Preparing for college with SAT, ACT tests

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Applications? Check. College tours? Check.

The college preparation to-do list grows as high school students approach graduation, and one large item on the list is the SAT or ACT test.

“Most colleges and universities accept either an SAT or an ACT [score]as part of the college application process,” said Jennifer Bailey, Leander ISD interim chief communications officer. “Students should review the college or university website of schools they are interested in to get a feel of the average SAT/ACT score for students at their college or university.”

Before entering the testing room, students can take several steps to make sure they are as prepared as possible. Although the high school curriculum should provide an appropriate foundation for student success on these exams, Bailey said targeted SAT and ACT practice is recommended.

LISD works with local resources to provide students with classes and preparation. More Than a Teacher, a company based out of North Austin, hosts classes and tests throughout local school districts, including LISD.

Andy Albright, CEO of More Than a Teacher, said the amount of preparation necessary varies from student to student but said no student should go into the test with no preparation.

“If students are planning to take an SAT or ACT, they should definitely prepare and practice beforehand,” he said. “Practice materials are readily available online.”

He said parents and students need to consider if they would like to use their scores for scholarship applications, starting with the PSAT.

“There is a very large scholarship program for the PSAT,” he said, referring to the National Merit Scholar Program.

For the SAT or ACT test, Albright said preparing for the test not only can help scores for admissions but can also open the door for more scholarship fund opportunities.

The SAT is offered seven times a year and the ACT is offered six, although that will increase to seven in 2018.

There is no limit to how many times a student can take either of these tests, and Albright said universities will accept the best score.

In October, LISD eighth graders and freshmen take the PSAT, while sophomores and juniors take the PSAT/NMSQT. Once students have reviewed their scores, the school district encourages them to plan to register for the SAT or ACT in the spring of their junior year, Bailey said.

She said the district offers released SAT and ACT tests that students can use as assessments and “provide students an opportunity to practice in a timed setting and get feedback on their
performance.”

More Than a Teacher offers free consultations, group classes and private tutoring. According to the organization’s website, it offers classes through Cedar Park’s Summit Christian Academy, Cedar Park High School, Founders Classical Academy in Leander, Rouse High School and Vista Ridge High School.

Albright said students inevitably do not score as well as they should the first time they take the test.

“The SAT and ACT require many of the same skills that students need to master for college success,” Albright said. “[Through preparation] we can walk them through every required skill and help them improve. The shift in how students view their own potential as they see measurable gains is tremendous. Seeing their scores improve builds their confidence, which helps as they go into college and move away from their parents and ultimately become independent.”

Preparing for college with SAT, ACT tests

Preparing for college with SAT, ACT tests Preparing for college with SAT, ACT tests

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