September 15, 2011
Needless to say, the subject of testing tends to make both parents and kids nervous. That said, it is a necessary fact of life for most students completing the college application process.
And while your child may end up applying to a school that is “test optional,” unless they are extremely poor test takers, they should take the practice tests anyway and start down the path. (For a look at a list of test optional colleges, visit www.fairtest.org.)
In terms of which tests to take, I recommend that 10th graders sign up for the PLAN (practice test for the ACT) if it is offered at your school. Juniors should be signing up at school this fall to take the PSAT (practice for the SAT). Brace yourself: They will probably not want to do it as the tests are typically offered at 7:30 am on a Saturday. They will survive the day and the practice/test results are worthwhile!
By the way, if your child currently receives “test accommodations” at school, he or she can apply for these during college testing as well. Note that you need to work with your child’s school counselor to apply for these months in advance.
Also, for those juniors looking ahead to testing in the spring or for seniors testing soon, here are a few helpful resources:
- A terrific article on last minute ACT practice tips.
- A great collection of short video tutorials that cover the SAT math sections.
College Fairs Are Coming
Overall, fairs are definitely worth attending once your child gets started in the process. Plan to bring a bag to collect materials and try to get your child to jot down a few notes.
It’s best to look up schools attending in advance and to make a list of favorites to visit. If interested, your child should sign up at the school’s table to be on their mailing list and use the opportunity to make a good impression on the school representative. This may be the admissions officer who reads your child’s application and they sometimes take notes on students they meet.
Click here for a listing of college fairs this fall in New England. You may also find local high schools hosting college fairs.
Last Chance for Seniors
Seniors – this is your last chance to make a great impression!
Make sure this fall to visit any schools to which you intend to apply (that you haven’t visited already) and interview there if you can. Remember, some schools will admit a student with less impressive credentials because they demonstrated interest by visiting.
If a visit is not possible, your child can be in touch with the admissions person who handles your region to see if they are visiting your school /area or if you can interview by skype or with a local alumnus. Your child’s application should not be the first contact with the school!!
Take advantage of holidays or teacher’s professional days this fall (make sure the college is in session) to visit or re-visit and sit in on classes. Tours/interview slots fill up quickly this time of year, so plan ahead.