Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Should You Worry Because of New SAT? NO!

Today's New York Times  headline - "New Reading Heavy SAT Has Students Worried" - is a catchy headline but I'm urging students (and their parents) NOT to worry!

Yes, there's a brand-new SAT in our midst and yes, no one knows how it will work, but students have many options besides taking this new test: 1. Take the ACT, which is now more popular than the SAT. In fact, the ACT's popularity is one of the reasons the SAT revised the test.  2.  Apply to test optional schools, of which there are about 800 (yes, all those zeroes!).  

You can see the list of test optional colleges/universities at the website for the National Center for Fair Testing. Please note: the list changes every year, and there may be limitations regarding scholarships at some schools when you don't submit test scores. Read the materials carefully.

As I stress to everyone I work with, most colleges look at the totality of the package of who you are when you apply, and high school grades remain at the top of the list of considerations. The test scores themselves will not make or a break an application, nor will essays themselves.  

Here's the opening of today's Times article. Useful info but don't be among the students who have something else to worry about. You don't. Skip the SAT, take the ACT, and/or look at options that don't require the tests.

BOSTON — For thousands of college hopefuls, the stressful college admissions season is about to become even more fraught. The College Board, which makes the SAT, is rolling out a new test — its biggest redesign in a decade, and one of the most substantial ever.
Chief among the changes, experts say: longer and harder reading passages and more words in math problems. The shift is leading some educators and college admissions officers to fear that the revised test will penalize students who have not been exposed to a lot of reading, or who speak a different language at home — like immigrants and the poor.
It has also led to a general sense that the new test is uncharted territory, leaving many students wondering whether they should take the SAT or its rival, the ACT. College admissions officers say they are waiting to see how the scores turn out before deciding how to weight the new test.

“It’s going to change who does well,” said Lee Weiss, the vice president of precollege programs at Kaplan Test Prep, one of the nation’s biggest test-preparation programs. “Before, if you were a student from a family where English was not the first language, you could really excel on the math side. It may be harder in the administration of this new test to decipher that, because there is so much text on both sides of the exam.” READ MORE