Guest Writer: Kirk Benner
What makes a successful high school student? There are many ways in which a young person can be successful, but planning ahead is essential. Planning for the college application process starts early in high school which involves college visits, completing high school classes to the best of one’s ability, becoming a well-rounded student who volunteers, participates in extra-curricular activities, and leads well with integrity.
A specific part of the college planning process that often happens in the junior and senior years involves college entrance exams. Along with international students needing to submit an English proficiency exam, like the TOEFL, colleges often require a college entrance exam like the SAT or ACT. During our current experience with the pandemic, some colleges are making these exams optional for admissions, but having a future plan to take these exams is recommended.
School counselors recommend students consider taking both the ACT and SAT (one without and one with the essay), along with SAT Subject tests if required by the college(s) of interest. In most high schools, students take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) in the fall of their junior year. These PSAT results will help a student better prepare to take the actual SAT/ACT in the spring of the junior year and then again early in the fall of the senior year. These exams are offered approximately monthly throughout a typical high school academic year and can be registered for online.
How can a student prepare for taking standardized college entrance exams?
How important are test scores for getting into college?
While these test scores are often a significant part of the college admissions process, they are only a part of what makes an ideal candidate for college. Colleges also look at:
The above are all ways to work towards fulfilling the best version of yourself as a high school student preparing for post-secondary educational opportunities.
Kirk Benner, MA |
Assistant Principal & Director of School Counseling
Lancaster Mennonite High School
Lancaster, PA, USA
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After graduating from Lancaster Mennonite High School, Kirk graduated from Millersville University and earned his MA at Messiah College. He has worked in a variety of roles at Lancaster Mennonite High School since 2006 which includes teaching Business Education, serving as Residence Hall Advisor, directing the School Counseling program and most recently serving as Assistant Principal. Kirk enjoys interacting with students and serving in his role and while not at school, he values spending time with his wife, daughter and extended family.