If there was ever a person who could be a great promotion for college test prep services for high school students, it would be my oldest son.
He did very well on his ACT, getting a score high enough to be accepted at a nationally recognized state university. It was the first school to accept him and ranked second in the nation in his desired major. This was where he knew he wanted to be. The only issue was this school wasn’t located in our home state. That meant we’d be paying out-of-state tuition rates. Yikes.
Fortunately, we found out about something called Academic Common Market, an agreement between about 16 schools (located mostly in the south) that allows out-of-state students to attend at in-state tuition rates, if they meet certain qualifications. One of those qualifications required him to have a certain score on the ACT—one point higher than he had already achieved.
It’s important to note the difference in tuition rates for out-of-state students and in-state students is about 22 thousand dollars. Each year. Yes, each year. 22 thousand!
So, we signed my son up for the test again, explaining that this single point would save us 22 thousand bucks, or about 88 thousand dollars if you are looking at four years of college. I have to say it again. 88 thousand dollars. I don’t know about you, but that’s no chump change in my book.
He took that ACT test again and again. And again.
But he never got that extra point.
“Mom, I gave you the best I had that first time around,” he explained with frustration. What could I say to that?
In hindsight, I know I should have signed him up for the services you find through companies such as the Kaplan Test Prep Program.
At the time, I was worried about the expense and he was not a fan of sitting through any kind of tutoring session.
We were both being stupid. I think about that one point every month when I send in the check paying for him to attend this out-of-state college that he’s grown to love so much. I don’t regret sending him and am proud to support him as he chases his dreams. But still, this was one very expensive lesson learned.
I have three others who will be going through the college process (hopefully), one who is facing it now in his senior year. He also wants to attend an out-of-state school. He’s already taken the test twice. And if getting one more point is going to dictate whether he gets in-state or out-of-state tuition, you can bet we’ll be signing him up for a test prep program without a second thought. We can’t afford another 88-thousand dollar mistake.
(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Kaplan Test Prep. I received compensation to write this post, and any opinions expressed are my own, and reflect my actual experience. #JourneytoCollege)