not be eligible to apply for if their scores fall below a certain standard. While you may question the validity of paying multiple testing fees, consider also the money it could save you on qualifying for more scholarships.
- Some students perform better on the ACT and others perform better on the SAT. It is not a bad idea to give your student a chance at taking both exams, possibly multiple times.
- Make sure your child has the proper preparatory materials needed to study for the tests well in advance of the scheduled test days. Having the materials and using them are two different matters altogether. Make a schedule of study completion with milestones and dates, and follow up with your student to make sure he/she is progressing as required.
- There are sample tests online and in DVD format. Allow ample time for your student to go through the sample testing so weak areas can be isolated and additional effort applied toward any problem subjects.
- Don’t be too hasty to designate colleges to receive your child’s SAT/ACT scores. Some colleges evaluate multiple scores differently, and a low score could do more harm than good. Wait until your student has taken the tests at least twice. Then inquire at specific colleges you are targeting regarding their policy on ACT/SAT scores.
- Some colleges will admit students with substandard or below par ACT/SAT scores. This is usually termed conditional acceptance. Don’t fret if your child doesn’t score as high as you’d like on the SAT/ACT. It does not mean they cannot attend college, nor does it mean they are not college material. Every child is different and should be evaluated as such.