Here’s my daughter, Alexis, studying for the PSAT.
As with all 3 of my kids, I was her tutor, using my knowledge + study guides.
Private test prep?
Kaplan: up to $1,300, for unlimited hours online.
Princeton Review: up to $2,700, for 18 hrs.
So I saved money, and spent my time. I’m cool with that.
But Imagine millions of parents who didn’t go to college or lack the knowledge to be their kids’ writing or math tutors?
Or parents too busy w/ work & other obligations.
Or parents who can’t afford private test prep for the PSAT & SAT exams?
Yes, there are cheaper PSAT test prep options & free online stuff.
READ: 4 HIDDEN COLLEGE COSTS EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW
But even good students may need more.
My oldest daughter, a National Merit Scholar, scored top 1% on her PSAT. She graduated in 2018 from UT Austin.
My son tested well too & graduates in December from NC State.
Since it’s my 3rd time doing PSAT & SAT test prep with my kids, I’ve seen many changes.
One upside: tests are now WAY less important!
1,800+ colleges are now Test-Optional & don’t require SAT or ACT scores, per FairTest (see their list of test-optional schools).
In CA — where all public colleges are test-free — the # of test-takers by 62% from 2019 to 2022.
Nationwide, SAT test taking is down 21%.
All 8 Ivy League schools are now test optional.
Colleges know that grades, essays, activities, etc. all predict college success better than PSAT/SAT scores.
Data also show dropping SAT/ACT requirements:
helps get more diverse students
doesn’t reduce student body quality or lower standards
Now for the downside:
The level of competition for college admissions is insane.
I know the environment based on personal & professional experience, having written a two-book series, College Secrets.
As a parent, I’d be lying if I said I don’t want to give my kids every advantage.
And as a Black mom, to be honest, I’ve taught my children: you have to be twice as good to get half as much in this society.
I wish the system was different.
But tests like the PSAT, SAT and ACT really say more about a family’s income and resources — vs the merit and potential of the student.
In short: rich kids can get paid tutors, college coaches, etc.
Other kids lack such advantages.