Should my child take an SAT or ACT prep course?

In today’s world the education system is more competitive than ever before. Most children start out attending preschool. Some of the more prestigious preschools have waiting lists and thousand dollar tuitions. So it’s no wonder that the competition to get into a good college has dramatically increased. Because of this increased competition more and more places are offering SAT and ACT prep courses.

But are prep courses really necessary?
The SAT and ACT scores that a student receives play a large part in determining what University a student will be accepted to and whether or not they will receive a scholarship. So taking a prep course helps insure your student will perform better and therefore increases their chances of getting into a good school.

Should my child take a prep course?
Before taking this step decide why you want your child to take the prep course. Does your child plan on attending college? Does your child have a good high school GPA? Do they want to ensure a good score so they get into the university of their choice? Or receive a scholarship? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then your child would probably benefit from a prep course.

But if your child does not have a high enough high school grade point average taking the prep course is not going to help, since universities also look at a student’s GPA. And if a student can’t apply himself or herself in high school, they will have an even harder time applying themselves in college. So taking a SAT or ACT prep course so your child can get into a harder school would really just be a disservice to your child. If your child doesn’t have a good GPA, but does want to attend college, taking the prep course and improving their score will help them get into a local university or college.

What type of prep course should my child take?
The courses available vary by cost and location.
· Some courses are attended by going to a location. The cost is quite high since you are paying overheard for the facility, teachers, and management, as well as the prep program. The benefit is that a certified teacher administers the course. The average cost varies from $800 to $1500. Some even guarantee as much as a 200-point increase in a student’s score.
· There are also a number of SAT and ACT prep courses available on-line. For a fee students can log in and take practice tests along with tutorial sessions. The benefit is that your student can complete the course at home. The down side is that in most cases there is not a teacher present to answer questions and guide the student. I found courses that ranged from $100 to $900, the $100 course was basically just a practice test, and the $900 course included live on-line sessions.
· There are also quite a few sites that offer free SAT and ACT practice tests. Many of these also have tutorials that explain what the right answer is and how to get it. The disadvantage is that it requires the student to do more searching, but the cost is nothing.

In today’s competitive world if your child plans on attending college they would most likely benefit from some type of SAT or ACT prep course. As a parent you will have to decide which course would most likely work best for your child and your wallet.

See my blog at for more information on what the SAT and ACT tests are.

This entry was posted in Parents' Role in Education (See Also Education Blog) and tagged , , , , by Teresa McEntire. Bookmark the permalink.

About Teresa McEntire

Teresa McEntire grew up in Utah the oldest of four children. She currently lives in Kuna, Idaho, near Boise. She and her husband Gene have been married for almost ten years. She has three children Tyler, age six, Alysta, four, and Kelsey, two. She is a stay-at-home mom who loves to scrapbook, read, and of course write. Spending time with her family, including extended family, is a priority. She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and currently works with the young women. Teresa has a degree in Elementary Education from Utah State University and taught 6th grade before her son was born. She also ran an own in-home daycare for three years. She currently writes educational materials as well as blogs for Families.com. Although her formal education consisted of a variety of child development classes she has found that nothing teaches you better than the real thing. She is constantly learning as her children grow and enjoys sharing that knowledge with her readers.

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