The more experience I get, the less inclined I am toward generalizations. That’s true in life outside of work, and that’s true of the many students with whom we work at CPE, from public or private school, New England or Florida, state school or ivy bound. With all the athletic, extracurricular, personal, and academic variables in busy high school juniors’ lives, it’s very difficult to make recommendations based on sweeping generalizations that actually apply to all or even most juniors.
Having said that, here’s a sweeping generalization and recommendation based on 25 years experience specializing in helping students get into colleges of their choice that I do think applies: however busy you are in March and April, you’ll be busier in May and June (and that includes the crazy busy instrumentalists, vocalists, dancers, and tech crew students in Hall’s Pops n Jazz after 3/21!). Your best opportunity to prep for and be done with the SATs and/or ACTs in your junior year is….NOW. That is, make a run for the March 14 SAT and the April 18 ACT, knowing you can retest with a lot of prep already under your belt in May (SAT) and June (SAT and ACT). You can always take another shot (or three) in the fall, but it would be more than nice to have an insurance policy in the form of scores good enough to send to college by the end of junior year!
Regardless of what you’ve got going on in March and April, in May and June you’ll have teachers wanting to get grades in the books, AP Exams (for many), research papers, final projects, cumulative tests, and final exam studying. That’s in addition to your sports and other activities. Trust me, again based on lots of experience, the time to pay the college entrance exam piper is NOW, especially if you don’t want SATs and ACTs hanging over your head during the summer.
There are many reasons to take both the SAT and the ACT (see, for example, Why the ACT is Just as Important as the SAT). You can prep with CollegePrepExpress for each one in a 6-Session class or save significantly with a Combo Class (any combination of one SAT and one ACT prep class). To help, we just added an SAT CRASH COURSE for the 3/14 exam starting this Sunday, 2/22, 5-7PM, with Dr. Yo in West Hartford and online (other class meetings are 2/25, 3/1, 3/4, 3/8, 3/11, all 5-7PM ET). There’s also a 6-session ACT class that starts the day after the March SAT 🙂 (3/15, 3/22, 3/29, 4/6, 4/12, 4/16). All dates and times and registration info for classes are here (http://collegeprepexpress.com/classes/class-schedule/).
One strategy many ambitious SOPHOMORES are pursuing is to try the “old” (i.e., current) SAT this spring, knowing they’ll get the first crack at the new SAT next spring and fall of senior year. Colleges don’t care one whit which SAT you send, and you might do better with the current format than the new. Definitely worth consideration!
Juniors should also think seriously about signing up for one of our CommonApp Boot Camps (http://collegeprepexpress.com/commonapp-boot-camp/) this summer, to get your apps done (or mostly done) before school starts in the fall. This is tremendously good advice, and I hope you’ll take it! 🙂 You’ll give up 5 1/2-days this summer, and bask in the glory of that great decision all fall while your classmates are freaking out.
If MATH in particular has got you worried for either exam, and/or the Math Level 1 Subject Test (remember that if you choose to send SATs as opposed to ACTs, many schools want to see TWO SAT Subject Tests as well), our 4-in-1 Super-Value Math Class is MADE FOR YOU! Next one starts a week from Saturday, 2/28. Details here (http://collegeprepexpress.com/mathclass/) Registration here (http://collegeprepexpress.com/classes/class-schedule/).
Finally, if you’re a student or parent in grades 8-11 and you haven’t attended one of Dr. Yo’s “College Admissions Secrets for Parents and Teens” presentations, what the heck is wrong with you? Kidding. The next highly informative talk featuring hot tips and insider intel is THIS SUNDAY, 2/22, 9-11AM, at Max a Mia in Avon. Details here (http://collegeprepexpress.com/secrets-for-parents-and-teens/). The breakfast is awesome, too :-).
Hey, no one said junior year was going to be fun. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second here, okay? Regardless of whether you make a legit run for the March SATs or April ACTs, the next two months are not going to be a party. Why not make a grown-up decision, make a great investment in your future, and make a difficult two-month stretch just a wee bit more difficult by prepping for these college entrance exams and being done with them?! You’ll be awfully glad you did when it comes time to complete your final projects of your junior year and jam on your final exams! And just imagine how much more awesome your summer will be…
We’re here to help make that happen! :-).