Disclaimer: The following post was contributed by Sam as a kick-off to our Compass student alumni series. Have a college update story to share? We’d love to hear from you.
Heading into my senior year of high school, I felt overwhelmed.
I was training for my upcoming varsity sports seasons, taking a leadership position for my school newspaper, and preparing for multiple AP classes . . . all while trying to get recruited to play football and baseball at a selective university.
The prospect of having to also fit standardized tests into my schedule only stressed me out more.
However, I was incredibly fortunate to be directed toward the best place to relieve that stress: Compass Education Group. Having an older brother who achieved success using their services, I was familiar with Compass but was still intimidated by the prospect of tutoring. I knew that a good test score could differentiate me from other recruits, whether a school was test-optional or not, so I enrolled in tutoring sessions. It was one of the most pivotal decisions made in my college application process.
Through diagnostic testing, I determined that the ACT fit my skill set better than the SAT, which relieved me from having to focus on both tests. Having a 1-on-1 tutor allowed me to fit test prep into my demanding sports and academic schedule, often meeting after practice or on weekends.
I had an awesome tutor who gave me strategies that played into the competitive nature I’ve developed through sports. Rather than feeling like test prep was a chore, I actually started to look forward to our sessions. When it finally came time to take the ACT, all of that preparation put me at ease and helped me reach a score I could tout to college coaches.
Without the test scores I received, I’m not sure I would’ve earned the opportunity to play Division I football for Syracuse University. Recruiters would ask about my test scores and grades in our first conversations, and mine were good enough to set me apart from other high school prospects.
What’s more, Compass’s impact didn’t fade once I got to college. At Syracuse, I continue to use the study habits, time management skills, and test-taking abilities I developed through my private tutoring sessions. Balancing the workload of collegiate academics and high profile athletics has been a significant step up from high school. The extra level of foundational work I established before I arrived has paid dividends, earning me the Syracuse Football Team Scholar Award for highest GPA three years in a row.
Because of the benefits I got both when applying to college and as a college student-athlete, I encourage high school students, especially those looking to play at the next level, to seek out any targeted and relevant expertise they can find. The athletic part of the equation is of course important, but it’s crucial to take care of the academic and testing parts above all else. In that regard, Compass has played a vital role for me throughout my college application process and beyond.
As the standardized test landscape has evolved and gotten more complicated even since I applied to college, I’ve watched how Compass has been busy developing fantastic new products and keeping up with the changes. Their current students are now taking advantage of new offerings like online testing for the new digital SAT, Study Skills coaching, College Prep writing programs, and a depth and breadth of expertise in the most challenging courses like AP.
Even though my ACT is—fortunately—in the past, I will continue to utilize those underlying skills as I face high stakes testing and other performance-based pressures in college. Test prep might only seem important before your senior year, as it did for me, but the abilities you build and retain through top notch tutoring will continue to assist you throughout your lifetime.