Save Money on SAT

You may have heard about the hidden costs of applying to college. But did you know that many of these are avoidable? Here at On My Way, I like to save you money wherever possible, so here are my tips for avoiding unnecessary costs involved with taking the SAT.

  1. Buy or borrow last year’s prep books. (*Not applicable to students taking the test after March of 2016 – see below!)
    • The format and questions don’t change year to year, so there’s no reason to buy a brand new book.   Head to your local library or used bookstore instead.
    • Potential Savings – $30
  2. Use the free online practice tools.
    • The College Board has tutorials, free sample questions and full-length practice tests available online.   Also check out the Question of the Day App! While these might not take the place of an in-person SAT tutor, they are great for brushing up, extra practice or for a self-directed student.
    • Potential Savings – $30 minimum
  3. Make sure to register on time.
    • Registering late adds an extra fee and if your chosen test center is full, you will be charged … you guessed it: a waitlist fee. Avoid these extra costs by registering early!
    • Potential Savings – $74 per test
  4. Be careful when selecting your date and location.
    • Double check that there are no conflicts on your selected date, and make sure to chose a test center that you can arrive at 7:30 am, because changing either of these will cost you.
    • Potential Savings – $56 per test
  5. Order score reports when registering.
    • You receive 4 FREE score reports when you register. If you are unsure where you will apply, put colleges that you are strongly considering. If you are applying to California public colleges (UC and CSU system), make sure to put one of each.
    • Potential Savings – $45
  6. If applying to the UC systems, send scores to only 1 campus.
    • If you send scores to one UC, they will be shared with all the campuses that you apply to.
    • Potential Savings – $34
  7. If applying to the CSU System, send scores to CSUMentor.
    • Use the code 3594 to have scores sent to the central CSUMentor system, and they will be shared with all campuses that you apply to.
    • Potential Savings – $34
  8. Only order the “Question and Answer Service” and “Student Answer Service” if you are sure you will use it.
    • Analyzing previous test results to improve your future test scores can be immensely helpful and is highly recommended, but there is no sense in paying for this if the student won’t take the time to use it. Be realistic before signing up for this.
    • Potential Savings – $31 per test
  9. Send your scores on time.
    • Rush reporting will cost extra. Avoid the need by sending your scores well before your applications deadlines.
    • Savings – $31 per college
  10. Don’t take the SAT more than 3 times.
    • Very few students see an increase in their scores after the third time. So unless you are suddenly able to do significant extra preparation, it’s usually not worth taking it more than 3 times.
    • Potential Savings – $52.50

Total Potential Minimum Savings: $417.50

All of this being said, I strongly believe in the value of preparing for the SAT, and have seen many students increase their scores after taking a prep course or working with a tutor.  While I don’t offer SAT prep services, I can recommend some people that do – contact me for more details.

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