We had a great workshop on May 28. Here are some of the questions/comments and their responses:

1) What happens if a second test score is received after an application is submitted?

The college is going to use the test score that you originally submitted rather than wait for a new score. If you are applying for scholarships, colleges may use the new score to determine an award.

2) These are many of the same skills and strategies used when applying for a job.

Yes! And that’s a great way to approach it. Ask yourself what you are looking for in an ideal job/career and what about you would persuade the employer to hire you. That’s how your college application should be framed.

3) I was told to never write about death, disability, or disease (and nothing about politics or religion). But some of these questions are basically asking that. What is left to talk about?

I don’t think those are good rules to go by and I would actually encourage you to write about those things, if they are relevant. Regardless of what you decide to write about, you want to keep thinking about what you learned from that experience, how it has shaped your character, and possibly, how college will help you to continue working on that soft skill. You don’t want to merely write a description of the event or opinion; remember you are applying for admissions to a college so there needs to be some discussion of your personal growth, including resilience and critical thinking.

4) What are some strategies for the ACT and SAT?

My largest tip is to remember that you are scored for the number of correct answers, not if you finish the test. Students have trouble with this because it is the opposite of what you are doing in school. Always strategize by thinking: will the time I spend on this question yield a correct answer? If not, move on and come back to that one later.

5) Should I take the SAT again?
First consider if your range is within the range of what the school is looking for. If you scored a 1400 and 50% of the students at X College earned a 1410, you’re fine.

Next look at the questions you answered incorrectly or omitted—do you think, if you used your time differently, you could answer the question correctly? Or do you definitely not know the answer?

And assuming you did answer it correctly, would those additional points make a difference for your application (putting you further in the range)?