SAT/ACT Advice for Parents

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If you have a college bound student, understanding standardized tests can better equip you to navigate through the high stakes game of college admissions. Either test can be a deal breaker for acceptance letters and/or scholarships. Understandably, they can also be a source of anxiety and excitement. The good news is, help is here. Check out Access College America’s test prep advice below.

Purpose the SAT/ACT:

The SAT & ACT were created to ‘level the playing field’ with high school students and showcase how each applicant is prepared for college by measuring key skills like reading comprehension, English, writing, math and science. All schools in the US accept the SAT and most schools require either the SAT or ACT. A student’s score will be the second most important factor in decision making for admissions officers. Whereas the most important factor in persuading a committee is your student’s GPA, special attention to performance & rigor of curriculum.

Which Test is Better, SAT/ACT:

Both tests are recognized nationally, with US colleges & universities accepting both scores. However, before applying, we recommend prospective college students check with each institution to verify if there is a preference. The tests are different in length and subject matter; for example, the SAT does not include a science section.

Three Recommendations for SAT/ACT:

First, freshman year students should take both the PSAT and PACT to determine a performance benchmark, discover which test the student is strongest in then create a game plan for improvement. After there has been diligent test prep, along with course curriculum completed, consider retaking the practice test and see if the current improvement plan is effective. Next, some colleges still require/recommend the essay section of the test and students should take the SAT essay at least once. Students should be prepared to take the ACT essay each time because many colleges do not super score the ACT. Our third piece of advice is to focus on time management and understand how to pace yourself. Try not to finish the exam early. Learn how to allocate time appropriately. Bonus tip! Contact us for a free PACT/PSAT test referral!

Best Time for College Planning:

Sending your child to college will be one of the most expensive investments you can ever make. It is also one of the most precious gifts you’ll ever give because it lasts a lifetime so start preparing now! Attend our College Bound Workshop, Saturday, March 9th from 9:00am-to-11:00am at the Belle Johnston Community Center (FREE!). Call us to reserve your seat today @ 512-382-0059 or email

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Dale Price, MBA is a College Admissions Expert and Founder of Access College America LLC, a national provider for college planning solutions. Dale assists families as they navigate through the college planning process in high school with everything from academic planning, financial aid advice, essay preparation to college transitioning. Learn more about Access College America, visit Search @AccessCollegeAmerica on Facebook.