Sometimes our snow days are more like “ice days”. This means you aren’t out building snowmen and sledding the day away. Schools close because they care more about your safety than anything in this world. So…you are locked up inside and feels like no time before you become bored out of your mind. Unless, of course, you have a little OTH or GG to watch on Netflix.. 🙂
Well guess what? This is the perfect time to make good use of your time. There is no better time than now. So let’s get to it.
Where do I start?
CollegeforTN is one of my favorite resources for high school and college planning. The first thing you should do is create an account. Make sure you save your username and password in a place where you can find it easily. You can and should use this site throughout your high school career. We will come back to this later.
There’s a lot that goes into college prep. So let’s take it slow and start with test prep.
What is the ACT? The ACT is a national college admissions exam that is accepted by all four year universities in the US. The test consists of Math, Science, Reading, and English. The ACT Plus Writing also includes a 30 minute writing portion. Learn more here.
*Check with the colleges you are interested in attending to see if you need to take the writing portion. It is currently optional.
*Students will take the ACT Aspire 9th and 10th grade year. This will give a good indicator of how you will score on the ACT.
What is the SAT? The SAT is a globally recognized college admission test. Almost all colleges and universities use the SAT to make admission decisions. Subjects tested are Reading, Writing, and Math. Learn more here.
*The PSAT (pre SAT) is offered to students in the fall of their 11th grade year. If you like the format of this test, you may want to continue taking the SAT opposed to ACT. Or you can try both! Most colleges will take either test and typically they will give you scholarships based on your highest composite score from either test.
When should I test? Most educators suggest you start testing spring of 10th grade year or summer before 11th grade year.
How do I prepare for the test? Take the ACT prep course at your high school and ask about extra test prep classes you can take that may be held at your school. These may be held outside of school hours and include a fee, but the knowledge you will gain is well worth the investment. Most of the time the students who do best on these tests are the ones who feel confident about the content and have practice testing with time restraints.
I have put together a list of my favorite resources. Make sure you check out each one of them.
Helpful Links for Test Prep
- ACT Test Dates and Deadlines
- Description of ACT Tests
- Test Taking Tips from ACT
- Sample Questions from ACT
- ACT Test Prep PDF version – A free student preparation booklet available from most high schools and colleges—includes test information, complete practice tests with scoring keys, and a writing prompt. We also have paper versions of this in the Counseling Office.
- SAT Test Dates and Deadlines
- Description of SAT Tests
- Sample Questions from SAT
- SAT Full Practice Test
- SAT Test Prep from Khan Academy Online
- Test Prep Questions and Tips from CollegeForTN – This includes ACT, SAT, GRE, and Compass.
- College Test Prep from US News & World Report – This includes ACT and SAT.
Make today and every day count. Taking charge of the ACT/SAT will give you more options in the college selection process.
In my next post, we will discuss the college/career search. As a former college Admissions Counselor, I want you to know that while this process can seem daunting, it can also be a lot of fun! Stay tuned and stay warm. -M