There are many reasons to go to college, but preparing for it may be the most exciting and stressful time, simultaneously. It’s is an investment you make for your future and college degree recipients historically earn more, have better economic security, live healthier lives and participate in their communities.
However, the amount of time you spend preparing for college, while it can lead to great benefits, is a tough hill to climb. The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is the most widely taken standardized college-admissions test. It functions primarily as a factor in admission to American colleges and universities.
A top tier score is needed to attend a solid university, yet to attain elite status, near perfection is necessary. That’s the difference between Harvard and a mid-range university, according to Roslyn Heights resident Dr. Ira Wolf. As a former college professor and the author of several leading books on test preparation, including How to Prepare for the SAT and How to Prepare for the PSAT, Wolf said there are multiple factors when determining the value of a score.
“An 1800 out of 2400 on the SAT’s is a phenomenal score for somebody applying to Adelphi or Hofstra University,” he said. “However, an 1800 is a weak score for someone who wants to go to Stanford or Duke University. Unless you’re a star football player or have something else going for you, you’re never going to get into those schools with an 1800.”
Wolf is also the founder and president of much acclaimed PowerPrep, Inc. based in Roslyn Heights, which offers programs in SAT preparation and standardized testing.
The argument could be made that your SAT score is the biggest factor determining your acceptance into premier elite universities. However, college application take multiple aspects into account on every application in an attempt to determine if you would be a good fit at a particular school, according to Wolf. SAT scores are just one part of the application. Admissions officers will also want to see a strong academic record, a winning essay, meaningful extracurricular activities and good letters of recommendation.
“Really, the question is not what is a good score, but is the score I got the first time I took the SAT, good enough for my purposes? There are important test-taking strategies that can help students earn significantly higher test scores,” Wolf said.
Most students take the SAT during their junior or senior year in high school and at least half of all students take the SAT twice; in the spring of their junior year and in the fall of their senior year.
The SAT tests the reading, mathematics and writing skills and knowledge students acquired as part of a rigorous high school curriculum. The highest possible SAT score in is 800 in three categories.
More than 1.66 million high school students in Class of 2013 took the SAT at least once across the country. It is administered seven times a year in the United States in October, November, December, January, March, May and June.