We had to opportunity to interview David Kim, CEO of C2 Education. David is one of the nation’s top experts on the SAT and ACT as well as giving advice on how students can get into their dream college. C2 Education is a national test prep and tutoring company that has recently opened two locations in the Nashville area – in Green Hills and Cool Springs. They encourage parents and students to drop by the new locations to find out how C2 can help in test prep, college counseling, and tutoring.

We crowdsourced these questions and appreciate everyone’s input. Here are the answers.

How important is geography in a college search?

Geography is surprisingly important. Aside from concerns about whether to remain close to family, it is important that students find colleges that are in locations where they will feel comfortable living for several years — for example, someone who is uncomfortable in big cities would be unwise to seek admission at a school like Columbia in New York, and someone who can’t stand the heat probably shouldn’t look for a school in Arizona. Geography can also have a small impact on admissions; because schools seek diverse student populations, they will sometimes seek students from underrepresented geographic locations (for example, a big school in the northeast might give a very slight preference to a student from rural North Dakota than from nearby).

Are high SAT/ACT scores necessarily predictors of college success?

Standardized tests and college classes are very different. Both the SAT and the ACT test core skills and knowledge required for success in any college course. For example, the reading sections of both tests examine a student’s ability to read quickly and critically, which is necessary in nearly any college course regardless of subject. While there are, of course, many students who perform poorly on the SAT/ACT and go on to be very successful college students (and vice versa), one of the reasons that so many colleges look at SAT/ACT scores is because the tests provide a baseline measurement of the fundamental skills that can make for a strong student.

What SAT/ACT scores are competitive for qualifying for scholarships?

There is no magic score because all scholarships (and all colleges) have different requirements. That said, if a student hopes to earn a merit-based scholarship at a relatively competitive college, he’s going to need a very competitive SAT/ACT score that will likely need to be at or above the 75th percentile for admitted students at that school (this type of score information can often be found at a given college’s website).

What GPA is considered competitive for admission and then scholarships?

This varies widely based on the colleges to which a student intends to apply. For example, at highly selective schools like Harvard or Yale, even a 4.0 GPA is not enough to ensure admission; by contrast, at a far less competitive state school where admission rates hover around 50 to 60%, a 3.0 would likely be competitive. The College Board and individual school websites often offer detailed information about previously admitted classes, so students can (and should!) research schools where they want to apply to get an idea of what kinds of grades students who were admitted earned.

What is the best prep for ACT/SAT testing?

Practice, practice, practice! The key to success on tests like the SAT and ACT is to practice, identify and review your mistakes, practice some more, and repeat. This is one way that C2 Education helps students: We provide ample practice and the expertise to help better identify mistakes, address misunderstandings or knowledge gaps, and build on strengths.

Do colleges look at SAT or ACT score more?

All four-year colleges that take test scores into consideration will accept either SAT or ACT scores without preference.

I’ve read articles recently that more and more universities are not using ACT/SAT test scores for admissions. What other indicators are they looking at?

First, it’s important to note that while more universities have become test-optional in recent years, most of these schools have tended to be smaller liberal arts colleges. Many of these schools are excellent colleges with good reputations, but they still represent a fairly narrow pool among the thousands of colleges in the U.S. Schools that have decided to no longer require test scores instead give greater weight to grades, course rigor (how hard classes are), recommendations, extra curricular activities, and admission essays. And while they tend not to require test scores, these schools will often still consider test scores if students choose to submit them.

If a family cannot afford test prep tutoring, are there any other budget-friendly or free resources available to help prepare a student?

For the SAT in particular, Khan Academy offers an excellent free online resource for test preparation.

C2 Education Tutoring Giveaway

Partnering with C2 Education, we are giving away one 2-hour tutoring session that can be used in either of their Nashville area locations.

The lucky winner will be selected at random on January 10, 2017. The winner MUST confirm by email by January 12th or her prize will be forfeited and given to another entrant.

Sign up for the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below. Please allow it a minute to display.

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