Test Scores MatterMarch 21st, 2018 by Jim Bell
Every college has a set standard they go by for admissions. Some colleges openly list those requirements and some universities are not as transparent about their admissions practices. Institutions of higher learning will often times convey to parents that their decisions are based on a wholistic review of the student. This is a bit ambiguous, but essentially it means they look at the entire student considering factors such as GPA, ranking, test scores, level of rigor in the academic record, activities, community service, honors, awards, leadership and several other factors. Even though a college promotes a wholistic review of their admissions standards, this does not exclude the university from adhering to a minimum standard for their admissions. The college will place a value on each area and if the student doesn’t meet the minimum standard of these factors of admissions, the other areas may not have the opportunity to overcome a deficiency in an area they struggle with. In a simplistic view of the process, the school may score an applicant in each area giving a percentage to each section. This being based on importance of reaching the standard for that area. Each school places an emphasis on different areas and no two schools are generally alike in their admissions standards. However, look at the sample Admissions Graph to get an overview of the process. Therefore, a student may have a strong resume, a solid record of leadership and a high GPA at a college preparatory school. However, they may have low test scores causing the college to question the level of academics of the secondary institution which can result in a perception by the college that the GPA is inflated. The end result is the student will not be considered simply because they did not meet the minimum standard of admissions based on their test scores. Even though a competitive university will say that test scores are not a single determining factor of admissions, they still have a minimum standard which will prevent a student from being considered to that institution. If Superman saved the entire city of Metropolis but had low test scores, all of the accomplishments he achieved would not be enough for him to be considered for admissions to some universities. His only chance of being considered for admissions would be if he was recruited to play football. In the end, test scores are an important part of the admissions process - unless you apply to one of a handful of schools who are score choice schools. Therefore, you want to develop a plan to maximize your score. It will have a bearing on college admissions and can open up doors of opportunity for thousands of dollars of scholarship opportunities. Try these tips to help you become successful on the SAT or ACT. 1. Take it more than once – Students who take the exam and never attempt it again are only offering a base score to the colleges. The majority of students improve their scores after taking the ACT or SAT three to four times. 2. Try both – Most times, students will perform better on or prefer one test over the other. You will never know if you do not try taking both the SAT and ACT. 3. Take a comprehensive test prep course – Learning strategies and improving content knowledge from an experienced instructor is the most effective way to improve your score. For true results, it takes 12-20 hours of outside, experienced instruction to bring improvement to your score. It is important for families to remember that the college admissions process is time consuming and exhausting. You should not navigate the difficult road to college admissions without the help of experts. It becomes more and more complex and competitive each year. Without a solid plan, you will consume enormous amounts of time and leave thousands of dollars on the table.