Ramaz Isn’t Involved in the SAT/ACT Prep

Ramaz Isn’t Involved in the SAT/ACT Prep

The SAT and ACT are often noted as one of the most stressful aspects of college preparation. The general rule for test-taking is that studying is key, and the same rule applies to the SAT and ACT. But among the various extracurricular activities and rigorous courses, some Ramaz students are feeling lost in the process and asking: how is Ramaz helping students with standardized testing, if they are at all?

Sophomore students are offered a free diagnostic SAT and ACT by Ramaz in partnership with Applerouth Tutoring. The tests are optional and scores are not sent to colleges, but are a valuable opportunity for students to familiarize themselves with the exams. Applerouth also offers to speak with students individually to compare exam scores and help them decide which test would be better for them to take. If a student takes the Mock SAT/ACT, they receive a score report on their performance. But according to Ms. Messinger, the Dean of College Guidance, that’s the extent of Ramaz’s involvement. “Historically, we haven’t run an SAT or ACT class or anything like that,” said Ms. Messinger. 

There are a few different reasons for this decision, one of which is the lack of time to provide students with an SAT/ACT class in school. “The school day is very long, and there aren’t a ton of free periods to do so,” said Ms. Messinger. On top of that, standardized testing has become less valuable in the college admissions process with many colleges going test-optional following the pandemic. Ms. Messinger doesn’t see the appeal in putting such an emphasis on scores because of this, saying: “With testing becoming less and less important, I would hate to tell a kid not to join a club so they can come to the SAT/ACT class instead…I don’t know that running a class after school sends the right message as to what the priority is.”

Ramaz students have different options to prepare for the SAT/ACT without the school’s help. They can hire a tutor, find a class outside of Ramaz, study on their own, or do a synthesis of the three. Although the amount of time it takes to prepare for the test depends on the student, Ms. Messinger claims that it takes “two or three months to prepare” on average. A high-quality, one-on-one tutor in New York City costs around $120 to $200 per hour according to nyctutoring.com, which is bound to rack up a large bill after two to three months of preparation. High costs and large amounts of material to navigate are causing a few students to want more involvement from the school in preparing for their exams. Rachel Abelson ’24 said: “Ramaz should be doing a lot more for us. They should at least offer an after-school program. On top of that, tutors are expensive. Not everyone has the money to afford a tutor, which leaves those kids in a really bad position if they’re unable to teach themselves.” Alissa Rose ’24 agreed that Ramaz could be doing more for students, but claimed, “it’s not the school’s issue whether we do well on the SAT/ACT or not.”

When asked if Ramaz plans to implement anything regarding SAT/ACT preparation, Ms. Messinger said, “I don’t think so… I don’t think it’s really to their [students’] benefit.” This might be a source of anxiety for students and parents, so Ms. Messinger wants families to rest assured that scores are not as significant as they may believe. “I want families and students to understand that testing is decreasing in importance in college admissions,” Ms. Messinger says, “every kid who sends in scores has a good one, so what does that mean?”