Posts

College Admissions Scandal – Update

It’s been a hot topic since this spring when the story first hit the press, but what’s the latest information in the College Admissions Scandal and what does this mean for parents?

When the story first broke about famous actors and uber rich parents buying their way into colleges, everyone was shocked. Now that there are more details coming out and those same parents facing additional charges, the scandal has become quite the headline.

Charges and Outcomes

Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, along with nine other parents, now face additional bribery charges.  Conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy fraud are two charges these families are already facing.  

Some parents are already in prison, including actress Felicity Huffman, who after pleading guilty, received 14 days in a low-security prison for paying $15,000 to increase her daughter’s SAT score by 400 points.

Some parents apparently paid as little as $200,000 and upwards of $6.5 million to have their students admitted to various colleges and universities throughout the United States. A few of those colleges include USC, Yale, Wake Forest, Georgetown, and Stanford among others.

Honesty is the best policy

Was it worth it? Of course not. You know what is worth it? Hard work and dedication for starters. There are things in life that will not be handed to you. You simply have to work for it. Getting a good ACT or SAT score is one of those things.

That’s why here at Get Smarter Prep, we offer eight different levels of tutoring to help students study for the ACT. We offer two different ACT courses, Semi-Private Tutoring as well as Private Tutoring with three varying levels of tutors for both Semi-Private and Private Tutoring. Each student is different, that’s why we like to customize tutoring sessions to fit the student.

Our goal with each student is for them to get the score they need for the school they want by them working diligently towards that said score. We help students reach their goals through strategies and knowledge gained from each session with their tutor, completed homework, and attending Office Hours to ask additional questions.

To find out more about the college admissions scandal, listen to our podcast, Simply Smarter, where Premier-Level Tutor, Caleb Pierce and Marketing Director, Jill Purcell unpack the details of the scheme that rocked prestigious colleges and universities across the United States.

Debunking ACT/SAT Myths

Adversity Score

ACT Specific Watches

At Get Smarter Prep, we’ve received a few questions lately about watches designed specifically for use on the ACT and other standardized tests. At first glance, these devices might seem useful. They’re intended to help you track how many minutes you have left in a section and which question or passage you should be on. They come pre-programmed with the number of minutes and questions for each section. As a bonus, they’re silent, and therefore “ACT-approved.”

As great as they seem on the surface, though, we can’t recommend them, for several reasons.

Accuracy over Speed

Accuracy is more important than speed on the ACT. Getting to your goal score is about much more than rushing to make your way to the end of a particular section within the allotted time. Nearly every student struggles with time on the ACT, and nearly every student can reach their goal without completing every question.

An important part of your preparation for the ACT should be working out which questions deserve your time and attention and which ones do not. There might be one Reading passage that consistently gives you trouble, and perhaps skipping it boosts your Reading score. There might be one type of English question that you find especially tricky or time-consuming, and perhaps skipping those types of questions and saving them for the end is your best approach. Most students benefit from cutting loose the last 10 (or 15, or 20) Math questions in favor of spending more time on the earlier questions.

These watches assume you’re going straight through the section, at a rapid, constant pace, and this simply isn’t the best approach for most students.

Each Question is Different

Some questions are harder than others.

The most obvious example of this is the Math section. Math question #47 will almost certainly take you longer than question #3 – that’s fine, as question #47 will likely be trickier and involve a bit more work.

You are not a robot who can be counted upon to spend exactly one minute per Math question, or exactly 8 minutes and 45 seconds per Reading passage. Some questions and passages will take you more time, and some will take you less. If you’re constantly glancing at your wrist, though, comparing yourself to an inflexible standard, you’ll likely only grow frustrated and distracted from what’s most important – getting points.

Each Student is Different

The ACT is a predictable, standardized exam that behaves in predictable ways. Knowing how the ACT is set up allows students and tutors to plan and strategize. However, even though the test is standardized, students are not! Each student is going to have a slightly different path to their best test performance. It is important to be open to making those adjustments as you prepare, instead of trying to base your strategy on the watch. The ACT is stubborn and inflexible enough for all of us – we need to adjust and adapt in order to be successful.

Technology Sometimes Fails

If your test performance hinges too much on the watch at your wrist, what happens if it fails? If the battery dies, or some other mundane mechanical problem arises? Your best insulation against the timing restrictions of the ACT is practice and strategy. Having a plan, practicing the plan, and following the plan is much more reliable than counting on a piece of technology that may or may not reliably get you through the exam.

Proctors Might Object

All these products advertise that they are allowed on the ACT, but a glance at their Amazon reviews shows that there have been instances where proctors don’t allow the watch into the room. If you practice with it and come to depend on it, and then the proctor doesn’t allow it into the testing room, you may become frustrated, anxious, or discouraged. That’s not a recipe for success on test day!

 

We want to see you get the best score you can on the ACT, and we don’t think these watches are the best way to accomplish that. Practice and preparation are key, even if they are more work than picking up a new watch.