A Potential Window of Opportunity for High School Juniors–and Sophomores

April 2, 2020

These are uncertain times. Nowhere is this more obvious than for parents of high schoolers who were planning a busy semester of schoolwork, college testing, college visits, and extracurriculars before the COVID-19 crisis changed everything.

As Remote Learning Starts and a New Normal Begins to Emerge, Where Does that Leave Test Preparation?

Here at Summit, we think families have a unique opportunity – the opportunity to help students develop the skills needed for academic success and the tests for college admission. We’ve long been proponents of teaching test preparation not with “tips and tricks” but by providing a solid foundation for future learning. Our test preparation and foundations programs, which are moving ahead remotely (a service we have offered for some time) teach skills that go far beyond the SAT or ACT itself.

Our students learn:

  • how to read college-level material
  • the fundamentals of grammar which many have never formally learned
  • many math topics which they may not have covered in school at this point

Most importantly, students in a Summit program engage in thinking critically and in problem-solving, thus preventing the kind of skill-slide we often see during the summer months.

The course of the pandemic will determine whether the June SAT and ACT tests move forward and in what form.  One thing is certain however: test preparation will enable students to develop a mastery of the skills needed for college. Critical reading skills, knowledge of grammatical rules, the ability to edit writing to enhance clarity, mathematical thinking, and scientific inquiry and analysis are all skills crucial to college success but only some are taught in most high school curricula.  Some can be gained in a short amount of time but many of these skills quite simply need time spent in practice.  Thankfully, that is the one thing we have in abundance right now: the gift of time.

The Gift of Time

So what can we do with this time which will help our students to prepare for both these tests and the college experiences they precede?  The skills which take the most time to develop (in fact they will continue to cultivate these in college) are the ability to think critically and to problem-solve.  Students preparing for college admissions tests develop these skills by asking themselves: “who is this writer and why are they writing in this way?”, “what was this scientific model attempting to test and how well did the researcher accomplish his or her goal?” and “how do I take this word problem and convert it to a mathematical form I am familiar with so I can solve it?”.  At Summit, we believe that these skills are the backbone of both college test preparation and college readiness.  They take a while to fully develop but are never lost.

Whether your child tests in June or in September, the skills they learn during this period of social distancing can make a profound impact, not only on their SAT/ACT scores but on their first year of college and beyond.

If you have questions about how Summit can help strengthen your student’s skills, or if you want to get the ball rolling with test preparation, please contact us.


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