Friday, April 23, 2021

SAT Dress Rehearsal

If a student of mine is preparing to take the SAT in a couple of days, we do an activity I call a "SAT Dress Rehearsal." Essentially, it is a test walk through: we pull up a practice test and go through it page by page reminding the student about     timing, strategies and approaches. 

It's a stress-free activity that really helps students understand what test day will be like. And after doing this same activity with many students over the years, I finally recorded one I did with a group of students last night. 

Check it out here: 

Bookmark this video and watch it a few days before you take the test. Do your own "Dress Rehearsal" along with this video and be prepared for test day

And don't forget that I am hosting my online summer SAT & ACT Test Prep Workshop series starting June 22. Sign up or get more information right here

CROSSWALK is the Monterey Peninsula's local resource for academic tutoring and test prep. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Summer is Coming: Sign Up Now for Test Prep

Yes, the test optional movement is here to stay. 

Even so, many highly selective universities are now revealing that the majority of admission offers during this last cycle are going to students who submitted test scores. Boston College reported that 61% of admits submitted scores. Colgate was similar at 60%. 

As a result, students who want to maximize college admission and financial aid opportunities should still take the SAT or ACT. Even if their dream school is test optional. Remember, it is an option to submit a you can still take it to see how you do. 

And since summer is the sweetest time to prepare for the ACT and SAT, CROSSWALK is here to help. 

Sign up now for CROSSWALK's Summer Test Prep Program, a data driven and stress-free approach to SAT and ACT improvement. This six-week course is just what any rising junior or senior needs to master key strategies, manage time and achieve a goal score

Led by Brooke Higgins, instructor and founder of CROSSWALK, all classes are held remotely on Tuesday evenings from 6:00-8:00pm pacific time starting June 22nd. 

And a free bonus exclusively for summer students: a FREE Score Analysis. Submit an official or practice SAT, ACT or PSAT score to CROSSWALK and Brooke will provide key insights and ways to improve so that the student can keep moving towards his or her goal score. Summer students can do this before, during or after the program. 

Also, like all CROSSWALK courses, financial aid is available. Contact Brooke directly for more information on financial aid or any other test prep and tutoring questions. 

Since 2002, CROSSWALK Test Prep & Tutoring remains a trusted resource for GPA, test score and academic support.  

Monday, April 5, 2021

Household Income, SAT Scores & Essay Content

The relationship between SAT and ACT scores to household income is well-documented. Even the most ardent supporters of standardized tests cannot dispute the fact that higher scores are tied to higher family income brackets. 

Which is a big reason why the test-optional movement was gaining steam even before the pandemic. 

So without test scores, essays are gaining greater importance in the process of college admission. It's a logical result: in absence of test scores, college admission counselors are weighing college application essays heavier. 

But what if essay content is also related to household income? What if a student's word choice, punctuation and structures were also connected to household income? 

Turns out, there is indeed a strong relation. Essays, like test scores, are related to household income. 

In a new paper from Stanford CEPA (Center for Educational Policy Analysis), researchers concluded that "essay content is strongly related to household income and SAT scores." By reviewing 60,000 undergraduate applications and 240,000 essays, Salinas native AJ Alvero and his team at Stanford revealed that "essays have a stronger correlation to reported household income than SAT scores." 

This is big news. The Wall Street Journal just issued an Opinion piece about the same. 

But what does it mean? 

On one hand, this shouldn't be much of a surprise. Elite and selective institutions have likely flagged essays with targeted vocabulary or niche topics for generations. If the crew team needs a coxswain, then any essays about coxswain experience would likely receive special attention. 

On the other hand, we should be outraged. Here is hard evidence of yet more inequities in our higher education system. Access to elite and selective colleges is only for those in higher income brackets who can pay to prepare for the SAT/ACT or craft perfect essays?

Sure, I get it. Enrollment management is a business decision. In order for colleges to keep their doors open, they need to cater to some full pay students. 

But if we truly believe that higher education is a means towards upward mobility, we may need to reconsider why household income is so closely related to test scores and essay content. What do we value when we assess student potential? What should we value? 

As colleges grapple with these questions, CROSSWALK is here to support all students, regardless of income. Financial aid, and pro-bono programs, are available for all tutoring, especially test prep. 

Share this with someone you know that could benefit from academic support no matter what adjusted gross income they have. Let's be sure all students have a path to college.