The College Board just released the test specifications for the new digital SAT. Here is the most important information about what is changing on both the SAT and PSAT as they switch to digital formats in 2023 and 2024. The most important change is that the SAT and PSAT will now be adaptive–the difficulty of the later sections will change based on the performance on the first sections.
Reading and Writing
The Reading and Writing sections will be combined–students will see both Reading and Writing questions on the same test section.
Each question will be on a single passage that ranges from 25-150 words.
There will be new genres of passages presented, along with the continuation of fiction, historical documents, science, and social science. Students will now have some poetry and drama selections.
There will be two Reading/Writing sections, each taking 32 minutes, each having 27 questions.
The topics covered in the math will remain virtually identical to what is covered on the current SAT and PSAT.
There will still be multiple choice and student-produced response questions.
The math test will be broken up into two sections of 35 minutes, each having 22 questions.
The SAT and PSAT are largely staying the same. Even the evidence-based questions on the reading, which I though might go away on the digital format, will remain. The grammar and math concepts will overlap with what is currently tested. The new digital SAT and PSAT should be less intimidating to students–the time constraints are quite generous, and students will need to stay focused for just over two hours to complete the exam.
Despite the name, Boston College is not actually in Boston. When you step off the train at the very last stop of the Boston local rail system, you find yourself across the street from BC which is is surrounded by the sleepy town of Chestnut Hill, a far-flung suburb of Boston. While students still have access to all the opportunities of the city via a 30 minute transit ride, they also get to enjoy the relatively calm community that envelops Boston College. Because the college is further away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it has been better able to develop and maintain a distinct campus culture, rooted in the Jesuit tradition, and relevant to the students of today. This blend of city and small town appeals to many people and is one of the many reasons why BC is so popular.
Another reason BC is so highly sought after is the Jesuit style of education that is its bread and butter. This educational focus has led the college to its status as a tier one research institute even while class sizes are kept small; an average class has around 20 students. BC has around 9400 undergrad students and a large population of graduate students. All students are required to complete core education credits which they can select from a large pool of options and, while they are required to enter into a specific school, they can hold off declaring a major within that school until the end of their sophomore year. BC does a good job of ensuring that students get through their required course work with 89% of students graduating in 4 years.
At Boston College you can expect many of the same educational opportunities that many colleges have including research, study abroad, and internships which all work together to help students graduate with the connections they need to secure employment.
Freshman year at Boston College is a bit different than some might expect. Despite the historic and charming campus being outside of Boston, BC struggles with having enough space to house all the students who choose to live on campus. Consequently, the freshman class is split with forty percent living on a secondary campus a few miles away. A continuous bus services runs during most of the day to allow for ease of access in both directions. Despite the split, students report good experiences on both campuses, and campus spirit is strong, but students should know that they might not end up living “on campus” their freshman year. The secondary campus is not part of the tour.
The culture at BC is strengthened by faith. Students at BC mostly share a Roman Catholic heritage with 70% claiming a Catholic background and 30% active in their Catholic faith. Students who are not Catholic or even Christian, however, report that they feel accepted and that they appreciate the educational focus that comes with being on a Jesuit campus.
The overall community culture is also strengthened by the complete lack of social Greek life. This forces students to make a wide range of friends across campus. Students who are looking for a traditional Greek experience should consider other colleges.
Boston College, like most other schools, boasts a “holistic admissions process”. They are currently test optional for the high school class of 2023, but they have not made decisions beyond that. Admissions representatives stress that students who score in the 33+ range on the ACT (or the equivalent SAT) should absolutely submit their test scores. BC is a fairly selective college, admitting only about one quarter of applicants. As with most schools that have early decision, applying early decision improves a student’s chance at acceptance and, since BC meets 100% of demonstrated need, can be a good choice. As always, students must be completely sure that BC is their number one choice before applying early decision.
If you have any questions about college admissions or about my trip to BC please let me know! I am always happy to help.