Stop the presses! A teenager changes his mind and suddenly decides he wants to go to college. A mom recently wrote me saying that they had not homeschooled their son in high school with college in mind because he had never expressed interest in college. She was realizing now that they should have planned for college “just in case.” Their son was now a junior and she wondered whether they were too late to take the PSAT. Her son was was interested in joining the Marines and needed college preparation.
The PSAT is just practice for the SAT. The only scholarships you can get from the PSAT are if you are in the very top percentiles. I tell most families not to worry to much about the PSAT, unless they know their student has a good chance of being in the very top percentile of all high school juniors in the nation. Only the SAT or ACT is used as a college admission test, so the junior year of high school is not too late to get everything together and have time to get into college. Students should be encouraged to study for the SAT for a couple of months, and then take the SAT with the rest of the junior class in March or May. Studying ahead for the test can increase your score significantly, so make sure you get a good “how to” book. I recommend Princeton Review “Cracking the SAT” or Princeton Review “11 Practice Tests for the SAT.” Their strategies can raise your score even if you don’t get smarter during the process of studying for the test! Just the practice alone can raise your score.
Finding a place to take the SAT is easier that finding a place to take the PSAT. If you can’t figure it out, just call your local high school, and ask the counseling office, they should be able to help you.
If your student wants to become a Marine, then you might be able to convince him to go to college with an ROTC program. Often, the cost of college is covered if you go through ROTC. You can talk to a recruiter to get more information. If you go ROTC, then when you graduate college you become an OFFICER in the military, with a much greater chance of promotion. If your son is like most men, he might prefer to be “in charge.”