By Lauren Snow, Educational Writer for Supreme Tutoring
Graduating high school is a colossal event for many teenagers; it is the end of a very significant chapter in their lives. As if saying goodbye to what was their second home for the last four years wasn’t enough, they have the added pressure of taking the all-important SAT or ACT tests and choosing the right college for their needs right as the end of their adolescence approaches. This can be a stressful and anxiety filled time for both students and their parents, but there are strategies and tips that can cut down on the overwhelming task of preparing for college.
A common philosophy for choosing colleges is to pick a school at three different levels. The first pick is a reach school; a college or university that has slightly to moderately higher entrance standards than a student’s academic record would normally allow. Secondly, a pick right in their academic range, a college where their GPA and school rank fall right into. The third choice is a safety school, one that is marginally below their standards that would not be difficult to gain entrance into. The purpose of selecting a reach school is to give a student something to strive for as well as motivation to finish school on a high note. Their moderate pick gives them a school where they will fit right the academic mold. Their final choice, a safety school, serves as piece of mind just in case they do not get into their top choices.
When choosing each of these three schools, it is important for a student to consider what type of college they prefer, as this will greatly aid in narrowing down their list. The first thing to zone in on is academic programs. Choose only prospective schools who offer the major and/or minor a student is interested in. Research what schools offer the best program for their future field of study, regardless of the reputation the school may have. School size also plays a significant role in the college experience. Small colleges will have smaller, more intimate classes and campuses, while larger schools may have lecture hall classes where a student can lay low as well as a more vast campus. Lastly, think about location. Ask your child these questions: do you want to be far from home or do you want to visit often? Do you mind a 4 hour drive or a plane ticket to and from home? College location should not be taken lightly, even if their first instinct is to get away.
A student choosing a reach school may wonder how to boost their application when their GPA may be lacking. The solution is SAT scores. You cannot go back and scold your freshman child for slacking in math and say I told you so, but it can be made up for with stellar SAT test scores. Performing to the best of a student’s ability on the SAT is critical when it comes to impressing reach schools with an application, so it is imperative that a high schooler is prepared for the exam. The best way to ready a student for such an important test is to seek tutoring or prep classes from SAT certified teachers and tutors. SAT prep classes will teach students strategies and tips for answering the particular types of questions found on the SAT, and they will learn how to take advantage of the specific way the SAT is graded. They will also be instructed on how to write an essay up to standard, and they will be refreshed on all topics that are tested on the SAT. Taking a prep class and just feeling equipped with the appropriate skills will cut down on test taking anxiety.
Regardless of whether a student gets into their top choice or their fourth choice, do not forget to assure them that they will make lifelong friends and have a life changing experience no matter what college or university they attend.
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