By Abby Jackson
Gaining acceptance into selective colleges seems harder today
than ever before. Acceptance rates at top schools decline almost every year, and
admissions officers at Ivy League schools say the competition
is at an all-time high. Anthony-James
Green, a New York City-based SAT and ACT tutor, agrees. "It's become a little bit of an arms race," Green told Business
Insider. Green experiences firsthand the lengths to which families will go
to improve their students' scores. His $1,500-an-hour price tag
may seem hefty, but to the families who want to see significant
improvement in test scores, it's worth the cost.
"My average ACT students usually goes up by around 7 points, and
on the old SAT they were going up around 420, 430 points," he
said. On the new SAT, Green said, his students average 310- to
320-point increases. The Columbia University grad works exclusively over Skype, and he
attracts families from all over the US. Students on average spend
about 20 to 30 hours with him. He acknowledged that the inching up of test scores related to
test prep may have a potentially damaging impact on students who
don't pay for additional SAT support.
"It creates this weird spread where there is a very small portion
of people who are extremely well prepped and the vast majority
who still aren't," Green said. "The problem of course is that
because it is graded on a scale it throws off results in a really
disproportionate and devastating way."
But for families who cannot afford his price — and he says he
will work only with families for whom his rate doesn't cause a
financial burden — Green offers some hopeful advice.
Standardized test scores are not a function of your intelligence,
Green said. Instead, it's just time and consistent effort. If you
begin working your freshman year of high school, he says, you
won't need to cram with a test-prep tutor in your junior year to
get a high score.
"The trick is begin really early — and I recommend freshman year
— but then keep it to 20 minutes a day," he said. "That's really
all it takes."