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Local Scholarship Deadlines Nearing

There are quite a few local scholarships with approaching application deadlines.

  1. The Arlington Board of Realtors offers scholarships to “5 students graduating from an Arlington ISD, Mansfield ISD or Kennedale ISD high school, an area private school or an area home school.”  Amount:  $1000 each.  Deadline:  February 27, 2019.  Link to apply:  http://www.arlingtonrealtor.com/index.php/our-foundation/foundation-education
  2.  The Arlington Voice Investigative Journalism Scholarship is available to “students of public, private, and homeschooling environments.”  Amount:  $500.  Link:  https://arlingtonvoice.com/scholarship
  3. Scovell Scholars awards students in North Texas who are planning to attend a Texas college or university.  Deadline:  March 1.  Amount:  $4000.  Link:  http://scovellscholars.com/
  4. The FWHCC Scholarship is available to high school seniors who reside in Tarrant County.  Deadline:  April 19, 2019.  Amount:  $500 – $3000.    https://www.fwhcc.org/scholarships/

Here’s a great link to some of these scholarships and more like them provided by the Arlington School District:  https://www.aisd.net/district/departments/academic-services/transformational-learning/social-and-emotional-learning/guidance-and-counseling/scholarships/

Also, scholarship search engines such as https://fastweb.com and https://www.scholarships.com/ can help match you to specific scholarships for which you qualify.

Things to consider when you register

When you are ready to sign your kid up for the SAT or ACT, there are some important details to consider.

First, when choosing a test site, most people just consider convenience, which is understandable.  But, it is a good idea to also consider the test location.  Sometimes the largest sites with the most kids can also be the most chaotic and involve longer wait times to get started and be the most distracting.  I recommend looking for a site that is smaller in terms of number of test-takers.

Secondly, when you choose a test date, try to pick a date when you’re kid doesn’t have too much going on.  For example, if your kid is involved in football or band, it might better to wait until the end of the season.  Or, if taking the test during the season is necessary, try to find a test date that coincides with a home game so that your kid isn’t out too late.

Finally, take note of the SAT and ACT dates that offer test verification so that you can get a copy of the test after the fact.  This way, your kid will be able to review the test and correct what he or she missed.  This will help your kid prepare for the next test and give him or her a better shot at a high score.

Here’s the link for SAT’s Question and Answer Service(scroll down to “Question and Answer):  https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/scores/verifying-scores

Here’s ACT Score Verification(scroll down to “Score Verification Service”):  http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/scores.html

 

When should kids begin preparing for the SAT and ACT?

It’s better to begin early than late to prep for the SAT and ACT

Over the years, I have heard so many parents say that they wished that they would’ve had their kids start preparing earlier.  In my experience, the parents start seeing their kids gain confidence and see real improvements in the scores, and they wonder how much better their kids could’ve done if they had had more time.

Starting early has several advantages

First, it gives students an opportunity to become more comfortable with the test and understand what skills and concepts are being emphasized.  Second, it gives students more time to review math and grammar concepts that need to be refreshed or reinforced.  Third, starting early gives students more time to learn pacing strategies and get used to working under a time crunch.  Fourth, it gives students more time to improved their reading comprehension and vocabulary.  Fifth, it gives students more time to take the test more than once.

When to start

Ideally, you should early in their 10th grade year or in the Summer before.  This gives students time to prepare for their sophomore PSAT which is in October.  Also, beginning at this time is more relaxed because there is very little pressure so it’s easier to focus on the underlying skills that the tests are measuring.

If you aren’t able to begin during the 10th grade year, you still have enough time to begin early in the Fall of their junior year.  This gives you a chance to prep for the October PSAT and later Fall SATs or ACTs, as well as tests in the Spring.  This gives you a chance to focus your strategies on multiple tests which you can assess and use to set final goals.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this post or prep in general.  Also, here is a link to a timeline from Khan Academy that might be helpful:

Master Timeline

College Prep for 10th Graders-Continued

Honors Students

Taking the PSAT test as a 10th grader is very important for honors/AP students. It will indicate if they have a decent chance at qualifying for a National Merit Award as a junior.  Sophomores who score above 1300 may be able to score high enough as juniors to qualify.

Also, as with non-honors students, taking this test will give the student a diagnostic test that will indicate strengths and weakness. This will be valuable in determining how to set up an SAT program and in providing a baseline to which to compare the next PSAT and subsequent SATs.

Test familiarity increases with each testing experience. All 10th graders who plan to attend college should consider taking the PLAN test as well. The PLAN test is made by the same people that make the ACT. It tests the same skills that the ACT tests and will give you a score that would indicate how you would do on the ACT. The purpose of the PLAN is to provide the student with practice and a diagnostic tool.

Select dates that let you order the test release.

Parents can order a copy of the actual test that your child takes on certain test dates.  This provides critical information about pacing and focus and what areas the student needs to work on.  If your child is preparing for the SAT and ACT this Spring, consider signing up for this service.  You can sign up when you register.

The SAT option is called the Question and Answer Service and is available for the
May test.  This is not the same as the Student Answer Service which only gives you an overview but doesn't provide the test questions.  College Board charges $18 for the Question and Answer service, but it is worth it.  Here's a link to more info:    https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/scores/verifying-scores

The ACT version of this service is called the Test Information Release and is available for the 
April and June tests.  The ACT charges $20.  It's worth it.  Here's a link to more info:  http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/scores/request-a-copy-of-qa.html

If you have any questions about these options or other questions about the tests, please contact me.  The office number is 817-451-6200

SAT or ACT: Which is better for you

Many parents come to a crossroads regarding which admissions test would be best for their child. Many stick with the test that is more prevalent among colleges in their area. For example, the ACT is more prevalent in Oklahoma and Arkansas, whereas the SAT is more popular in Texas. Surprisingly, this is not because colleges in these places exclusively require one test or the other. In fact, I do not know of a single school in any of these three states that exclusively requires either test. Therefore, students should choose according to what is best for them.

The best approach for nearly every student is to take both tests. A student may elect not to send the scores to schools from any test until he or she is ready. For example, say a student plans to take both tests during the spring of their junior year but is not sure how they will do. They can decide not to send the scores to any colleges until they find out how they did. There is an additional fee but it might be worth it just to relieve some of the pressure. If they like their, scores they can go ahead and have them sent to the colleges to which they are applying or they can decide to take either test again and then send the scores.

Another reason to take both is that some students may do better on one test than the other. This may depend on a student having skills that are better suited to one test more than the other. For example, students who know all the key math formulas have an edge on the ACT because these useful formulas are not included in the test instructions; students must know them. In contrast, these formulas are present as part of the SAT instructions so students do not have to know or memorize them.

Sometimes a student may feel more comfortable with the nature and design of one test over the other. I had a student last year who did well on the ACT math section but poorly on the SAT math section. This difference appeared consistently on both real and practice tests. She was above the 60th percentile on the ACT math section and around the 40th percentile on the SAT math section. The only explanation I could come up with was that the layout of the ACT fit her better. Taking both tests will give the student feedback that he or she can use to decide if another test is a good idea and which test on which to focus their preparation. If the student does considerably better on one test, they should probably study for and take that test again.

Excerpt from The Parent’s Guide to the SAT and ACT by James Pipkin, 2007