Test prep for college entrance exams is fundamental to increasing your child’s chances of being accepted to the college or university of his or her choice. Getting familiar with the tests will help him score higher, and higher scores can unlock opportunities that he would otherwise miss out on. Yet, familiarity alone isn’t enough to help students earn a better score. Strategy plays a huge part in how well students do on the tests, and most need the guidance of an experienced test specialist to learn how to handle these unique exams.
Here are the top three reasons why test prep is an essential part of your child’s college application process:
1. The Competitive Edge: College Admissions
Competition for college acceptance is stiff, as more students than ever before are applying to college. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average number of applications per college increased by a startling 60 percent between 2002 and 2011. And of those who apply to top colleges like the Ivies and Stanford, the acceptance rate is sometimes as low as 5 percent.
Test prep can help your son or daughter develop the test-taking skills and strategies to earn his or her personal-best score and get an edge over the competition: every other high school junior who is applying to the same college(s). This is especially important if your child’s other qualities — grades, volunteer experiences, afterschool activities, references, etc. — are about equal to the majority of applicants’.
It’s also important to note that some colleges and universities have varying “cut” scores for different majors, particularly in math and science. Knowing what score your child’s program requires before beginning the college application process will help your student make wise choices about which colleges to apply to. If the cut score for a particular major is a bit of a stretch for your child, but not bordering on the impossible, the right kind of test prep could well make the difference. If your child is scoring lower than necessary in math, for example, taking an online class (often called a “webinar”) or signing up with a test specialist for tutoring might just be enough to boost her over the cut score hurdle.