standardized testing

The Value of Test Prep, Part 3: Successful Test Prep - Guaranteed Return on Investment

Colleges often claim that admissions processes take a holistic view of students, and that no one area - ACT/SAT score, GPA, application essay - holds more weight than the next. While having a balanced candidate profile when applying for college is an ideal goal, the value of high ACT/SAT scores is not to be underestimated. Not only does outstanding performance on the ACT or SAT send a strong, distinct message to colleges, it also makes a variety of scholarship options available to your child - guaranteeing that you, as a parent, get a high rate of return on the time, effort, and resources applied toward test prep. 

Merit-based scholarships have among the most significant impact on reducing college costs overall. While these scholarships allow parents and students to get the best bang for their buck, they’re also an inspiring award for all the hard work your student puts in throughout his or her high school career. Each college awards merit-based scholarships on its own terms, but a recent release from the University of Rochester provided a rare glimpse into just how vital a role ACT and SAT scores play when it comes to allotting scholarship dollars. The numbers were astounding. For every ten points above average that a student earned on their SAT score, he/she was awarded about $115 in additional funds, per year. As for the ACT, every point above average amounted to an average $425 in allotted merit funds. Let’s use an example. Should you invest an average of $1500 into test-prep, and as a result your student performs about 150 points better on the new SAT scale or 4 points better on the ACT (a reasonable test-prep goal) than the average accepted student - then over the course of your student’s college journey your family could save about $2,000 per year or $8,000 over four years at the University of Rochester.  

Scholarship levels will vary school by school and requires individual research. Another example can be found using the University of Arizona’s model, where a student with a 3.25 GPA and 29 ACT will receive $6,000 additional dollars per year versus a student with the same GPA and 24 ACT. Five points can mean a $24,000 tuition difference over four years. The result? Test prep classes yield a significant ROI, which is why parents should think of ACT and SAT scores as opportunities for tuition waiving and consider determining their own ROI for their student's test prep services.

Remember, merit-based scholarships typically are granted on a four to five-year level, assuming your child continues to perform well in college. Not only does the monetary return on test prep go up in value, consider that foundational pre-college test prep equips students with the building blocks necessary to study effectively beyond high school - helping to secure ongoing merit-based scholarships throughout their college careers. 

Now, weigh the fact that high-performing ACT/SAT scorers are far more likely to be accepted at competitive universities, and combine that knowledge with what we now know about merit-based scholarship allotments. Suddenly, the value of test prep isn’t abstract, but quantifiable. All in all, test prep allows students to perform with more confidence and ability, in turn boosting their chances at being accepted to the college of their choice. What’s more? The odds of your child receiving a merit-based scholarship that he or she can maintain for the long term go way up, too.

Colleges often claim that admissions processes take a holistic view of students, and that no one area - ACT/SAT score, GPA, application essay - holds more weight than the next. While having a balanced candidate profile when applying for college is an ideal goal, the value of high ACT/SAT scores is not to be underestimated. Not only does outstanding performance on the ACT or SAT send a strong, distinct message to colleges, it also makes a variety of scholarship options available to your child - guaranteeing that you, as a parent, get a high rate of return on the time, effort, and resources applied toward test prep. 

Merit-based scholarships have among the most significant impact on reducing college costs overall. While these scholarships allow parents and students to get the best bang for their buck, they’re also an inspiring award for all the hard work your student puts in throughout his or her high school career. Each college awards merit-based scholarships on its own terms, but a recent release from the University of Rochester provided a rare glimpse into just how vital a role ACT and SAT scores play when it comes to allotting scholarship dollars. The numbers were astounding. For every ten points above average that a student earned on their SAT score, he/she was awarded about $115 in additional funds, per year. As for the ACT, every point above average amounted to an average $425 in allotted merit funds. Let’s use an example. Should you invest an average of $1500 into test-prep, and as a result your student performs about 150 points better on the new SAT scale or 4 points better on the ACT (a reasonable test-prep goal) than the average accepted student - then over the course of your student’s college journey your family could save about $2,000 per year or $8,000 over four years at the University of Rochester.  

Scholarship levels will vary school by school and requires individual research. Another example can be found using the University of Arizona’s model, where a student with a 3.25 GPA and 29 ACT will receive $6,000 additional dollars per year versus a student with the same GPA and 24 ACT. Five points can mean a $24,000 tuition difference over four years. The result? Test prep classes yield a significant ROI, which is why parents should think of ACT and SAT scores as opportunities for tuition waiving and consider determining their own ROI for their student's test prep services.

Remember, merit-based scholarships typically are granted on a four to five-year level, assuming your child continues to perform well in college. Not only does the monetary return on test prep go up in value, consider that foundational pre-college test prep equips students with the building blocks necessary to study effectively beyond high school - helping to secure ongoing merit-based scholarships throughout their college careers. 

Now, weigh the fact that high-performing ACT/SAT scorers are far more likely to be accepted at competitive universities, and combine that knowledge with what we now know about merit-based scholarship allotments. Suddenly, the value of test prep isn’t abstract, but quantifiable. All in all, test prep allows students to perform with more confidence and ability, in turn boosting their chances at being accepted to the college of their choice. What’s more? The odds of your child receiving a merit-based scholarship that he or she can maintain for the long term go way up, too.

At Achieve Academics, we understand first-hand the value of quality, successful test prep. Not only do small group classes or one-on-one tutoring options build academic ability and confidence within your child, it also provides him or her with personalized study strategies and habits that last well into college. ACT/SAT scores certainly don’t define your child or their chances of success, but they can absolutely make a difference when it comes to being accepted at his or her top choice university, as well as determine how much tuition comes out of your wallet. In other words, an investment in quality test prep early on can pay dividends shortly down the road. At Achieve Academics, we’re here to help both you and your child reap the rewards of test prep, no matter your student’s needs, learning style, or goals.

The Value of Test Prep, Part 2: 3 Steps Toward Stronger Self-Discipline

Photo Credit: Bigstock.com

Photo Credit: Bigstock.com

Whether prepping for the SAT or ACT, an AP exam, or completing schoolwork, discipline is an acquired skill that not only gives students an academic edge, but ultimately sustains them for a lifetime. Many students might not realize that they already have a command of discipline. For instance, being part of a sports team certainly demands discipline. Most students take seriously their commitment to regular practices, learning plays and strategies, working out in the off-season, game prep, and more. Without discipline, a team can’t rightfully expect a winning season. The same is true in academics.

With that in mind, consider the following ways students can make discipline the centerpiece of their test prep strategy:

1.     Prioritize

Self-discipline has been famously described as “the difference between choosing what you want now and choosing what you want most.” In a similar vein, proper self-discipline requires students to think critically about their agenda, to determine how and when their time is best spent. It may be helpful for students to write out all due dates and deadlines, along with their associated tasks, in order to create a prioritized test prep schedule.

2.     Be Good to Your Body

Disciplining the mind toward test prep is a venture best aided by disciplining the body, too. Studying is optimized by the endorphins released during exercise. Likewise, staying active is a natural stress reliever, which makes it easier for students to enact discipline when the time comes. Nutrition also plays a pivotal role in brain and body preparedness. We’ve all heard of “brain food,” and it’s true that certain food items can boost clarity and recall, such as eggs, dark chocolate, fish, and even caffeine (in moderation).

3.     Create a Routine

Self-discipline is far easier to employ if a student is grounded in a regular test prep routine. In addition to crafting a prioritized study schedule, it’s useful to curate a routine that can be followed repeatedly, so that positive test prep habits are cemented and reinforced over time. What’s more, creating a routine puts students in the driver’s seat, ensuring that their test prep approach is tailored to their learning style, needs, and individual goals.

4.     Take Cues from a Coach

A surefire way to instill self-discipline in students is to enroll them in a small test prep class or pair them with a one-on-one tutor. Guided test prep gives students the tools, resources, and framework to establish their own good habits and routines. With built-in accountability and structure, one-on-one tutoring and small group courses work as incubators for developing self-discipline.

At Achieve Academics, we offer a variety of small group classes and one-on-one tutoring services that not only boost your student’s SAT, ACT, and/or AP performance, but also provide personalized strategies so that students stay engaged and proactive throughout their academic career.