From an Everett Public Schools news release.
On October 16, 2013, more than 1,300 juniors at Everett School District high schools took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT). This is the third year the district has offered the test free of charge.
The test is considered a “gateway” to college possibilities and the number of students taking the test has doubled in three years.
For most students outside of Everett Public Schools, the test costs $25 and is given on a Saturday. In 2010, before the district launched the free PSAT program, only 638 took the PSAT. Providing this test free of charge to all 11th-graders is an example of the district's commitment to equity and access.
The PSAT is an important first step to the college admissions process. Making the PSAT available to all juniors during school hours and at no cost effectively opens the door of post-secondary opportunity for many students who might not otherwise have considered college.
Eligible juniors who take the PSAT are automatically entered into scholarship and recognition competitions, including the National Merit Scholarship Program. These scholarships help students and families pay for college and training, and also distinguish students in the post-high school education admission process.
Students have the option to sign up for the Student Search Service on the test day which makes available information from colleges and scholarship organizations. Students who take the PSAT test also get free access to My College QuickStart, an online college training center and career planning tool that is customized for each student.
Additionally, the average Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) score of students who take the PSAT is higher than of those who do not. Students receive their scores and review the results with school staff in early December.