Monday, June 21, 2010
BY GERALD M. BRADSHAW
Bradshaw College Consulting
Dear Mr. Bradshaw -- I am worried that my granddaughter is not up to date on the latest changes to the SAT. She will be a junior in August and hasn't taken any tests so far, including the PSAT.
My concern is with the new Score Choice policy. My understanding is that students can take the test as many times as they want and only report their highest scores.
She is a very good student and has top grades. She feels that because she can take the test more than once, she doesn't have to worry.
I would like to know what you think. I am paying for her college and want the best for her. -- Concerned Grandmother
Dear Grandmother -- You are not alone in being concerned about the new Score Choice policy. In a nutshell, the new policy allows students to take the SAT college-admission exam more than once and pick which scores to send colleges.
But there is some confusion. Students can take the test as many times as they want, but they can't mix and match individual scores from different test dates. They must report all scores taken from the same date.
For example, let's say you score high in critical reading and low in math the first time you take it. You decide to take the test again and end up scoring higher this time in math and lower in critical reading.
Here's the catch: You can't break apart the individual scores and send in only the best scores from each date. All scores from a single date must be reported.
It would help if high schools stressed this distinction, especially to students who think about taking the test several times, with the intention of reporting only their highest scores.
The College Board website (www.collegeboard.com ) explains that the purpose of Score Choice was to reduce some of the stress of taking the test. Bear in mind, this is not new; the ACT always had this choice policy.
Although the College Board doesn't tell admissions officials which scores students picked to send, students should be careful. All of your test scores might appear on your high school transcripts, and they will get sent to the colleges.
Be sure to check with your counselor to review your school's policy.
Another point to consider is that not all colleges follow Score Choice. Many require all of your test scores.
This could work in your favor, since most colleges have a policy of looking at the highest scores for each section of the test.
My suggestion is to check the policy of each college to see whether Score Choice is an option. If it is, be very careful about using it. For most students, it is likely that letting colleges see multiple test scores will be beneficial.
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