Some parents are skeptical about the value of SAT or ACT prep camp or course. Does my son or daughter really need it? Is it worth the price? These are legitimate questions, so perhaps the best way to answer these questions is to consider the facts.
More students are attending college than ever before. While this is a positive trend, it has also created a lot of stiff competition.
It is no longer good enough to be “smart.” With so many qualified applicants, high school students who wish to attend a highly competitive college need to do more than rank in the top 15 percent or maintain a 3.5 GPA to stand out to college admissions counselors.
Today’s all-stars now have resumes that include about a semester of college credit hours, a short stack of extra-curricular sports, activities and clubs, a list of competitive awards, some elected leadership positions and a running tally of community service hours. Oh, yes, and the stand-out applicant also needs to have stellar SAT or ACT score.
Even if your high school student is well positioned to gain acceptance into a top school, if you have the means it is still smart to enroll him or her in an SAT or ACT prep camp at least once to give him or her as much leverage as possible.
4 Reasons Why an SAT or ACT Camp Is Worth It
1. More scholarships & financial aid
Students with stronger SAT or ACT scores have a greater chance of receiving college scholarships and healthy financial aid packages.
The National Merit Scholarship Program, for example, selects its recipients based on their PSAT score. Colleges also rely heavily on SAT or ACT scores when awarding merit-based scholarships. Finally, students with higher scores usually receive stronger financial aid packages (i.e. more grants and work study, less loans) than their peers with lower scores.
College tuition is not cheap, so investing in an SAT or ACT prep camp may end up giving parents a nice return on their investment.
2. Assess level of readiness
The unofficial test score from an SAT or ACT prep camp helps students discover their level of readiness.
This eye-opener is probably the greatest benefit because parents can assess the strengths and weaknesses of their teen and take steps to close any knowledge gaps. Parents, for instance, can purchase study guides or hire tutors to cover any material their child forgot. They may also meet with the high school counselor to make any course changes.
The score from an SAT or ACT prep camp will provide the baseline for parents to begin measuring their student’s improvement.
3. More learning
Nearly every student will learn more from an SAT or ACT prep camp than self-studying at home.
Books and some online courses may be cheaper, but most teens need the focused classroom environment to take their learning seriously. The main advantage is the teacher. The teacher does more than quiz students; she or she can provide further explanation and instruction for the more complicated test problems. The teacher can even offer test strategies and problem-solving tips.
Parents may have to pay more, but the knowledge their child gains from SAT or ACT prep camp will exceed what can be achieved from studying alone.
4. Easier testing
Students who attend SAT or ACT prep camp will have an easier time taking the official test.
Because the teens are already familiar with the sections and format of the SAT or ACT, they will fumble less through the test pages and better manage their time. Their deductive reasoning skills will be sharper, and they can answer questions more decisively. The test will still be challenging and intense, but the test-taker will experience less stress and self-doubt.
An SAT or ACT prep camp will help students become better test-takers, which is a value in itself.
Keep in mind that an SAT or ACT prep camp may certainly boost your student’s score, but it cannot replace four years of high school. You need to make sure your son or daughter is following the most rigorous course curriculum and taking Advance Placement classes.
Also, do not wait until your teen’s senior year of high school to register him or her for an SAT or ACT prep camp or course. These camps are not intended to be a “one-shot” or “last-ditch” effort. Students should start preparing for college admission tests in their early years of high school while they still have time to catch up and get on track.
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