For certain parents, this is the most important article I’ve ever written. You are the ones with not-so-strong high school sophomores and juniors, but you’d like to see them at a good 4-year college. You have been told that “taking the SAT early is only for the top students in the class”. If this didn’t cow you and you asked “Why not my child?” you were not given a good answer.
The right answer is that taking the SAT early is ESPECIALLY good for college-bound, but not-so-strong students. Here are four unassailable reasons why not-so-strong students should take the SAT (or ACT) early in the junior year, or even in the sophomore year.
The 1995 change meant an impressive score appeared diminished. A 1220 in 1993 would become a 1320 in 1995. And when the SAT again changed scales in 2005, to a 2400 maximum, the 1220 appeared appallingly low (a 1220 currently puts a student in the lowest 10% of students bound for 4-year colleges).
There is a small group who will be highly disadvantaged when the SAT reverts to a 1600 scale: those adults age 40 and over who would like to be compared on the 2400 scale. Some of these adults are looking at career tracks where the employer is looking for high scorers.
One Last Chance For Adults
Newsflash for adults who took the SAT prior to 2005: the 2400 scale is vanishing in January. The 11-year experiment of SAT scores that use THREE 200 – 800 sections (2400 maximum) will end with the January 2016 SAT.
If you took the SAT prior to 2005 you were limited to 1600 points. 1520 back then was impressive; now it appears “below average”. If you took the SAT back then and wondered “what could I do on the new 2400 scale?” you have four chances to have that question answered: in October, November, December, and January.
Perhaps the most motivating reason for adults to take the SAT is for career opportunities. Some of the most prestigious financial firms, consulting firms, law firms, and laboratories take SAT scores into account. Some consulting firms recruit based on a candidate’s SAT scores, even when they are applying 10 years after high school.
For adults aspiring to careers where even a single industry firm cares about scores, taking the SAT is a low-cost ($57) career booster. A better score gives you workplace clout; it can only help with career offers and salary increases. The firms that hire by taking SAT scores into account WANT TO TOUT a high average. The higher the score an applicant can present, the more hiring her/him helps that average.
Podcast Clip for Rising Juniors and Sophomores. (3 min)
Recently, Mark Greenstein, Ivy Bound’s Founder and Lead Instructor, appeared on a Podcast hosted by Steve Schwartz, with College Admissions Toolbox, to discuss when to take the SAT. We feel parents of teenagers (and teens themselves) will profit from this 3 minute podcast, as Mark covers the content of the SAT and how it is changing. Teens in the class of 2018 and class of 2017 (rising Sophomores and Juniors) have the unique chance to strategize for a current SAT, a future SAT, and ACT, or a combination.
Choosing the Current or Revised SAT
The SAT remains a highly coach-able, unchanging test through January. In March 2016 the SAT changes dramatically. Rising Juniors and Rising Sophomores need to know the best strategy to follow in order to succeed. Ivy Bound Test Prep’s Founder and Lead Instructor, Mark Greenstein, tackles a few frequently asked questions in the below webinar, such as:
- Is the Revised SAT more friendly than the current SAT?
- Should my teenager prep for the current SAT or the Revised SAT?
- Who is better off prepping for the current SAT and who should wait?
- What will Miley Cyrus score on the New SAT? (okay, maybe no one can answer this one…)
In your new school, you will make new friends. We caution that it is a lot harder to make friends when entering after 10th grade. 9th and 10th see loads of students starting anew together. The fall varsity athlete who transfers to begin 11th grade will gain an instant group of chums; other 11th graders have it harder.
“Leaving your friends behind” should be a non-issue. You will keep your close 8th grade friends, even if you are in a boarding school. Plenty of prep school grads report long-kept relationships with their K-8 friends on weekends and in the summer. And these stretch back to decades when texts and Facebook posts were no substitute for actually hanging out.
We invite students and parents who have made transitions from public school to prep school to join in the conversation on the Ivy Bound Facebook page.