Parents nationwide are worried about how standardized tests for college entrance are changing.
If your child is taking the PSAT exam this fall, you may be wondering how it will be different from the old PSAT, and what your child should be doing in order to excel on it.
Today I’m providing 5 things that will save you from worry over standardized testing in general and the PSAT in particular.
First, be sure you’re emphasizing the right things when it comes to college prep
In some cases, families will put $700 of hard-earned family money and hours and hours of student work into a test prep course – but then put no time, no money, and no thought at all into helping kids figure out career goal before they choose which colleges to apply to.
This backwards plan can result in students running up odious, burdensome student loan debt attending “good schools” that don’t even prepare them for the careers they’re going to love someday. (Boston University is a “good school,” but you don’t go there if your eventual career is air traffic controller. To see my interesting blog post on this subject, click here.)
What’s a parent to do? This.
I’m going to talk about standardized testing in a second here – but in the meantime, if you’re wondering how in the world we can help 10th graders to get a sense of career goal before they start picking out colleges, download my free PDF on that subject here. (If your child is way past 10th grade, don’t worry; just read this free PDF as soon as you can.)
5 Reasons You Need Not Worry Too Much About Standardized Testing
1. There are currently 850 colleges and universities nationwide that don’t even look at standardized test scores when considering students for admission.
These schools refer to themselves as “test optional.” You can find the complete list of “test optional” schools on the website of The National Center for Fair & Open Testing at http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional.
2. The number of “test optional” schools is rapidly increasing. As a matter of fact, a record number of colleges and universities dropped their ACT/SAT score requirements in the past year.
Schools who’ve declared themselves to be “test optional” just in the past year include Beloit, Eastern Connecticut, Hofstra, Montclair State, Plymouth State, Temple, Virginia Commonwealth, and Wesleyan, among others.
3. Think that only “bad” schools would go “test optional”? The truth is that even top-ranked colleges are going “test optional” at unprecedented rates.
The fairtest.org “test-optional” list now includes more than 165 schools ranked in the top tiers of their respective categories. More than one-third of top-ranked national liberal arts colleges have test-optional policies.
4. If you wonder how your son or daughter is likely to perform on an upcoming standardized test, here’s a step you can take for free.
You can have your son or daughter take a free SAT, ACT, or PSAT practice exam courtesy of the KAPLAN test prep company at http://www.kaptest.com/college-prep/getting-into-college/free-practice-test. KAPLAN provides these exams to the public as a free service; taking one will not obligate you to buy a KAPLAN test prep course.
5. Are you feeling especially worried because your 10th or 11th grader will be taking the brand new PSAT exam this coming October, and so far nobody knows what will be on it? Here’s help.
It is well worth a student’s while to try to succeed on the PSAT — because the PSAT is the first step to possibly qualifying for a generous National Merit Scholarship.
To help you feel better about the new PSAT, KAPLAN is offering free 90-minute online PSAT information sessions between July 19th and August 30th.
Here’s what these free KAPLAN sessions will cover:
- How the new PSAT is structured, including an overview of the new test format, structure, and scoring.
- Side-by-side comparisons of how the new PSAT differs from the old PSAT and the current SAT.
- The rigors of the new PSAT, and how to strategically simplify its longer questions.
To sign up for a free KAPLAN Test Prep PSAT information session, click here: www.kaptest.com/psatsneakpeek.
The upshot of all this? Students and parents, start with the end in mind. Parents, help your child to get a sense of career goal early on (preferably in January of 10th grade), and only THEN look at expensive test preparation if it’s obvious that it’s absolutely necessary.
Big announcement today!
I’m going to be teaching a brand new one evening seminar in Woodbury, Minnesota this fall entitled “What Career Is Right For Me?” In this seminar, students in grades 10 and up will use three separate assessments to get a sense of career goal that will guide every other aspect of their college prep.
Space in this class is extremely limited. You can’t even sign up for this class yet, but do mark your calendar for Thursday, November 19th from 6:00 – 8:30 pm at East Ridge High School in Woodbury, Minnesota. (The nearest airport is Minneapolis St. Paul.) For more details about this and other classes I’ll be teaching in the fall of 2015, be sure you’ve subscribed to my email newsletter using the form on this website.
Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie Burlowski is a full-time consultant, author, and conference speaker. She helps parents set their kids up to graduate college debt free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. Her book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward is due out in late 2015. You can find Jeannie’s free help for parents in the “WHAT TO DO WHEN” section on this website. Follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.
“We only got around to doing a fraction of what Jeannie tells people to do in the free help on her website, and we saved well over $50,000 on college costs. Our daughter earned a four year degree from an excellent private university at age 20, and she’s now in California happily working her dream job at Disney. Get to one of Jeannie’s live classes if you can. Buy a plane ticket if you have to!” — Liz and Tim Weatherhead, parents, Bloomington, MN
What about you? What has your experience been in regard to standardized testing? What advice do you have for parents and students?