It is usually reported that SAT prep increases a student’s score only by an average of 30 points. However it appears that for homeschoolers, at least, investing in an actual test preparation course is exceedingly helpful and has been reported to regularly increase scores by 200 or more points on the SAT and by four points on the ACT.
That kind of increase has extreme value. Most college scholarships are based directly on the student’s SAT/ACT score. It is often an automatically awarded scholarship. But how much is the increase in the SAT score actually worth? That’s an important question.
The University of Rochester publicly released how they award scholarships, a typically well hidden secret in college admissions offices. They reported that for each 10 point increase on the SAT, they award $115. Thus, if you can increase your score by a little over 200 points using a test prep program (which can be very expensive), you will save around $10,000 in tuition over four years.
Further, many states have programs that pay the tuition of students who score well on the SAT reading and math combined. So in the end, what you spend on the test prep course may actually pay back tenfold or more.
My daughter completed a DVD SAT math prep program from Chalk Dust that was very helpful. She also took a classroom prep course that spanned several weeks. Her test prep courses increased her score over 200 points, qualifying her for our state tuition scholarship and saving us over $40,000 in tuition. The courses paid us back fiftyfold.
Although test prep courses are pricey, I believe they are an investment that will often end up saving you money. I’m sure many of you will have questions about which course to choose, however I only have our experience from which to share. But please feel free to ask your questions in the comments section below and perhaps another poster can give recommendations. If you have a particular recommendation, please share it with us.
In 2016, the College Board rolled out a new SAT. James Stobaugh’s offers a detailed description and analysis of this new exam.
As we’ve learned from previous posts in my College Prep series, preparing for college is a unique experience for each family and for each child. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to preparing for the college admissions process. The Lord has uniquely gifted your child and has a special course of action already prepared. Support him in this process, undergirding each decision with prayer. In the end, God will lead and your child will land right where he’s supposed to be!
*Some have reported a high increase while others a low increase after test preparation. Keep in mind that the score depends on the student. The 200 point increase was simply an average based on the survey.
Read on to learn more about preparing for college.