On Your Mind: College Admissions and Test Scores

Maria Elena Aguilar

College Admissions and Test Scores Aaaahhh the end of summer… gone are the lazy, endless  days you spent hanging with pals, boy watching at the mall  or setting up bonfires at the beach. As summer draws to a  close and you prepare to head back to school, there’s one  important thing you should keep in mind: Preparing for  college entrance testing. While your test results aren’t the  only factor that determines your college acceptance, they  do play a big role in getting you into the school of your dreams, so it’s important to be prepared.

If you are hoping to attend a school that requires or recommends higher test scores, then you should prepare for the college entrance exams as early as possible and enroll in study courses to ensure that you’re totally prepared.

Most colleges and universities require students to score well on the SAT’s, and the great thing about this test is that you can begin to prepare and take the “Practice SAT” as early as 8th grade. It is advisable that you enroll in test prep courses, but the disadvantage of these is that they can become expensive. You should ask your college counselor or a teacher about free SAT prep courses/study groups, which are sometimes provided at your school.

A great alternative is to get started early by signing up for the ACT — it’s accepted by almost every college that accepts the SAT, and often students who don’t do too well on the SAT’s score better on the ACT.
If you are starting to hyperventilate due to college test-prep overload, never fear. There are also many schools that do not require standardized tests for admissions consideration. You can find a list of those on fairtest.org. They have alternative requirements such as additional course requirements or higher GPA’s, but knowing that these colleges exist will get rid of your test-taking jitters.

You should also begin to analyze ALL of your college choices carefully. If you’re hoping to attend a more competitive college, you might have to consider attending a community college for two years, and then transferring after a couple of years. You’ll still need to have taken standardized tests to those schools that require them, but if you do exceptionally well in terms of GPA at the community college level, it will boost your chances of attending the four-year college of your choice.
As you prepare to head back to school this fall, remember that your long-term college goals are the most important investment that you can actually begin to prepare for right now.

Maria Elena Aguilar

Author Maria Elena Aguilar

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