My son isn't feeling confident about taking the PSAT. My question is, does he have to take it? He has been having a hard time since the summer and because he's struggling emotionally, I am not sure it's a good idea for him to take it. He is doing well at Community College - he's getting all As but he lacks confidence in his ability to take this test. He has been practicing for it since the beginning of September. If he didn't take the PSAT he could still continue to study for the SAT. We're not interested in the National Merit Scholarship. What are your thoughts?
~ Paula in Washington
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One thing we did with these high-stakes tests is that we started them taking the ACT in 7th grade. We had a program called the Rocky Mountain Talent Search, but it is now being run by the Davidson Institute. Our daughter took the test over and over, and we did the same thing with our son 5 years later. She did very well on the PSAT (but missed being a Scholar by just a few points). This was the best investment we ever made. It paid off in high ACT scores, and tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships for both children at selective private colleges. My son is also close to making the dean's list this semester.
I usually do recommend Student Search Service. You can get more information about it here:
It appears to have all pros, with no real negatives. Any bad scores aren't tied to your child, but any good score can help them.
Very helpful, Lee...Could you comment more on the pros and cons of saying yes to the Student Search Service on the PSAT, perhaps in a future blog post? I've wondered if we'd be missing something valuable if my son doesn't say yes to it (he's very bright but we're advising him to only look into Christian colleges).