By Greer Milam

The spring semester is an active part of the school year for preparation for college admissions tests. When parents or students call about spring prep, along with other diagnostic factors, here is some general advice I offer as a starting point depending on the student’s year in school.

Families of sophomores. The spring of a student’s sophomore year is a perfect time to have a first conversation about formulating a best test prep path. An initial consultation meeting with both parents and the student can be reassuring to the family that the student has a head start and will stay ahead of any test prep concerns or trends. For most sophomore families my advice is to be patient. The education and maturity that occurs over the junior year will allow test prep to be more effective and help avoid burnout or discouragement resulting from starting too early. However, some students who tend to be more natural test takers and whose aptitudes are more developed can lock in a solid ACT score early and then take the test again at later dates for a more competitive score depending on their college admissions needs.

Families of Juniors. Spring of their junior year is typically the semester when students begin to prepare for the ACT and SAT tests with more determination. College goals and aspirations increasingly become a part of their daily conversations and motivation coming from within the student will start to match that of the parents. Many Alabama high schools will administer the ACT to juniors once during the spring months, and many teachers will offer classroom instruction for a particular section of the test depending on the background of the teacher. This spring test score will likely not be their best performance, as stronger scores result as a student gains more familiarity with the test, but this experience will set a foundation for more focused prep over the upcoming summer months and into the fall semester of their senior year.

Families of Seniors. While most seniors by their spring semester are finished with admissions tests, some may pursue colleges that, under special circumstances, do allow ACT or SAT scores even as late as the summer test dates. For these students, private, individualized prep is the strongest option. Confirm through college admissions offices the exact deadlines and minimum score requirements specific to each college both for admission as well as any scholarships or programs in which you may be interested.
A best test prep path is specific to each family and student. Please visit our website at sparctestprep.com or give us a call at 256-724-0808 for more information.

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