The junior year of high school is filled with academic, extra-curricular, and social demands, which often exceed what a student has experienced. Combine these pressures with thoughts about college, and it becomes apparent why many students have difficulty dealing with these different aspects. For many, including test preparation (SAT or ACT) as part of the schedule often falls to the wayside. However, without paying ample attention to at least one of these tests, applying to the ideal college might result in disappointment that could be avoided by a greater awareness of the college application process and/or developing the academic skills required for a more seamless transition into college. Of course, the quintessential problem becomes how to incorporate more tasks into an already full schedule.
First, it is important to recognize that you will get all the tasks done, but thinking about them in a calm and organized way will smooth the process. And remember that for almost everyone, even thinking about going to college can be fraught with stress, both parent and child. For a student, it is a combination of wanting to go to the "perfect" college but not wanting to leave everyone and everything that is familiar. Combining this with the reality of the amount of effort required to prepare for the SAT and/or ACT, determining the colleges that are "reach, target, and safety" schools, as well as the written work to complete applications, can produce a high level of tension. A student's motivation, self-confidence, and skills will influence the response to this situation. For a parent, the concern about how much college will cost and the value of that expense becomes a concern. Additionally, parents want to help their children minimize stress while still achieving all the college application requirements in a timely manner.
With all these pressures, EA Test Prep would like to offer some suggestions to ameliorate the tensions that can develop. To achieve this, periodically, we will post ideas to make this a less troublesome process as well as alert parents and students to upcoming events that might be valuable.
As a junior in high school, take out a calendar and count the months until next September. Then write, in pencil, on the calendar when college applications are due for next year. Although this can be a bit of an exaggeration, depending on the college, it lets everyone see that there is plenty of time to get everything accomplished. For example, if you don’t achieve an adequate score on the SAT or have not properly researched colleges then there is time to correct errors if you plan ahead. Write the following information on your calendar:
· Every date that the SAT and ACT can be taken and circle the preferred test date
· Dates to visit colleges (Although students may not have chosen a college, planning dates to visit schools makes the process seem real.)
· Dates to meet with the high school college counselor regarding "reach, target, and safety" schools recommendations
· Dates to meet with a tutor to prepare for the SAT and/or ACT
Once this is accomplished, place the calendar in a prominent place so everyone can review it. Don’t forget to add any high school event related to college like when the high school hosts a College Night.
Remember EA can make this process easier.