Applying to Colleges
Most colleges and universities require some standardized tests as a requirement of admission. These tests are designed to test the students’ skill level in various areas. The tests are timed, proctored, and scheduled throughout the school year with the exception of the summer months.
SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) – The collegeboard.com site includes all testing dates (searchable by geography) and is the place students register for the SAT test. The SAT has three components: critical reasoning, math, and writing, and is scored on a scale of 200-800 points per section.
ACT (American College Testing Assessment) – An alternative test to the SAT which traditionally was more popular in the Midwest, the ACT is increasingly accepted in lieu of the SAT at most colleges and universities nationwide. Registration for this test takes place on ACT.org. Some students prefer the format of the ACT, which is more content-based. Also a timed test, the scoring system differs from the 800 scale used on the SAT tests and is based on a perfect score of 36.
SAT 2: In addition to SAT or ACT tests, certain elite schools also require SAT 2 (subject matter) tests. These exams are shorter than the SAT and ACT and evaluate a student’s mastery of a subject such as Biology, English, or a foreign language. Test requirements for each college may be found on the school’s website as well as on collegeboard.com. Registration for the SAT 2 exams takes place on collegeboard.com.
The application – Even while education costs continue to rise, the number of applications received by colleges is ever-increasing. Admissions counselors tell horror stories of how typographical errors in essays, inaccurate information, or missed deadlines meant denial of admission for a student who was otherwise highly qualified. The importance of careful review of your application cannot be overstated.