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Parent of a high school sophomore or junior? There are two things you should do today to help your child begin the college search
Juniors, why you should take the SAT & ACT the first time without studying…seriously
Written by Jack Delehey on February 4th 2022
Question: What’s worse than studying for the SAT?

Answer: Studying for the SAT…then 6 months in, realizing you actually prefer the ACT…then studying for the ACT.

It wasn’t that long ago I was a high school. I remember it well. Studying for one standardized test was bad enough. After all, I had sports to do, video games to play, and friends to hang out with!

But you know what was really, really bad? Studying for two tests.
And that’s exactly what I did. And I hated it.

And, for that reason, I refuse to allow any of my students to follow suit.

In my program, my students are guided onto the path of efficient studying, not “the most studying I can possibly cram into a day”…because, like I said, I want my students to actually enjoy life, while at the same time, improving their college admissions chances.

If you’re one of my current students reading this, you already know the advice below. But for other parents/students reading this, I strongly encourage you to embrace the following advice:
HS Juniors: Sometime in the fall/winter of your junior year (which could be right now for many of you), sign up for one (1) real, live SAT and one (1) real, live ACT and take them both…without studying. Seriously.
My guess is you won’t find this advice many places. After all, it seems overkill to spend an entire 5 hours on a Saturday morning taking a test you haven’t studied for.

But you know what I think is significantly more overkill? Spending 9 months, buying test prep books, paying for tutors, taking 6-8 practice tests on your own…all to improve your score on the wrong standardized test, the one that does not best-suit your learning tendencies.

“Work smarter, not harder” is the Delehey College Consulting motto. And, while it may not be a fit for everyone, students like Cole and Kiley and Erik and Melina (and their parents) really embraced this methodology, and found tremendous success and happiness because of it…even if it meant I forced them to take an extra standardized test at the start!
Okay, Jack, I’ve signed up for both tests. Now what?
Take them both. Wait for your scores. And then assess the following:
  • Which test did you prefer? (Example: Did you like the ACT because it has a science section and the SAT doesn’t? Or perhaps you enjoyed the format of the SAT because it has smaller, shorter sections?)
  • Which test did you score better on?
For 90+% of my students, the answers to #1 and #2 above align. Done. Go “all-in” studying for that test. You can now feel confident in your path forward instead of second guessing yourself with “hmmmm, I wonder if I would perform better on that other test? Well, it’s too late now…”

For the remaining 10% of you, if you truly can’t decide then this means it doesn’t matter. Go with your gut. But don’t stick with both. Go all-in on one test.

And, of course, if you really want, you can book a time to talk with me for free and I can help you make the decision…and answer any other college-related questions as well.
To a smarter-not-harder college planning process!


Jack Delehey

Jack Delehey (Vanderbilt '14) is a college admissions expert originally from Concord, MA and now resides in Denver, CO.  It is his goal to pass on his college admission knowledge, strategies, and unique perspective to high school students in a young, fun, relatable, older-brother type manner.

The college application process is often confusing and stressful. But it just doesn't have to be that way! If you are interested in gaining clarity, peace of mind, and a detailed step-by-step program to help your child through the college application process, reach out and request a free strategy session today.
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