College Application Season Surges, So Does Tutoring!
November is great, Black-Friday, Thanksgiving, end-of-season sale, and winter treats, but for high school seniors and undergraduates navigating through the college admissions process, this month isn't fun at all.
Between filling out college applications, answering numerous essay questions, building up fancy résumés, SOPs, LORs, preparing for competitive tests, and just being an average student, college application season is tough for many.
"It's really stressful. I still feel like I'm behind on things," said Sarah Abubakar, a high school senior, "because you have application deadlines plus classwork, clubs, and projects to fit in, and the deadlines are coming up so quickly that the worrying is almost constant."
The increasing pressure of college admissions, the competitive exams, and building résumés, many students are also seeking help outside of school and college in the form of private tutors and coaches.
"The kind of motivational letter that the application asks you to write is not often taught in high school or college," Ms. Sarah said in an interview. "So it's kind of nonsensical to expect a high school student to write the type of motivational that they've never written before, for the most important piece of writing for college admission."
Aman Basheer, a High School senior, took the SAT three times and saw his score improve after working with a private tutor.
There are numerous competitive tests that students take up during these periods, and specialized universities have specialized tests. The major college admission tests in Qatar are,
SAT and ACT
Both are standardized tests for high school seniors preparing for college admissions organized by non-profit organizations, The College Board and ACT, Inc. The SAT and ACT generally cover the same topics and are used for college admissions and bu scholarship awarding bodies.
What do they cover?
Test structure for SAT comprises of Reading, Writing & Language, Math, and an optional Essay. For ACT, the structure is similar except for the writing and reasoning section, which includes science-related questions.
Which one is best for you?
Students are progressively taking both the SAT and ACT. Changes made to the SAT a few years back have made it easier than ever to prepare for both the test at the same time — and earn competitive scores on both! The most effective way to decide if taking the SAT, ACT, or both tests is right for you is to take a timed practice test of each kind, compare the performance, and then select one or both accordingly.
IELTS and TOEFL
The TOEFL and IELTS(Academic) are both standardized language test for non-native English speakers and often used as admission criteria at universities and graduate schools for non-native English speakers. The TOEFL and IELTS exams are quite different, and therefore some people will find that they are better suited for one than they are for the other. Despite the test you take, be aware that the scores are valid only till two years after your test date. The TOEFL offers only academic English (for admission to colleges or universities). On the other hand, the IELTS testing body offers an academic as well as a general test option.
What do they cover?
Both TOEFL and IELTS cover Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking.
Which one is best for you?
If you prefer multiple-choice questions, feel more comfortable with writing on a keyboard, and can understand the American accent better, the TOEFL is better suited for you. If you fancy writing with a pen, feel more comfortable talking to a human rather than a microphone, and prefer a variety of questions, then the IELTS is better suited for you.
For private tutors, this season is expected to be as busy as the year before.
"We've witnessed a good number of students searching for these subjects in the previous month," said Maram El-Chahal, who's in charge of tutors and students at Modaris, "It's just October, and the searches are way higher than last year."
The demand for tutors is expected to rise in the following months as the universities will start accepting applications for masters and postgraduate diplomas from February to July, and the students have already buckled up for highly competitive tests like GRE and GMAT.
Sometimes for students preparing for these competitive exams, self-study methods won't be enough. They may have gone through a lot of prep materials from the official test prep organizers and private test prep companies such as Kaplan, Khan Academy, or Mongoosh. But if the score isn't improving from these materials or aren't making any sufficient progress toward their target score, they can always consult private tutors for the same. In the end, it's always the student, who has to make a final decision on choosing the strategy that can give them maximum results.