Throughout the year, the EA Test Prep Team prepares students for the SAT and the ACT. At this time of year, we also help students write their college application essays. We want students and parents recognize how a variety of factors can impact these exams and the entire college application process.
The junior year 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 effectively including test preparation as part of their schedule. 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 even thinking about going to college can be fraught with stress. 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. Combine 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 child minimize the 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, each week, we post ideas on Facebook to make this a less troublesome process as well as alert parents and students to upcoming events that might be valuable. Additionally, look for our tweets!
If your child is a junior in high school, with your child present, take out a calendar and count the months until September 2018. Then write with a pencil on the calendar that college applications are due on September 30. Although this can be a bit of an exaggeration, depending on the college, it gives students a large window for errors to occur. (An error might be not achieving an adequate score on the SAT or not having properly researched colleges.) By setting and prioritizing what needs to be done to enter college, a high school junior can begin to fill in due dates. If your child resists because of a lack of certainty about the process, simply explain that you are writing in pencil so that anything can be changed. To start, 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 that your child can review it. Encourage your child to write additional college related activities. For example, when the high school hosts a College Night. Each time students write on the calendar, they are focusing on their goal of attending the college of their choice.