The confluence of some troubling news, and a piece of direct mail a few days later, led me to the topic of this blog post.
You may have heard about the goings on at Great Neck North High School, a high school very similar to ones in our area. A ring of students were paid thousands of dollars to sit through - and deliver top scores - on SAT and ACT exams for their middling peers. The perpetrators were arrested and investigations continue. As a result, security on exam day has intensified: students are asked for ID when they enter the school building and when they enter the exam room. Soon, they will be fingerprinted.
Not soon afterwards, I received a direct mail piece from a major test prep company that said, “Many students are not accepted into their top choice school: they fail to meet college admissions test scores.” Do letters like these cause widespread panic?
The college admissions process is made up of a multitude of factors. Yes, SAT and ACT scores are important. But, the single most important factor is the academic transcript. Strong grades in challenging courses can – and in many instances will – overshadow less than optimal test scores. However, the converse is not true. A student with mediocre grades and strong test scores causes admission officers to dig deeper: did the student slack off? Will Chase or Sophie thrive in our intense academic community?
While my practice is built on successful results from motivated students (and goading parents), keep in mind the following: to any admissions officer, your child is more than his or her SAT score. And cheating on the exam never pays off.