As the parent of a college-bound high school junior or senior, you are sure to have questions about how to help guide your child through the college application process. If you’ve reached the point of identifying the ACT as the college admissions test your student will be taking, you may now be wondering, Would a private tutor help boost my child’s score on the ACT? How does private ACT tutoring work? Can it help make for a smoother college application process overall?
These are all common questions and concerns. The college application process— including the steps necessary for preparing for the ACT—can be a bit confusing and overwhelming. Below are 5 ways to help your student make the process as smooth as possible, including the added benefits that private ACT tutoring can provide.
1. Create a Schedule and Stick to It
Making a plan and creating a timeline are key. With so many college visits, test dates, and deadlines to worry about, creating a detailed calendar with your child will help you both stay on track. The College Board has helpful checklists to get you started.
Be sure to factor in studying for the ACT in the months leading up to test dates. A private tutor can help create a test prep schedule, keeping in mind on which dates the tests are offered. Regularly scheduled private ACT tutoring sessions can help your student improve his or her score—past A+ Test Prep students have shown an average 4-point improvement in their ACT composite scores.
2. Don’t Freak Out About Acceptance Rates
Some top institutions boast admitting only 5.9 percent (Harvard) or 5.07 percent (Stanford) of applicants, but don’t let those statistics deter you. Kevin Carey of the New America Foundation argues in a New York Times article that 80 percent of top students are accepted to at least one elite school. He goes on to explain that the institutions reporting such low acceptance rates are receiving more applications than ever before, thereby bringing acceptance rates down.
Encourage your child to research the average test scores of colleges that interest him and make sure he applies to a range of schools to increase his odds of being accepted. A private ACT tutor can help determine your child’s potential and set realistic score goals for your student, keeping his or her college preferences in mind.
3. Look at the Whole Picture
Don’t let your student get too overwhelmed by one specific facet of an application. Remember, college admissions officers look at the whole picture. Sociologist Mitchell Stevens spent 18 months in a college admissions office determining what makes these gatekeepers tick. He reaffirmed the notion that schools consider GPA, class rank, the rigor of the student’s course load (AP and honors classes), extracurricular activities, and test scores when evaluating applicants.
For students who historically do not do well on standardized tests or who have taken the ACT before and not scored as well as they hoped, it is well worth the investment to hire a private ACT tutor. However, be flexible—it’s also possible that your student may benefit more from an investment in one-to-one subject tutoring to bring up grades in a specific subject or an academic coach to help with study skills or time management.
4. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Students are applying to more schools today than ever before. The Common Application allows students to apply to any of its over 500 member institutions with a single application. This streamlined process can save your child a lot of time and stress. Some schools allow students to write a personal statement rather than answer a specific essay topic; this essay can then be used for several applications. Your student can maximize the use of application materials by customizing for each institution only as necessary.
With extra time saved from using the Common Application, your student will have more time to dedicate to improving grades, working with a private ACT tutor, or participating in an extracurricular activity—all factors that may positively impact your child’s chances of getting into a preferred school.
5. Make Sure Your Child Takes a Break
High school students admit that succeeding in high school and dealing with the college application process have become a sort of competition. The last thing you want your child to do is suffer through his entire senior year due to the stress and uncertainty of what lies ahead. Encourage your child to takes breaks from test prep and college preparation to enjoy the culminating activities of high school.
Working with a private ACT tutor saves your child time and frustration, so she doesn’t get bogged down and lose valuable time trying to navigate through impersonal test prep manuals and practice tests on her own. An A+ ACT tutor knows how to guide your child expertly through both the content and strategies needed to do well on the test.
It’s easy to see how private ACT tutoring can be a great option to maximize a student’s ACT score, but working with a one-to-one tutor also helps your student stay on track during the test prep and college application process. If you’re interested in learning more about how our one-to-one test prep process works for the ACT, or you would like to hear more about our tutoring services for college applicants, feel free to give us a call.