The ACT, the SAT, AP tests, the Michigan Merit Exam- but wait, there’s more!
On October 16, 2013, juniors will be taking the PSAT.
Counselor Toby Loukmas says this is only the second year of the mandatory testing. Originally, students heard about it on the announcements and signed up in the office and paid to take it. Now, the district is paying for all the juniors to take the exam.
“The SAT is a very different kind of test,” Loukmas said. “It’s actually a really good thing.”
According to Loukmas, the SAT differs from the ACT because of its format. It tests the student on critical reading. She believes one of the best reasons to take the test is because it is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship. This year, the school has seven seniors who are semi-finalists for the scholarship this year.
According to nationalmerit.org, once a student becomes a semi-finalist, they have to fill out an application and take the SAT. If they meet the standard for the score, then the student becomes a National Merit Finalist.
Many students, however, are unaware of the scholarship program. Senior semi-finalist Olivia Darany said she was one of them.
“Honestly, I had no idea the program even existed,” Darany said. “I just wanted to score well because they told us some scholarships were involved.”
Darany plans on taking the SAT on November 2, and is preparing by studying and getting a tutor. She believes she is a good test taker, and scored a 33 on the ACT and is not worried about the scholarship process.
“It was just like another college app,” Darany said. We had to fill out an essay.”
According to Loukmas, many colleges will give scholarships to National Merit Finalists. Kim Lakocy, a Seaholm graduate of the class of 2013 and one of two National Merit Finalists from her class, received a full ride to University of Kentucky.
“I hadn’t really studied a ton for the PSAT and my score was pretty much at the cutoff from the previous year so I didn’t think I had much of a chance,” Lakocy said.
After finding out about being a semi-finalist, Lakocy realized the gravity of the scholarship program.
“After I found out I was a finalist I put a lot of work into my application, finding recommendations and into studying for the SAT,” Lakocy said.
Now, Lakocy is studying in the nursing program at UK and is glad the National Merit program influenced her decision. According to Lakocy, she had not considered UK deeply before she was recruited by them.
“When I found out, it went from barely on my radar to one of my top 4 schools,” Lakocy said.
Loukmas believes taking the PSAT is a great opportunity for students to learn about the SAT and to see if they qualify for the National Merit Scholarship.
“We want as many people to move through the competition as possible,” Loukmas said. “It only benefits the students.”