What is the SAT?

What is the SAT, and Why Should I Care?

What does the average high school student get on their SATs?  Drool.

The SAT has a reputation for being a teenager’s worst nightmare.  Your child moans and groans at even the slightest mention of the test, and you roll your eyes in response.  You probably remember taking the test yourself when you were in high school, but a lot has changed, including the number of students who take the test, the importance of the test, and the benefits that come from taking the test.

More students are taking the SAT each year.

You may recall that, back in the day, taking the SAT was merely a requirement of the college application process and many of your friends, having no plans to attend college, didn’t even take the SAT.

Fast-forward to today, and things look very different.  With more and more students attending college each year, the number of students taking the SAT has drastically increased.

 

What is the SAT more students are taking the SAT each year

The SAT has also become more important.

You probably don’t remember worrying too much about the SAT when you were in high school either.  Back then there were very few study materials, and people seldom cared about their SAT scores.  Most students would just walk into the testing room, get their hands dirty, and walk out, all without any sort of preparation.

Since you took the test, the SAT has taken on a whole new life.  The college application process has since gotten extremely competitive, and colleges now put more weight on the SAT than ever before.  If your child wishes to attend a top tier school, it’s no longer merely a matter of taking the SAT, your child must also excel.

So you get the idea—A LOT HAS CHANGED.

At this point we’ve established two things:

  1. More students are taking the SAT now than in years past, and
  2. The SAT is a lot more important now than it was when you took it in high school.

But those are not the only things that have changed!  The entire structure of the SAT has changed as well, and taking the SAT now brings about a whole host of benefits, including but not limited to, merit-based scholarships and private scholarships, which can make your son or daughter’s college education significantly more affordable.

But before we talk about all of those fabulous benefits, let’s talk about what the SAT looks like today.

What is the SAT?

 The current SAT is a 3 hour and 45 minute standardized test consisting of 3 sections:

  1. The Critical Reading Section,
  2. The Math Section, and
  3. The Writing Section.

You probably don’t remember the writing section of the SAT, but don’t fret.  The writing section was just recently introduced in 2005 to evaluate students’ writing and grammar abilities.

 

What is the SAT More Info About the SAT Sections

Now that you have a better handle on what exactly the SAT is and how the current SAT is different from the SAT you took, let’s move on and talk about the actual purpose of the SAT.

 

What is the purpose of the SAT?

So what’s all the fuss about?!

Why are colleges so interested in a score that your child received on one single test, when they already look at your child’s GPA?

The reasons are quite simple; as more and more students are attending college each year, the admission process has become more competitive, so students are doing whatever they can to get that 4.0.  This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as “grade inflation.”

What is the SAT Grade Inflation

Because of all the grade inflation, colleges need another objective way of comparing two students with the same or similar GPAs.  Also, because the rigor and curriculums of high schools differ across the country, colleges need a better, more accurate way of comparing applicants.  The SAT satisfies both of these needs.

 

Why should I care about the SAT?

Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for! Let’s talk about all of the fantastic benefits that taking the SAT has to offer—the reasons YOU should care about the SAT.

Does your son or daughter dream of attending Harvard? Yale? Princeton? Stanford?

If you answered yes to any of these schools, then taking the SAT and doing well is in their best interest.

Even if your child isn’t interested in attending a top tier private school, or prefers to attend college at an in-state public institution, taking the SAT is still in their best interest as well! 

Scroll down to explore the many scholarship opportunities that the SAT has to offer.

 

What is the SAT Harvard SAT Scores

Merit-Based Scholarships

Did someone say “free money”?  Because that’s essentially what a merit-based scholarship is.

Merit-based scholarships are scholarships offered to college applicants simply for being good high school students.  Most state universities offer some sort of merit-based scholarship to in-state students, and the applicant’s SAT score is typically one of the main factors taken into consideration for the scholarship.

Let’s take a look at ASU’s merit-based scholarship calculator…

What is the SAT ASU Scholarship calculator 1

Notice that an applicant with a GPA of 3.7, and a combined math and reading SAT score of 1000 is eligible for a scholarship of $2,500.

Bring that SAT score up to 1350…

What is the SAT ASU Scholarship calculator 2

Your child is now eligible for a scholarship of $9,500!

Even if your son or daughter does not have an outstanding SAT score, it is still imperative that they take the SAT if they wish to be at all considered for a merit-based scholarship.

 

Keep the Money Comin’ – Private Scholarships

That’s right!  The financial benefits of taking the SAT don’t stop there! The SAT can also help your son or daughter get private scholarships in addition to merit-based scholarships.

These sorts of scholarships come in all different shapes and sizes—some are large, while some are small, and some are extremely competitive, while others are lesser-known and more attainable.

Many private scholarships can be found at the state level.

For example, Arizona’s Flinn Scholarship is currently valued at over $100,000, and includes free tuition, room, and board at any Arizona university, funding for study abroad, mentorship from university faculty, and fellowship among current and alumni scholars.

Private scholarships can be found at the national level as well!  The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation awards 1,000 scholarships to students each year who display academic achievement and talent in one or more areas.  This scholarship is also highly competitive, averaging at around $13,000 per year.

What do most of these private scholarships, big or small, state-level or national-level, all have in common?  You guessed it!  They look at the SAT scores of their applicants as part of their criteria.

 

How to get the most out of the SAT

Let’s do a quick recap of all of the awesome perks that your son or daughter can get from taking the SAT.

  1. Having a high SAT score can help your child get into their dream school.
  2. Scoring well on the SAT can make your child eligible for merit-based scholarships at most state universities.
  3. Your child’s SAT score can help them obtain several private scholarships.

That’s a lot of benefits!  No wonder more high school students are taking the SAT than ever before!  In this day and age one would have to be insane to not take advantage of all of these wonderful opportunities.

However, as I have alluded to multiple times, simply taking the SAT is not enough.  Your son or daughter must also do well on the SAT if they wish to maximize their return on investment.

How can you ensure that your son or daughter gets the SAT score that they want?

There are countless resources that can assist your son or daughter in preparing for the SAT, including SAT prep books, practice tests, and even prep classes.

Don’t know where to begin?  Here’s a good place to start!  Get your free e-book below with tips on how to master the SAT.

Co-authored by Jeffrey Mortensen

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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Dennis Sanchez

My niece is preparing for college and we have been trying to figure out the best ways to prepare her. You said in your blog that colleges look at SAT scores as another objective way of comparing students along with their GPA’s. With grade inflation, SAT seems to be ever more important. We’ve considered having her get an SAT tutor to make sure she excels as much as she possibly can. Thanks for the read.