SATs. Remember those? Compliments of the College Board, SATs bring us one competitive step closer to the you-you-you-gotta-be-kidding-me indenture inducing university of your choice. Looked at tuition for almost any college lately? Can you spell I-N-S-A-N-I-T-Y ???
Yes, it’s SATurday. Four hours of teen torture for millions of students across the country, including my 16-year old. Then we’ll be looking at data: what is a good SAT score, college admission requirements for the schools of his choice…
How do you make sense of the scores?
It was bad enough when it was 800 points for Math and 800 points for Verbal, so you interpreted results on a basis of 1600. Now with a writing component (I still don’t understand), the total is 2400 points.
You’d think these clever academics would be able to come up with something that is a multiple of 10, no?? A total of 1,000 points? or 2,000 points? According to the Princeton Review, the national average is 1500 out of 2400. But there’s a strategy to taking these tests, and while the Princeton Review’s 3 SAT tips address assessing questions based on difficulty, process of elimination, and practice – that’s only the beginning.
Strategy, strategy – and big business
SAT preparation is an entire cottage industry, or should I say McMansion industry? Costly texts and courses are abundant – like the class my son has been attending the past 6 weeks. Did I do the right thing insisting he do this, and adding to my Mount St. Helen of debt?
My son is tired. His regular coursework is heavy; SAT prep added 12 hours/week to his load. Will it even do any good?
Pressed, stressed, and crazy competition
Our kids are pressed and stressed to the max. Mine is. How did we get here?
Competitive kids and competitive parents are a reality; it’s a competitive world. But something is out of wack. We want them to pursue their passions – sports, music, art, academic fields they enjoy. But at what cost? How much competition is good preparation for life, but not destructive experience for adolescence?
Worries and words
As for college, gone are the days when a smart kid with good grades, a solid application, and participation in band is a viable candidate for a good school. Gone, too, are college funds, and many academic scholarships. And loans? What kid wouldn’t run screaming into the night at the thought of $200,000 in debt before graduate school?
Just do your best, I say. And don’t worry too much.
He nods, and doesn’t look back, clutching his calculator, his registration slip, and his Number 2 pencils as my single parent guilt kicks in again. If only, if only, if only. If only the stakes weren’t so high. If only we had more options than academic scholarships. If only I hadn’t been so naive when I signed that child support agreement all those years ago, just another time I broke my “never assume” rule, and will probably regret it for the rest of my life. I just don’t want my children paying for my mistakes, in more ways than one, for the rest of theirs.
© D A Wolf