What do I need to do to attend a university in the US or Canada?

Applying to undergraduate programs in the US and Canada can be complicated. Universities generally require high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, and standardised test prep scores, among other things. All of these components are standard. However, many universities also require students to provide writing samples in the form of essays. These essays are on topics provided by the university and not only answer questions about student motivation and interest but also demonstrate character and individuality.

Many American colleges and universities are now test optional. Doesn’t that mean students no longer need to take the SAT?

It’s true that many universities in the US and Canada now allow students to apply without SAT scores. However, it’s important to realise that this decision was made in the best interest of the university, not of the student. By making standardized tests optional, universities are encouraging more students to apply. Harvard, for example, admits about 2,300 students each year. Even if more students apply, Harvard will not increase the size of its Freshman class. Thus, test optional policies make universities look more selective by lowering the acceptance rate! While students ostensibly have the "advantage" of applying without test scores, students’ applications are evaluated in comparison to other students in their school, city, country, and region. If a student’s peers have all taken the SAT, then college may draw the conclusion that a student who submitted an application without SAT scores did poorly on the exam. This means that it is even more important for students to take the exam.

How does a good SAT score improve my chance of admission at US universities?

Strong grades and a top SAT score help a student earn an "invitation" to consideration. Both are necessary for admission but not sufficient – universities also consider extracurricular activities, student essays, and other applicant information. Yet students without great SAT scores won’t even be considered for admission: their applications will almost certainly be dismissed. While no student is rejected outright for a low score, a top score on the SAT is essential for many

US universities.

How does the Boot Camp differ from an ordinary test prep class?

An ordinary test prep class has an introduction to the SAT, instruction in test topics, maybe a diagnostic exam or two. But Hale’s Boot Camp is all that and more – five proctored diagnostic exams with extensive coverage after, unlimited out-of-class diagnostic exams graded by us, in depth instruction from trained and experienced teachers in every topic on the test.

Should students study now for the SAT? Why not wait until final year of school?

The Hale SAT Boot Camp is designed for rising Year 12 and 13 students, meaning it is an ideal course for those with both a year to go before the application process and for those who should already be seriously considering their college options.

Students must not wait until Fall of their final year. During that time, many students are in the middle of very demanding coursework, in addition to completing university applications.

Adding preparation for standardized tests could be too much and quality of work for all three will suffer. Summer is perfect for students to get these exams out of the way while studying without the distractions of normal schoolwork. Hale’s very top students often finish with testing before the start of their final two years, allowing them to focus on top grades in the most difficult classes while also developing their professional and extracurricular interests.

Hale is offering an intensive SAT Boot Camp over six weeks beginning July 9. With online and in-person options, the camp will allow students to significantly boost their score. To register for the Boot Camp or for more details, email jeffrey@haleeducation.com or visit haleeducation.vercel.app/.

Anand Raj OK