College Entrance Testing
College Entrance TestingMUHS College Counseling
ACT and SAT – Tip Sheet
- ACT versus SAT - We advise our students to try one SAT and one ACT sometime in the spring semester of junior year. Colleges across the US will take either test for admission purposes. A higher score on either test can play into an admissions decision as well as a scholarship decision, depending on the college. The ACT has been historically offered to all juniors at MUHS in February.
- The Registration Process - You can check the dates and register online at their respective websites www.collegeboard.org (SAT) and www.actstudent.org. Be sure to check your schedules especially if you are a spring athlete since you may discover some schedule conflicts.
- Student Photo Required - Students also have to take and upload a head and shoulders photo of themselves for registration and test security purposes. Please check respective websites for photo upload deadlines.
- Registration Fees and Test Waivers - Registration fees will vary depending on when you register (early/regular, late or standby) and if you are taking writing portion. If cost is a burden, please see Mrs. Cleary or Mrs. Bennett about the possibility of a fee waiver for the process. ACT and SAT have eligibility requirements for fee waivers and MUHS is bound to comply with these requirements. Participating in the School Choice program does not guarantee a fee waiver.
- Taking ACT or SAT With or Without Writing - The SAT and the ACT each have an optional writing section. You'll need to decide if you want to take the writing when you register. You can always consult a college's website (usually under “Admission Requirements”) to learn if that college requires the writing test.
- Choosing a Test Site - When you register, you'll also have to check the test date for testing sites in the area and select a location for testing. The benefit of registering early is that your test site should be closer to home. Some students registering late have had to drive to Kenosha, Madison and Illinois. Testing in a familiar school setting may be helpful. Please note: MUHS is NOT a national test site for ACT or SAT.
- Sending Test Scores to the Colleges - At registration time, you can select up to four (4) colleges to receive your scores automatically. The benefit is that you won't have to pay an additional fee later to send them. Most colleges accept any scores that are sent but keep the highest score for admission and scholarship consideration. Students will be able to select the particular test date(s)/test score(s) to send to their colleges for both ACT and SAT. Students typically send more than one score since most colleges will take the best composite but often consider sub-scores depending on major preferences. Some colleges may also “super score” which means they create a new composite based on the best sub-scores earned on different sections of the test on different test dates. Of course, you are always welcome to wait to send your scores or feel free to consult with the College Counseling Center if you're uncertain.
- Accommodations for Students with Disabilities - If you (your son) has a documented disability, he may be eligible for testing accommodations including extended time, testing across days, a reader, etc. Documented disabilities and accommodations and the process/timeline for required documentation are provided by ACT and SAT. Appropriate forms with signatures and documentation must be postmarked by the deadlines set by the testing agency. In order to meet deadlines, families are required to get the appropriate paperwork to Mrs. Cleary at least one week prior to posted deadlines.
- Test Preparation - As for test prep, there are free materials in a number of places including the websites mentioned previously. If you're looking for test prep, a number of resources are listed in the document library of Naviance. We recommend checking a few places and decide what dates and times work, costs and if you want to be part of a class or have individual tutoring. As far as recommendations go, the feedback from our students is mixed. The one consistent positive heard is that the boys have appreciated individual tutoring over the group/class setting. In addition, much depends on the student’s attitude (a student who wants to learn something about standardized testing probably will get more out of any prep sessions over a student who doesn’t want to take the class). Remember, everyone does NOT need to pay to have productive test prep.
- SAT Subject Tests - Some colleges may recommend or require SAT Subject Tests in addition to the SAT. Subject tests are one-hour, subject specific tests in areas ranging from math and science to literature, history and languages (similar to AP tests). Colleges requiring the tests will specify how many (usually two or three) and sometimes which ones (math and science are common). Colleges will clarify their recommendation or requirement on their website or you may contact the college admission office.
- Test Optional / Test Flexible - In recent years, a number of colleges and universities have gone “test optional” or “test flexible” which means they put less emphasis on standardized test scores (ACT and/or SAT) when making admission decisions. Some schools exempt students who meet a minimum grade point average or other criteria while others require the scores for placement or research studies only. Some schools may require an applicant to complete an additional essay in the application in place of submitting test scores. Over 800 schools are currently using this practice. A searchable database of schools can be found at http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional
ACT and SAT Testing Information
Getting and Sending SAT and ACT Test Scores