It’s Friday Night—Do you know where your college-bound kids are? Well, Saturday is another SAT test day, so chances are, many will be in test-prep lockdown. Last year, nearly 1.6 million students took the SAT. That translates into tons of family drama playing out in homes all over the nation. And as the test date looms, the pressure doesn’t lessen for kids or their parents. Sure, people are still buzzing about the SAT cheating scandal, but there are millions of honest kids scrambling to do their best during this familiar rite of passage.
What can parents do to keep calm and help their test-taking teens the night before the SAT?
1. Watch Katy Perry’s Last Friday Night video to reinforce why you need to keep your kids home (or get them home early) this Friday night. For college-bound teens, this should be about getting a good night’s rest. And while I love Katy Perry and her video, much of the featured behavior is illegal until 21 and not advisable for anyone who wants to graduate or get a job one day. (Every indiscretion is someone else’s Facebook fodder!)
2. Consider driving your child to the test. Stress can impair driving skills and the last thing anyone needs is a fender bender on a mind-bending day. And, even if your teen is an excellent driver, parking space shortages at testing sites can create additional problems.
3. Remind yourself and your teen that there are excellent schools that do not require the SAT or ACT. A bad score doesn’t mean the end of a wonderful college experience.
4. Put yourself in your kid’s shoes. Look at a sample test and give him or her credit for tackling something that can be pretty intimidating. Take a break from issuing commands (a common practice for parents of college-bound kids) and focus on being supportive. One mom’s quest to ace the SAT (herself!) has put her in the test taking chair more times than I can count. Debbie Stier’s experience has been eye-opening for her and those who are following her journey on the PerfectScoreProject.com. Suffice it to say, she’ll be supporting her son, not nagging him, the night before his test.
5. Remember you’re not alone. Parents everywhere are pulling their hair out. Check out ‘twas The Night Before SATs a video excerpt from my book COLLEGE BOUND AND GAGGED, to help you find humor in this potentially stressful moment on the college-bound journey.
Wishing your teens a positive testing experience!