My oldest is a scholar. The career path he'd like to follow requires a college education. While I'm sure he can make the grades to succeed once he's in there, our challenge is more about getting in and paying for it.

I don't think I'm alone when I say that our household income isn't ready to support even a 4-year state school tuition, much less the private schools our son is interested in. Therefore, I've been working on educating myself on creative financing solutions. I've been reading books and seeking counsel from homeschool moms that have traveled the path before me.

I'm pretty excited to share what I've found out, because my son has hope and a plan for realizing his college dreams and finding someone other than us to finance his plans.

College Prep Genius

I received free access to College Prep Genius in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more details.

The SAT - The Great Leveler

Jean Burke, creator of College Prep Genius, calls the SAT a gift to homeschoolers. Since colleges know that GPAs can vary from school to school, they look to the standardized tests to help them know which students have the most potential to succeed in their schools. A homeschooler might fluff their GPA, but they can't fake a strong SAT score.

Strong SAT scores mean that colleges want you so that their ratings increase. They'll be happy to pay your way. Don't believe me? Check out this free webinar: How to Ace The SAT and Get FREE College 

Most people approach this test as they would any school work, and they mistakenly try to work it like a "good" student would. They read every passage carefully, and they take their time to make sure every answer is just right. College Prep Genius trains students to identify the type of question, mark up their test, and approach the test logically.

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A free downloadable workbook is included in all online classes, but you can purchase a hard copy separately.

The problem with trying to approach the test as a good student is that the SAT is a logic test and not a fact test. It's designed to be a mental marathon and wear students down. Students must study the test itself and not the content.

What College Prep Genius Offers

While there are many SAT prep classes out there, College Prep Genius takes a simple and smart approach to preparing students for these important tests. Students don't need to relearn what they've already studied in high school. They simply need to be equipped with the tools to master any standardized test they'll face in their future.

Here are some key features:

  • Shows students how to find patterns in the test
  • Offers strategies for managing time during the test
  • Reveals traps within the test
  • Encourages consistent practice to ensure a positive outcome

While your student may not be an excellent test taker, the skills and techniques presented in this course will allow even special needs students to ace the SAT. After you register for the course, all you need to do is download the homework guide and get started. This guide offers a step-by-step approach to systematically working through the materials and becoming a SAT master.

"Proper preparations prevents poor performance."

But Does It Really Work?

When we first received the materials, we were encouraged to take a practice SAT test right off the bat. The purpose was to give ourselves a benchmark score by which to compare our progress. And I say progress, because we plan on really working at this to ensure the highest scholarship potential available to us.

On his first attempt at the SAT, he increased his score 90 points! 40 points in the reading section and 50 points in his math. {Update} In his second attempt, he raised his score another 50 points, for a total of a 140 point increase after completing the basic course. There is definitely still room for improvement, so he can continue to practice the skills he's learned to increase his score.

This result was after making it about 75% of the way through the basic course. He probably spent a total of 15 hours preparing over the course of a month. That 90 points could have pushed him over the edge to gain acceptance in the school of his dreams. Our goal is to spend the summer practicing on these skills so that he can succeed on the PSAT/NMSQT which is the test that can qualify you for full ride scholarships.

I have him signed up to take a couple more tests in the upcoming months, and I'll come back and update you on his progress. He's also going to take the ACT in June. Even though this course is targeted at the SAT, the skills will still transfer to the ACT because the skills outlined here are designed to help with any standardized test.

The beauty of the SAT is that you are not penalized for taking the test too many times. Even better, some schools will take a super score which means they will combine your best math score and your best reading and writing score.

Why Did It Work For Us?

As I watched my son go through the materials, I saw him gain confidence in taking the SAT. He loved getting a glimpse "behind the magic curtain" of the great standardized test, and navigating the tricks of the test became like a game.

Additionally, when he took the test the first time, he left many questions blank because he ran out of time. The techniques he learned using these materials increased his speed so that on the official test day, he didn't struggle with running out of time. He knew how to find success in managing his time well.

Above all, I felt like his preparation opened his eyes logic behind the test. No longer did he approach the problem attempting to read it all very carefully. He paid attention to patterns which equipped him with the ability to avoid his past common mistakes.

The Cost (Rather Investment) 

I like to think of the purchase of a program like this as an investment. If my son uses the skills he learns here to earn a scholarship that will take care of any portion of his schooling costs, I've made a sound investment.

Even so, the courses range from $99 - $159 for a year's subscription to the online curriculum, and $249 for a live bootcamp class (which includes the online subscription). Either of these options offer some of the best rates I've seen anywhere. Which makes this course an incredible investment.

Update: College Bound

It's been two years since we started this journey, and so I thought it would be good to let you know what the outcome of the process looked like for us.

My son took the SAT four times increasing his overall score by 120 points. His final SAT score was a 1270 but his super score (the best reading and math score from the tests) was 1320. He raised his reading score by 110 points!

This score would have qualified him for the Presidential Scholarship at Ouachita Baptist University, his school of choice, however they do not super score SATs. Initially his scholarship offer was $60,000.

However, he also took the ACT once and scored a 28, which is equivalent to a 1320 on the SAT. When he spent $15 to send in this score, his scholarship offer increased to $74,000.

Since the score gave him the highest possible scholarship, we didn't pursue any more practice or a higher score even though he could have worked to increase it. Instead, he focused on enjoying his senior year and not worrying about getting into the college of his choice.

How are you working to prepare for the SAT?

5 Comments

  1. Jean Burk on February 27, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks for an awesome review!

  2. Jordan Faith on March 1, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Your blog gives a valuable information on SAT. I read your blog and i get the some helpful information on SAT prep. Thanks for sharing the great information. Good Luck!

  3. Rozi Angus on April 6, 2019 at 5:44 am

    Hi. I am now where you were then. What’s the update? What was his final SAT submission score? Is he attending the college of his dreams?

    • Betsy on April 7, 2019 at 10:38 pm

      Thanks for checking in! I just updated the post with details about our journey. We get to attend early registration next weekend, so he’s excited to be attending his dream college!

  4. Cassie on June 5, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Congrats Mom and Andy!! Thank you for sharing this encouragement and inspiration!

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