Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Is my score good?

We are over half-way done distributing and explaining the PSAT and ReadiStep scores to students. Today, several students asked me individually, "is my score good?" The most truthful answer I can give is that as long as you tried your best, it's your score.

We have many students who are conditioned to believe that you "have to" get into a "good" college, and lose sight of the fact that there are thousands of post-secondary institutions, many of which will be "good" for each individual student. The students' PSAT score reports show how they did at taking this test. It isn't an indication of their value or worth as a human being, or even just an assessment of the quality of student that they are. While it is true that PSAT, SAT, and ACT scores have some predictive validity related to students' success in college, it is only part of the picture. Success in high school courses plays a much larger role in college admissions, and success in academically rigorous courses is even more important.

Regardless, it is extremely important for all of us to remember that even if your grades and test scores are not  in the range of a particularly coveted college, there are still options. Perhaps there is something about this college that the student admires which can be attained at any of dozens of similar colleges in (or outside) our region. It just takes some time to schedule an appointment with your school counselor to discuss best-fit colleges, beyond just the "best" colleges that we hear about so often in the media.

Further, if a student is really so determined to attend this dream school (think "Rudy"), remember that what matters in life is how you finish, not necessarily how you start, and that the journey is more valuable than the destination. Students can start at one four-year or two-year college and then potentially transfer to a different college. Many who plan to transfer end up staying where they are because they eventually learn that being where they are is actually in their best interests!

It's not about a "good school," it's about a "good fit" school.

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