Life Events

Life events pose a unique challenge because each is a new or infrequent occurrence for which many people have little or no prior experience.

When it comes to parenting, you have the knowledge of your own childhood to draw upon. However, try as you might, it is unlikely that today's children will think the same, act the same, and face the same challenges as you.

In these circumstances, a little dose of commonsense advice can help

Here is our advice on these topics.
/ Parenting / Getting Ready for College /

The Importance of the SAT Test
Most college-bound students will take the SAT and SAT II tests near the end of their junior year or in the first semester of their senior year. Colleges generally do not disclose what weight they give to these tests in their admission decisions. Indeed, the weight may vary among applicants.

Consider 2 applicants to the same college. Sally goes to a competitive high school that has sent excellent students to the same college in the past. She is a straight A student who is first in her class. However, her SAT scores are low for an A student. The admissions officers are likely to treat her SAT scores as an aberration, and discount them.

On the other hand, Billy goes to a high school that does not have such a stellar reputation. He also is an A student who is first in his class. The college admissions officers might interpret his low SAT scores as a sign that perhaps his grades are inflated.

The PSAT (Preliminary SAT) is offered during October of the junior year. The PSAT, additionally, is the qualifying test for National Merit Scholarships. There also is a practice PSAT offered during October of the sophomore year. Performance on these tests can predict performance on the SAT.

The guidance staff at your child's school should give you an indication of how well he (she) has scored on the PSAT relative to his (her) academic record and abilities. If your child has underachieved significantly, perhaps an SAT preparation course would be a good investment. These courses, offered by a variety of companies, make students more comfortable with the type of questions offered on the test, and help them to arrive at the correct answers more quickly. If you choose to enroll your child in an SAT prep course, insist on seeing data that demonstrates the improvement in scores that the course obtains.

Another option, especially for more self-motivated students, is to buy a book of practice tests. Before choosing between a book or a course, you should consult your child's guidance counselors for their opinions and suggestions.
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