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Actress and filmmaker Natalie Portman once said, “I’m going to college. I don’t care if it ruins my career. I’d rather be smart than a movie star.” The experience that you receive in a college is not something you can put a price tag on. The education received, skills learned and the memories will all equip you to be able to secure an enjoyable and rewarding career. Investing in your future by earning a college degree requires dedication and grit because there are several requirements, other than a high school diploma, that must be completed before applying to colleges. All high school students preparing for college must take the SAT Entrance Exam!
What is the SAT?
The SAT is a standardized admission test accepted by all U.S. colleges. This paper-and-pencil test helps colleges evaluate and compare different candidates on equal footing and provides a measure of a high school student’s readiness for college. The test comprises of four sections—reading, writing and language, math with no calculator, and math with a calculator. There is also an optional essay that is recommended or required by some colleges. The test is based on a 1600-point scale with both the math and evidence-based reading and writing sections scored between the range of 200 to 800. The essay-based section is scored separately and the scores are combined for the total.
The SAT is generally taken by students for the first time during the spring of their junior year and they receive their scores in four weeks. Make sure you choose the SAT test dates accordingly so that you have enough time to retake the test if you are not satisfied with your score.
How to study for the SAT
The SAT is not about memorizing words, facts, and numbers and replicating the same on your answer sheets. The test is a measure of what you have learned in your high school and how well-equipped you are to succeed in college.
- Start your preparations early. High school students have a lot going on to keep them busy, so it’s easy to lose track of time. Before you know it, it’s time for SAT. Keep track of your schedule and make sure you have enough time to start your preparations so that you don’t end up cramming everything at the last minute.
- You can take online, in-person, or private SAT classes to help you with the preparations.
- It would help if you also took a lot of full-format practice tests to familiarize yourself with the format and keep track of your progress.
- Be regular with your homework.
- Brush up your analytical skills and take-up quizzes.
- Read a lot, especially non-fiction, editorial articles, and essays.
- Work on your grammar and mental math skills.
- Rehearse for the big day to get the hang of what to expect on the test day.
- Keep all the test requirements in order and familiarize yourself with your test center.
Choose the right colleges to apply to
Once you have registered for the SAT, you’ll need to determine which schools to send your scores to. You most likely already know what you want to do as a career, but if you don’t, you can meet with guidance counselors who can recommend college majors based on your interests. The next step would be to research schools that offer these majors. Keep in mind their rankings, program details, student life, location, school type (community college, private college, or state college), etc. You should start with a list of about 20 colleges and narrow it down to five to ten to actually apply to; keep in mind most have application fees. Talk to some of your senior friends who have already selected their colleges. If possible, even talk with some professionals working in the industry and figure out the pros and cons of specific universities. Worst case scenario, you find the best school for you and declare an undecided or liberal arts major.
Keep a full plate
You can never be too ready with your admission requirements for college. Even if you have good SAT scores, impressive grades, and strong recommendations, it’s not enough. Every little bit counts as the competition is fierce, and even the slightest differentiating factor can put you ahead of the crowd. Make sure you participate in diverse extracurricular activities, take up advanced pre-college courses, and even apply to summer enrichment programs to reinforce your application. Don’t leave out sports and other hobbies as colleges prefer a well-rounded student who is good at multiple things.