She’s not a great test-taker, but she’s a great…”

One of the most common college admissions concerns we hear at Collegewise from parents about their students is, “He/she is not a good test-taker.” It’s understandable. Standard tests like the ACT and SAT don’t measure a student’s intelligence or their likelihood of succeeding in college. Yet the scores are required or recommended for admission at around 2,000 colleges.

The statement is also usually followed by questions about how to change a bad test-taker into a good test-taker, whether through courses, tutoring, or self-driven study and practice.

Yes, effective test prep is one of the most efficient and measurable ways to improve a student’s candidacy at a variety of colleges. But while you’re making informed decisions about if and how to prepare for these exams, don’t forget to direct time and energy into how you would finish this statement:

“She’s not a good test-taker, but she’s a great….”

…worker at her part-time job
…computer programmer
…camp counselor
…volleyball player
…second language speaker
…karate teacher
…kids’ softball coach

Students each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Smart college admissions planning means occasionally addressing a weakness that can be improved. And struggling test-takers who raise their scores often raise their confidence levels, too.

But don’t forget your student’s natural strengths. Encourage and celebrate them. Then share them just as proudly on your college application as the good test-takers do with their scores.