Gaining acceptance into selective colleges seems harder today than ever before.
Acceptance rates at top schools decline almost every year, and former admissions officers at Ivy League schools say the competition is at an all-time high.
Anthony-James Green, a New York City-based SAT and ACT tutor, agrees.
“It’s become a little bit of an arms race,” Green told Business Insider.
Green experiences first-hand the lengths to which families will go to improve their students’ scores. His $US1,500-an-hour price tag may seem hefty, but to the families who want to see significant improvement in test scores, it’s worth the cost.
“My average ACT students usually goes up by around seven points, and on the old SAT they were going up around 420, 430 points,” he said. On the new SAT, students average 310 to 320 point increases, according to Green.
The Columbia University grad works exclusively over Skype, and attracts families from all over the US. The average student spends around 20 to 30 hours with him.
He acknowledged that the inching up of test scores related to test prep may have some potentially damaging impact on students who don’t pay for additional SAT support.
“It creates this weird spread where there is a very small portion of people who are extremely well prepped, and the vast majority who still aren’t,” Green said. “The problem of course is that because it is graded on a scale it throws off results in a really disproportionate and devastating way.”
But for families who cannot afford his price — and he says that he will only work with families where his rate doesn’t cause a financial burden — Green offers some hopeful advice.
Standardised test scores are not a function of your intelligence, Green said. Instead, it’s just time and consistent effort. If you begin working your freshman year of high school, he explains, you wont need to cram with a test prep tutor junior year to get a high score.
“The trick is begin really early — and I recommend freshman year — but then keep it to 20 minutes a day,” he said. “That’s really all it takes.”
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