graphic blog post

So you have a teen who has taken or will be taking the SAT and/or ACT.  Do any of these stories sound familiar:

  • some schools will not accept the ACT
  • all colleges are looking for high scores
  • a score differential of 10 – 30 points on the SAT and 1-3 on the ACT will not make a difference
  • scholarships are only offered to students with limited financial resources
  • scores are the most important variable in college acceptance
  • colleges will favor the SAT scores from the current SAT or ACT over the redesigned SAT
  • don’t take the redesigned SAT as students are unfamiliar with it. This is one of the silliest myths!
  • all prep courses will review the same strategies and techniques
  • preparation in a group is the same as one-on-one preparation

These are just a few of the myths that I have been hearing for a while. There are of course some new ones, as we are on the cusp of a content change for the SAT. (I heard a lot of these rumors in 2005 when the SAT underwent another major change.) That said, let me debunk these myths now so parents can move forward with their teen with clarity and confidence.

Colleges publish a score range of acceptance as well as the score of the top 75% of those accepted. These scores are for the SAT and ACT as ALL colleges and universities accept both. The more competitive the school, the higher the score range.

For most schools, a difference of 10-30 points on the SAT or 1-3 on the ACT may not be a major consideration for acceptance; however, for the Ivy’s and very often the little Ivy’s, it could be the deciding factor. Since those students that apply to these schools are typically in the top 1%, a small increase may tip the scales in the right direction.

(For more information about how to easily find college options for your teen based on GPA and test scores, go to

There is a lot of merit scholarship money out there – especially this year – three times more than last year. That said, if your teen gets a score on the SAT or ACT that is above a particular school’s average range, a merit scholarship will be offered regardless of the parents’ financial resources. Case in point . . . I just heard from the parent of a student I worked with this past winter who scored a 31 on the ACT and was offered a $15,000 per year scholarship at Miami of Ohio!

So your teen is a great test-taker but only has a 2.5 GPA. For most schools that is usually the kiss of death. It says here’s a bright student who is immature and not motivated.  Since the college freshmen dropout rate is close to 34%, that is not the type of student most schools would welcome. Bottom line, scores should correlate with GPA. Extacurriculars, recommendations, and that ‘special something’ also play major roles in the acceptance process.

Look for Part 2 next week, where I will address the final 4 myths.

But, if you can’t wait to read next week’s post addressing the remaining myths.  . . I’m ready to answer your questions relative to your teen’s needs now! Schedule your complimentary Test Prep Strategy Session here so you can begin sooner than later to map a personalized game plan for your teen. I look forward to connecting with you!

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