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Retake the ACT

Should Your Child Retake the ACT or SAT? A Parent’s Guide to College Admissions

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Retaking the ACT or SAT:

One of the top questions I get is, "Should my child take the ACT or SAT again?" We watch our children juggling extracurriculars, handling competitive college applications, and dealing with teenage ups and downs. We wonder if this extra stress is worth it. It’s a great question, but it depends on the individual. Before making a decision, consider the bigger picture, not just the momentary stress.

I know students complain that they’ve taken it several times and feel defeated. But this is where resilience is built; students who overcome their current challenge and improve their scores develop the understanding that they can achieve the tough goals. Before deciding if taking the test again truly serves a purpose, consider your son's or daughter's college goal: What colleges are on their list? Are the colleges test-optional or required? What’s the likelihood of acceptance? The admission process is competitive, with schools receiving tens of thousands of applications. Being one of the better students at their current school isn’t enough; they’re competing against the best students everywhere.

Retaking the ACT or SAT: Assessing Your Child’s Standing

To decide, check to see if your child is in the top 25% of the average GPA for their target schools. If so, and the school is test-optional, maybe they don’t need to retake it. Evaluate their extracurriculars. Are they unique or just typical? Schools want students who contribute uniquely to the community. They seek initiative, not just participation.

If they’re in the middle 50% for GPA, a good test score can make a difference, especially for scholarships. Test-taking is challenging but doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Many students aren’t taught how to take standardized tests like the ACT and SAT tests. They know how to take high school tests because they’re prepared for them through their daily classes and study guides, but standardized tests require different skills. I often use the analogy of learning to drive and then suddenly being tossed the keys to a stick shift to take the driving test - it likely would not go well. 

Improving Test-Taking Skills

Consider if your child needs better test-taking skills. With tutoring, our students typically raise their ACT test scores 4-8 points and their SAT scores 150 -250 points. This not only allows them to meet their college admission goals, but also builds confidence before heading off into the unknown world of college academia.

If your child is open to learning new techniques and practicing consistently for just 10-20 minutes a day, they can improve. This experience teaches them that they can figure things out even when it is hard. Like athletes with coaches, students can benefit from guidance. Evaluate where your child fits in their dream college's GPA range and decide if the effort is worth the potential payoff.

Why Retaking the ACT or SAT Could Be Worth It:

  1. Scholarship Opportunities: Higher scores can open doors to more scholarships, easing financial burdens.
  2. Competitive Edge: A strong test score can give your child a competitive edge in admissions.
  3. Skill Development: Learning how to tackle standardized tests is a valuable skill that can help in college and beyond with the GRE, MCAT, LSAT, HESI, NCLEX....
  4. Resilience Building: Overcoming challenges and improving scores builds resilience and confidence.
Final Thoughts

As a parent, you want the best for your child. Deciding whether to retake the ACT or SAT is a big decision, but by considering their current standing, goals, and potential benefits, you can make an informed choice. Remember, the journey to college is a marathon, not a sprint. With the right preparation and mindset, your child can achieve their dreams.

For more tips and personalized guidance on ACT and SAT test prep, schedule a one-on-one  complimentary consultation!

For more information about how the Kelly MacLean Achievement Center can help with ACT and SAT Test Prep, go to our ACT/SAT Test Prep page.