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How to Prepare For College Admissions Despite Covid-19

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20-03-28 09:26

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How to Prepare For College Admissions Despite Covid-19


I get a many questions about what to do to remain productive during this time of no school and "Shelter in Place" order by state and local governments. My answer is that many students in the past have come to me asking if it's ok to take a semester off to rest and "study" for the SAT I or SAT II, AP subject tests, because they haven't done so very productively so far and they are now 11th grade. My answer then was NO! Don't take a semester off, but now, since you effectively have a semester off, you can study for your SAT I and AP, SAT II subject tests with great effect and efficiency.


The cheapest way to study for such tests is to go to a bookstore or order online such test prep books and study on your own. It's extremely important to pace yourself and set goals: I'm going to finish study of AP Chemistry in two weeks, and then start doing problem solving thereafter, for example. You might follow that up with just problem solving with private lessons for 6 to 10 hours with one of our teachers that you can do online.
The second cheapest way is to watch one or several of the VOD classes offered online on our website, take careful notes (since who really watches one of those videos again and again?), and follow that up with a few hours of online doing one-on-one problem solving with our teachers, to shore up any weaknesses you may have.


The third way is to take our online scheduled classes (much cheaper than one-on-one private lessons) and follow that up with some problem solving one-on-one tutoring, if needed. Many students are fine with just the scheduled class itself. Once the CoVid-19 situation passes and it is the summer, attending our onsite classes to take such classes is fine too.


Now, I know what you're thinking: that I'm advertising our online classes in this article about what to do during the worldwide CoVid-19 pandemic. Yes, and no: Many students in Korea attending some of the best and brightest schools in the country attended our afterschool program (hakwon) for such courses, not because they needed the help, but because they had so many things going on and were taking so many AP and SAT II tests that they wanted our teachers to simplify and condense the test prep process into a very time-efficient input into their test-taking mechanism. They can study for each test on their own and ace it, yes, but that process is much less time-efficient than learning it from an experienced teacher, inputting the test-taking information into their little biological hard drives in their brain.


Next, I'll get into what test to study when in a later article, but in short and simply, Univ of California top tier schools like many SAT II and AP scores, Ivy League and other top 20 schools like such test scores AND meaningful and important extracurricular activities too. Any school below 30 rank to 60 rank (on US News and World Report rankings) can still be advantaged in admissions with your good solid SAT II scores and maybe one or two AP scores with good ACT or SAT I scores. Or, at minimum, the 30 rank to 60 rank schools require one ACT or SAT I score. If you want to cut down on the number of tests you have to take, choosing to take the ACT is a good option, since except for the top 20 ranked schools, just the ACT is as good as SAT I plus two to three SAT II subject tests. For such top schools, taking the SAT II subject tests is good, even if you're taking the ACT instead. Fifty ranked and below generally is ok with just one ACT score or SAT I score, or if you are studying from a non-English curriculum, just a iBT TOEFL score is good too. You should check with the university website for specifics about the generalizations I make above, but generally, the above is about right.

Now get going and make out your schedule, your study routine, and get cracking!


Steven Huh is currently president of Steven Academy in San Francisco. He graduated from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign as an English Literature major, taught at Daewon Foreign Language High School (대원외고) English expository writing, SAT I writing, SAT I Reading Comprehension, and served as its Director of College Counseling from 1998 to 2003. He also was president of Steven Academy in Seoul, Daechi-dong from 2002 to 2018. He is currently a member of NACAC (National Association of College Admission Counseling) and International ACAC (International Association of College Admission Counseling).