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College Track
Is College Around The Corner?

Is College Around The Corner?

By Jean Burk Author of
College Prep Genius:
The No Brainer Way to SAT Success

Is college knocking at your door? If you are the parent of a high school age student don't wait until your child is a senior to start thinking about preparing for college. Here are some steps to help you right now when it comes to conquering the inevitable college entrance test known as the SAT.

Freshman — Read some good classic books and incorporate some logic curriculum into your studies. Take the PSAT/NMSQT in October for practice. (This helps you get familiar with the test and you get your test booklet back to review.) Practice test-taking techniques about 30 minutes a week with actual College Board practice tests. Only take an actual SAT if you are scoring around the national average of 1500.

Sophomore — Continue with logic and reading good books. (They are usually full of great vocabulary words.) Again, take the PSAT/NMSQT for practice in October. Practice test-taking techniques about an hour a week. Take a couple of SAT's in the fall since you will already be studying for the PSAT/NMSQT. (The tests are basically the same except for the essay.)

Junior — Absolutely take the PSAT/NMSQT in October. This is when it counts for all the big scholarship opportunities. (This could include full tuition, room and board, honors dorms, study-abroad stipends, graduate money, etc.) Practice test-taking tips 2 hours a week leading up to the PSAT/NMSQT. Take a couple of SAT's in the fall and a couple more in the spring if you want a higher score.

Senior — Check to see if the college you are interested in wants an early decision. If so, you'll need to take the October SAT and possibly the November SAT test. If not, go ahead and take the December SAT as well. (Student's scores should improve each time and there are no penalties for taking it many times since colleges generally drop the lowest scores and sometimes will take the highest scores in each section from different tests. If you want a higher SAT score, go ahead and schedule 2-3 more in the spring. (There is still a January, March, May and June test.) After all, this is your last chance.

Make sure that each year the student is adding more community service on their transcript. Also, strive to do well in school because sometimes the student's GPA can mean the difference in acceptance for certain state schools who only take the top 10%. Start doing college searches and campus visiting as early as ninth grade. Many colleges have weekends designed just for visiting students who potentially may attend their school. Start applying for scholarships. There are many that are designed for the younger high school-aged student, so don't wait.

Parents need to understand that the longer they wait to help prepare their student for the SAT, the less time the student will have to improve. This not only will help their scores when it comes to college entrance, but also can put them in line for scholarships. College is just around the corner and can sneak up on you fast. Armed with a little bit of knowledge and some preparation, the steps to college can be made easier when families start early.

Meet Jean Burk

About Author Jean Burk

Jean Burk is the author of "College Prep Genius: The No Brainer Way to SAT Success." She has written numerous articles about the SAT and PSAT/NMSQT. She has been featured as an SAT expert on Good Day Dallas (Fox 4) and KXAS (NBC 5). She currently travels and speaks about the importance of college preparation, and teaches her "Master the SAT" Prep Class all over Texas.

Both her children received incredible scholarships because of their PSAT and SAT scores. Her teaching DVD will be released in the Spring of 2008, as well as the first edition of the brand new VocabCafé Book Series intended to help teenagers and younger children increase their knowledge of vocabulary words.

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