College prep stress

My husband and I are stressing over college prep. We are stressing more than my 11th grade daughter, who is the one taking the SAT and ACT tests.

Two weeks ago, when she was out with friends at 10 p.m. the night before her ACT, I called her and insisted she come home –NOW! I wanted her to get a good night sleep.

Then, the morning of the test, my husband set his alarm to make sure she woke up on time. She was angry with him and said she had set two alarms and was capable of getting up on her own.

“I don’t know why you guys are getting yourself all crazy over a test!” she told us with attitude.

The truth is, we are crazy over a test. She may not understand the implications of her test scores but we do. Today, these college entrance tests mean so much more than they did when I was applying to college. They mean entry or denial. They mean scholarship money. They mean choice.

Teens today have to compete like crazy to get into the college of their choice and then they have to compete like crazy to get a job.

My daughter seems to be taking all this pressure in stride. She knows the importance of these tests, she taken a prep course, but she doesn’t seem to be as stressed over them as we are. Is that a good thing?

I know students can take SAT and ACT multiple times. I’ve heard parents say that their child ended up at the college that was right for them, regardless of their test scores. So, am I being crazy for stressing myself out?

Is a 16 or 17-year-old too young to really understand how much rides on these tests? Is it good or bad for them to be a little naive?





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1 Comment

  1. Gina B. January 29, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    I think it’s a hard balance to strike between helping your daughter prepare for her standardized tests, and letting her do it on her own. But I understand your concern! College admissions are SUPER competitive, and test scores (and GPA) are the best way to get considered for admission.

    I also agree that college choice is just as important. The reputation of a school has nothing to do with how successful an individual will do. The experience will be entirely dependent on what your daughter is looking for. Is she a writer? Find schools with excellent writing programs and a liberal arts curriculum. Is she into biology? Look at strong science programs.

    From here, you can combine the two techniques – get your daughter to motivate herself by having her find schools that align with her interests, then see what the SAT/ACT score ranges are for those schools. Have your daughter aim for a MINIMUM score in the 25-75% range for those schools. And bam! She’s got a reason to be motivated to study and do well on the tests, AND she’s found the right programs for her.

    Good luck!


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