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Suniti's Advice Corner

All About College Application Deadlines: Early Action, Early Decision & Regular Decision

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Wed, Apr 19, 2017

college application deadlines and decisionsFall semester of senior year can be nerve-wracking while you’re working on all your college applications and making sure you get them in on time. What’s more, you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to get into your top-choice colleges. To help keep you on track, we’ve written descriptions of the most common types of application deadlines and what they entail. Look here to learn how to build your  application list.

Early Decision

Early Decision deadlines are typically in October or November, and you’ll usually get an answer before winter break. It is a way of indicating to the college that it is your top choice and that you intend to enroll if you are accepted. If there’s one college that you have your heart absolutely set on and is your top choice, you might want to take advantage of the Early Decision application deadline if the college offers it.  This is likely to increase your chances of getting in, and if you do get in, you get to relax during your second semester. The caveat? Early Decision is binding. If you are accepted to a college Early Decision, you must withdraw all your other college applications and commit to attending your Early Decision college. For this reason, you should only apply to a college Early Decision if you are sure that it is your top choice.

If you still need to take the SAT or ACT during your senior year then any early decision application might not be for you. See this about whether or not you should take the test again. 

Early Action

The timeline for Early Action is similar to that of Early Decision. The difference is that it is non-binding. In other words, even if you are accepted, you are not obligated to attend. Some schools split Early Action into Early Action I and Early Action II. The deadlines are usually between October and November and decisions are usually made between December and January. While you can only apply Early Decision to one school, you can apply Early Action to multiple schools. The caveat is that some schools only offer Single Choice Early Action, which is discussed below.

Single Choice Early Action

Single Choice Early Action is similar to Early Action in that it is non-binding, but is different in that it is exclusive to that school. In other words, if you’re applying to a school Single Choice Early Action, you cannot apply to other schools Early Action. While this type of application deadline is rare, it is a way of demonstrating your interest in the school, which can increase your chances of getting in.

Regular Decision

Almost all colleges have a regular decision deadline, which is usually between December and January. You’ll usually get an answer starting in February or March, but definitely no later than April. Regular decision is non-binding and non-exclusive, so as long as you haven’t gotten into a college Early Decision, you can send out as many Regular Decision applications as you want.

Rolling Admissions

Colleges with a Rolling Admissions cycle will accept applications all throughout the year until they fill capacity, so you could apply all the way through April or even the summer. However, the earlier that you submit your application, the better your chances of getting in. It is recommended that you submit Rolling Admissions applications around the same time you would a Regular Decision application. Rolling Admissions is non-binding and non-exclusive. The one caveat with Rolling Admissions is that specific programs might have specific deadlines, so be sure to check on these before you apply.

Rolling Admissions will buy you some additional time. You may want to think about  superscoring your SAT & ACT scores during that time. Learn about superscoring here. 

Having a solid understanding of the different types of application deadlines is important for planning out your college application process, and it keeps you on track during your fall semester.

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Tags: For Students, For Counselors, sat, act, International Students, tips, sat prep

How Many Times Should I Take The SAT & ACT?

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Tue, Apr 11, 2017

how many times should I take the sat and act

Have you ever submitted a test and thought to yourself, "I would do so much better on that test if I could retake it!" ? Most of the time, a do-over or retake isn't an option. However, when it comes to the SAT & ACT tests, multiple attempts are important (within limits). 

How many times CAN I take the SAT/ACT? 

Technically, you can take the ACT up to 12 times and the SAT as many times as you want. 

Should I take the them more than once? 

The short answer is yes, Yes, YES! Whichever test you decide to take, you want the score to be the highest it can possibly be. Even if you're a great test taker, unless you get a perfect score, there is room for improvement. There could be many reasons why you didn't get the score you are capable of. Some factors could even be out of your control, such as, feeling unwell on testing day, not sleeping well the night before the test, blanking out on a section, a personal emergency etc. Still not convinced? Read more about why you want your test scores to be the highest they can possibly be

You can also retake the tests in order to submit your superscore. Click here to learn all about Superscoring your test score. 

How many times should I take the SAT/ACT?

While retaking the tests to improve your scores is recommended, we discourage our students from retaking them more than 2 or 3 times.

Here are 3 reasons why taking the test more than 3 times is not a good idea:

1. It is unlikely that your score will continue to improve after 3 attempts. 

Test Attempt example.jpgWe have found that after the 3rd attempt, your score is likely to not go up drastically. Taking the test more than 3 times and getting the same—or possibly lower—results can only lead to frustration. If you use these 20 SAT strategies they will help improve your next score. 

2. Some schools require you to submit all of your test scores.

This includes the scores that you’re not so proud of. While colleges will almost certainly look favorably upon improved scores over time, decreased scores over time won’t show you in the best light. For this reason, you also don’t want to take a real test as a practice test.

3. Your time is better spent elsewhere.

The tests are not the be all and end all when it comes to your college application. Also important are your grades, extracurriculars, recommendations, and essays. Use your time wisely, prepare for the test, study hard between attempts and then move on to the rest of your application. 

Remember that it can cost between $40 and $60 to register for the tests depending on whether you choose to do the writing section. If you don’t live in the US, register late, or have to modify your registration, you’ll end up incurring even more fees. After a few attempts, it’s just not worth it!

So give the tests your best. If you’re not thrilled with your score, you can always take it again. But taking it more than 2 or 3 times is not in your best interest.

Be prepared for your next test by creating a solid test taking plan. You can find a test taking planning guide here.

Get $150 off any SAT or ACT program using code 2ndTRY.

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Tags: For Students, For Counselors, sat, act, International Students, tips, sat prep

All About Superscoring on The SAT & ACT

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Fri, Apr 07, 2017

 

superscoring the sat and act

Superscoring the SAT and ACT


If you take the SAT or ACT more than once, you might be worried about your score in a particular section decreasing even if your composite or final score increases. In order to show yourself in the best light, some colleges will allow you to superscore the SAT or ACT.

What is superscoring?

Superscoring entails taking your highest score for each section of the test across all your test sittings and using these highest section scores to calculate your final score (SAT) or composite score (ACT).

Table: SAT superscoring example.

  Math Reading/Writing Total
Attempt 1 650 700 1350
Attempt 2 710 650 1360
Superscore 710 700 1410

For example, let’s say you take the SAT once. You get a 650 in Math, and a 700 in Reading and Writing, giving you a final score of 1350.

You want to get that math score up, so you take it again. This time you get a 710 in Math, and a 650 in Reading and Writing, giving you a final score of 1360.

Superscoring allows you to take your highest section scores between both sittings to calculate your final score. So you would take your 710 in Math from the second test, and your 700 in Reading and Writing, giving you a final score of 1410. Get 20 SAT strategies to improve your score. 


Table: ACT superscoring example.

  Reading English Math Science Total
Attempt 1 22 25 30 27 26
Attempt 2 27 26 23 23 25
Superscore 27 26 30 27 28

Now let’s say you take the ACT once. You get a 22 in Reading, a 25 in English, a 30 in Math, and a 27 in Science. Your composite score is 26. The second time you take it, you get a 27 in Reading, a 26 in English, a 23 in Math, and a 23 in Science. This gives you a composite score of 25.

Superscoring your ACT allows you to take your 27 in Reading from the first test, your 26 in English from the second, your 30 in Math from the first, and your 27 in Science from the first, making your composite score 28. Not sure if you should take the ACT again? Click here to find out why you should.

Do I superscore myself? Or does the college do it?

It depends on the college. Some colleges require you to submit all of your scores from each sitting. If they superscore, they will do the calculations. Some colleges recommend but do not require you to submit all your scores. Finally, some colleges allow you to choose which scores from which sittings you want to submit, allowing you to superscore on your own.

Which colleges allow you to superscore the SAT and/or ACT?

The table below lists colleges that allow you to superscore the SAT and/or the ACT along with their score submission policies. Explanations of the score submission policies are as follows:

Requires all: These colleges require you to submit every single one of your standardized test scores, both SAT and ACT, from all sittings.

Requires all SAT or ACT: These colleges require you to submit either all of your SAT scores from all sittings or all of your ACT scores from all sittings.

Recommends all: These colleges recommend but do not require that you submit all of your standardized test scores.

Score choice accepted: These colleges allow you to submit whichever scores from whichever sittings you would like.

Keep in mind that colleges might change their policies from year to year, so be sure to check their admissions websites to get the most up-to-date information.

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TABLE: List of colleges, superscoring and score submission policies.

College

SAT Superscore Allowed?

ACT Superscore Allowed?

Score Submission Policy

Abilene Christian University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Adelphi University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Agnes Scott College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Albion College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Allegheny College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

American University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Amherst College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Appalachian State University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Arizona State University-Tempe

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Austin College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Babson College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Baldwin Wallace University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Bard College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Barnard College

Yes

No

Requires all SAT or ACT

Baylor University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Beloit College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Bennington College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Bentley University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Berea College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Berry College

Yes

No

Recommends all

Binghamton University-SUNY

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Biola University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Birmingham-Southern College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Boston College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Bowdoin College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Brandeis University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Brown University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Bryn Mawr College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Bucknell University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Butler University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California Institute of Technology

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California Lutheran University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California State University-Fresno

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California State University-Fullerton

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California State University-Long Beach

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California State University-Los Angeles

Yes

Yes

Requires all SAT or ACT

California State University-Monterey Bay

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

California State University-Northridge

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Carleton College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Carnegie Mellon University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Case Western Reserve University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Centre College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Chapman University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Christopher Newport University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Claremont McKenna College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Clark University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Clarkson University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Clemson University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Colby College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Colgate University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

College of Charleston

Yes

No

Recommends all

College of New Jersey

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

College of St. Benedict

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

College of the Holy Cross

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

College of William and Mary

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

College of Wooster

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Colorado College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Colorado State University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Columbia University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Concordia College-Moorhead

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Connecticut College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Cooper Union

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Cornell College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Cornell University

Yes

Yes

Requires all SAT or ACT

Creighton University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

CUNY-Baruch College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Dartmouth College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Davidson College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Dennison University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

DePauw University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Dickinson College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Drew University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Drexel University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Duke University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Duquesne University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Earlham College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Elon University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Emerson College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Emory University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Fairfield University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Florida Institute of Technology

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Fordham University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Franklin and Marshall College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Furman University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Gallaudet University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

George Mason University

Yes

No

Recommends all

George Washington University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Georgetown University

Yes

No

Requires all

Georgia Institute of Technology

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Gettysburg College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Gonzaga College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Goshen College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Goucher College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Grinnell College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Hamilton College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Hampden-Sydney College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Hampton University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Hanover College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Harvard University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Harvey Mudd College

Yes

Yes

Requires all

Haverford College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Hendrix College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

High Point University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Hofstra University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Hollins University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Howard University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Humboldt State University

Yes

Yes

Requires all SAT or ACT

Illinois Institute of Technology

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Indiana University-Bloomington

Yes

Yes

Score choice okay

Ithaca College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

James Madison University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Johns Hopkins University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Kalamazoo College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Kenyon College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Knox College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Lafayette College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Lake Forest College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Lawrence University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Lehigh University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Lewis & Clark College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Loyola Marymount University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Loyola University Maryland

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Loyola University New Orleans

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Luther College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Marist College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Mercer University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Miami University-Oxford

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Middlebury College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Mills College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Millsaps College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Milwaukee School of Engineering

Yes

No

Recommends all

Mississippi State University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Morehouse College

Yes

Contact college

Score choice accepted

Muhlenberg College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

New College of Florida

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

New York University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

North Carolina State University-Raleigh

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Northeastern University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Northwestern University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Oberlin College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Occidental College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Ohio University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Ohio Wesleyan University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Pacific Lutheran University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Pepperdine University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Pitzer College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Point Loma Nazarene University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Pomona College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Pratt Institute

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Presbyterian College (SC)

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Princeton University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Providence College

Yes

No

Recommends all

Purdue University-West Lafayette

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Queens University of Charlotte

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Quinnipiac University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Randolph-Macon College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Reed College

Yes

No

Recommends all

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Rhodes College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Rice University

Yes

No

Requires all SAT or ACT

Rochester Institute of Technology

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Rollins College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-Newark

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Samford University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

San Diego State University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

San Francisco State University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

San Jose State University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Santa Clara University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Sarah Lawrence College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Scripps College

Yes

No

Requires all SAT or ACT

Seattle University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Seton Hall University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Sewanee-University of the South

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Siena College

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Simmons College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Skidmore College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Smith College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Soka University of America

Yes

Yes

Requires all SAT or ACT

Southern Methodist University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Southwestern University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Spelman College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

St. John Fisher College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

St. John’s College Annapolis

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

St. John’s University (NY)

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

St. Lawrence University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

St. Mary’s College (IN)

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

St. Mary’s College of California

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Yes

No

Recommends all

St. Michael’s College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

St. Olaf College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Stanford University

Yes

Yes

Requires all

Stetson University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Stevens Institute of Technology

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Stonehill College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Stony Brook University-SUNY

Yes

No

Recommends all

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

SUNY-Geneseo

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Susquehanna University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Swarthmore College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Syracuse University

Yes

Yes

Requires all

Taylor University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Temple University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Texas Christian University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Texas Lutheran University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

The Catholic University of America

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

The Citadel

Yes

No

Requires all SAT or ACT

Thomas Aquinas College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Transylvania University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Trinity College (Hartford)

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Trinity University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Tufts University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Tulane University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Union College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

United States Air Force Academy

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

United States Coast Guard Academy

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

United States Military Academy

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

United States Naval Academy

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University at Albany-SUNY

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University at Buffalo-SUNY

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University of Arkansas-Fayetteville

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Chicago

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Colorado-Boulder

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Connecticut

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Dallas

Yes

No

Recommends all

University of Denver

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Florida

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University of Georgia

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Kentucky

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of La Verne

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Mary Washington

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Maryland-College Park

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Miami

Yes

Yes

Requires all SAT or ACT

University of New Hampshire

Yes

No

Recommends all

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of North Carolina-Wilmington

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Notre Dame

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University of Oregon

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University of Pennsylvania

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Pittsburgh

Yes

No

Recommends all

University of Portland

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Puget Sound

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Redlands

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Richmond

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University of Rochester

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of San Diego

Yes

No

Recommends all

University of San Francisco

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of South Carolina

Yes

No

Requires all

University of South Florida

Yes

No

Recommends all

University of Southern California

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University of St. Thomas (MN)

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Tennessee

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Texas-Dallas

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

University of the Pacific

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Tulsa

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

University of Vermont

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

University of Virginia

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Ursinus College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Valparaiso University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Vanderbilt University

Yes

No

Recommends all

Vassar College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Villanova University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Virginia Commonwealth University

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Virginia Military Institute

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Wabash College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Wake Forest University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Washington and Jefferson College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Washington and Lee University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Washington College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Washington State University

Yes

Yes

Recommends all

Washington University in St. Louis

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Wellesley College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Wesleyan University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Westmont College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Wheaton College (IL)

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Whitman College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Willamette College

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Williams College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Wofford College

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Yes

No

Score choice accepted

Xavier University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

Yale University

Yes

No

Requires all SAT or ACT

Yeshiva University

Yes

Yes

Score choice accepted

 

Get $150 off any SAT or ACT program using code 2ndTRY.

Sign up for a free webinar to learn more about your score and next steps.

Register For ACT Webinar

or

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Learn More
 

Tags: For Students, For Counselors, sat, act, International Students, tips, sat prep

Guide to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the ACT

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Wed, Mar 29, 2017

What is the ACT?
The ACT is a college admissions standardized test, similar to the SAT. It helps college admissions committees assess your academic ability and potential and your college readiness.

Why should I take the ACT?Frequently Asked ACT Questions FAQ

  1. Most colleges require either the ACT or SAT as part of your application. Students attending public high schools in Alabama, Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming require Juniors to take the ACT for their statewide assessments.

  2. Finally, you might be eligible for certain scholarships based on your ACT score. Learn more here

Should I take the SAT or the ACT?

From the point of view of colleges, it doesn’t matter. All US colleges will accept either the ACT or the SAT. Ultimately it comes down to your personal preference.

Visual thinkers who like charts, tables, and graphs might prefer the SAT. Those who love to read and work well under time pressure might prefer the ACT. You can also take both to keep your options open when it comes to sending your scores to colleges.

Want to find out which is the best test for you? Click here to find out with just a few questions.

What is the ACT scored out of?

ACT scores range between 1 and 36. For each of the four required sections, you get a raw score, which is the number of questions you get right. Your final score, known as the composite score, is the average of your four raw scores.

TABLE: What is on the ACT? How long is the test?

The test covers English, math, reading, science, and an optional writing section. The total duration of the test is close to 3 hours, plus 40 minutes for the optional writing section.

Section # of Questions & Length Topics Included
English

75 Questions

45 Minutes

Punctuation, grammar, usage, sentence structure, strategy, organization, style
Math  
60 Questions

60 Minutes

 Pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, coordinate geometry, plane geometry, trigonometry.
 Reading  
40 Questions

35 Minutes

 Reading passages on social studies, natural sciences, literary fiction, and the humanities
Science

40 Questions

35 Minutes

Data representations, research summaries.
Writing (optional)

1 Prompt

40 Minutes

Text reading, analysis, and writing skills. Students produce a written analysis of a provided text.

When should I take the ACT
?

It is recommended that you first take the test during the 2nd semester of your junior year (11th grade). This way you will have learned all the material covered in school, but will have plenty of time to retake the test. You want to be done with all your testing by October or November of your senior year.

Do I need to prepare for the ACT? When should I start preparing for the ACT?

You should absolutely prepare for the ACT. Preparing will help you improve your score, which will increase your chances of getting into more schools. It is a good idea to start preparing after your sophomore year (10th grade). The summer between your Sophomore and Junior years is a great time to start preparing because it gives you ample time. ACT prep is not something you want to leave to the last minute.

Start a Free Trial for TestRocker's one of a kind ACT test prep!

How many times can I take the ACT?

You can take the ACT up to 12 times. The test is offered 6 times during the year. At TestRocker, we recommend that you take it a maximum of 2-3 times. We have not seen much of a score improvement beyond the 2nd or 3rd attempt, so it’s best to spend your time on other parts of your college application.

How do I sign up for the ACT?

You register online on the ACT’s website. Make sure you check the registration deadline in advance. Also be sure to check the testing center nearest to you, as it may not be administered at your school.

Can I use a calculator for the math sections?

Yes, you are allowed to bring a calculator, but it must be the right kind of calculator. Bringing a TI-89 is the most common reason students are dismissed from the ACT. Check out this free lesson on ACT calculator tips.

TABLE: How much does it cost to take the ACT? 

Although the price can vary slightly each year, the registration fee for the 2016-2017 school year is as follows:

Service Fee (USD) Additional Information
Registration (without writing section) $42.50 Includes reports for you, your high school, and up to 4 colleges
Registration (with writing section) $57 (with Essay)
$45 (without Essay)
Includes reports for you, your high school, and up to 4 colleges
Telephone registration $15 Only available if you’ve previously registered for a test
Late registration (US and Canada only) $27.50 Registering after regular deadline
Standby testing $51 Placed on waitlist for particular test center/date. Refunded if you are denied admission on test day.
Test center change $25 Keep your location, change the test date. If it’s after the registration deadline, you’ll also be charged the late registration fee.
International testing $51 Testing outside of US, Canada, or US territories.
Score reports for additional colleges $12 each Request online before test date.


Are there accommodations for students with disabilities during the ACT?

Yes. You can request accommodations online on the ACT website by filling out proper documentation.

Getting ready to take the ACT? Start TestRocker's Free Trial for sample questions and videos. 

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Tags: For Students, For Parents, For Counselors, act, International Students, questions, faq, actprep, frequently asked questions, act test, act exam

New ACT Test Date Added for 2018!

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Thu, Mar 23, 2017

 ACT, Inc has announced the addition of a 7th test date in the US: July. Here's what we know so far:

When will the July ACT first be available to take?

The July ACT will first be made available in 2018 on July 14th. While the College Board has introduced a new August SAT test date beginning in 2017, the ACT test dates remain unchanged for 2017: April 8th, June 10th, September 9th, October 28th, December 9th. 

TABLE: Remaining ACT Test Dates for 2017

ACT Test Date Available In
April 8th, 2017 Worldwide
June 10, 2017 Worldwide
September 9th, 2017 Worldwide
October 28th, 2017 Worldwide
December 9th, 2017 Worldwide

TABLE: ACT Test Dates for 2018

ACT Test Date Available In
February 10, 2018 US Only, Except NY
April 14, 2018 Worldwide
June 9, 2018 Worldwide
July 14, 2018 US Only, Except NY
September Worldwide
October Worldwide
December Worldwide


Where will the July ACT be available? 

The test will be available to all students in the United States, except for New York.New July ACT Test Date International test centers will not be offering the July ACT. 

Why should I consider taking the July ACT?

If you are in the Class of 2019 or later, you should definitely consider taking the July ACT. Here are a few reasons why:

Summer = Precious Free Time: The test is in mid-July which means you have part of your summer break to focus and prepare, without having to worry about regular school work and after-school activities. Taking the test in the summer gives you time to focus on other things during your senior year, such as keeping your grades up and working on your college application. Read more about whether you should study during the summer.

Early College Applicants: For those of you who plan to apply to colleges Early Action or Early Decision, this test date gives you an extra opportunity to raise your score and still have one final attempt to bring it up further if needed in the Fall. 

Makes time for the SAT or Subject Tests: If any of the universities you're applying to require you to submit SAT Subject Test scores, getting the ACT testing complete and out of the way sooner leaves you more time to prepare for subject tests in the Fall. Additionally, the same logic applies if you're also taking the SAT. Not sure if you should also take the SAT? Find out here.

Counselors, Students, Parents: What do you think about these test date changes? We want to hear from you. Leave your comments in the box below!

Tags: For Students, For Parents, For Counselors, act, test dates, july act

Before & After: Preparing for the ACT

Posted by TestRocker Team on Wed, Jan 04, 2017

 

While preparing for the SAT and ACT tests sometimes it can feel like you are all alone, but in reality you are in good company. Thousands of other students are going through the same tough but important process as they prepare for the SAT and ACT exams. Thousands of students are just as nervous, excited, and overwhelmed as you – so don’t worry, you’re normal!

As with all challenges it helps to talk to people going through the same experiences. We recently talked with high school student Julia Ryan about her experience preparing for the ACT and SAT tests and how TestRocker helped her do her best. Julia talks about her experience before she took her final ACT test, and about using TestRocker and improving her ACT score.

Before:

After

What were your score improvements?

“TestRocker boosted my ACT score by 4 points, which was incredible! I've never had that big of a score leap in any other standardized tests, so I was definitely super excited about that.”

What were your favorite features of TestRocker?

“I loved the specificity. I loved being able to go through the math section and being like "oh yeah I totally don't remember how to do that part of geometry at all." It made my previous scores make more sense because I could see exactly what I was missing, and then I could dive right into that and sharpen my weakest points.”

How do you feel TestRocker helped you improve your score?

“TestRocker goes right to the core of where you need work and how much work you need, so that helped me improve my score. Instead of just practicing for overall standardized tests, I could see exactly how much work I needed to do in each area in order to get the score I want!”
Julia Ryan on TR ACT.jpg

Julia using TestRocker's ACT Program

Why would you recommend TestRocker to friends?

“TestRocker is unique in comparison to the other ACT and SAT test prep because it targets exactly where you need help. It's completely specific to you, so that's why I recommend it. It's engaging and it keeps you on track in order to test as best you possibly can! I loved it.”

Check out TestRocker for yourself!
Take a free diagnostic test to instantly receive your customized study plan:

Sign up for our free trial

Tags: For Students, sat, act

Is the New SAT easier?

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Tue, Nov 01, 2016

HELLO.pngCutting to the chase, the answer is – it depends on the innate propensity of the student! The test has now been administered three times. TestRocker has had thousands of students prepare and sit for the New SAT as well as for the ACT. 

I have done an analysis of the questions and structure of both the ACT and the New SAT to help my students figure out which test is better suited to their strengths. Here is a summary of some of my findings:

Math Section:

I will say that the Math section of the New SAT is easier for students adept in English because the questions are less convoluted than those in the old SAT. Even in the No-calculator section, a section many students are nervous about, there is a dominance of straightforward algebra questions. Students have seen such questions before in their schoolwork. I would say in terms of content and time pressure, the ACT Math section is harder than that of the New SAT.

Let’s revisit the statement I made about the Math section being easier for students adept in English. The New SAT has added a language burden into the Math Section with the inclusion of text heavy questions. These questions mimic real life situations. Such as, questions about credit cards and interest payments. Students who come from countries or sections of societies where English is a weakness, the Math section can pose a reading and comprehension problem. Students might spend too much time trying to comprehend the question and setting up their equations before getting around to solving them. Thus, it would be hard for them to complete the Math Section in the allotted time.

Another set of students that could find the text heavy math section more burdensome is students with certain learning disabilities. Remember, if you have a learning disability, you are eligible for extra time. You must avail of this facility. The most common type of accommodation granted to a student is 50% extended testing time. Learn more about how secure testing accommodations here.

Reading Section:

The Reading section in the New SAT is easier than before in terms of the level of the text in most passages. However, the passages that relate to US foundation and history documents can have tough language. I would also say the Reading Section is easier than the ACT in terms of time pressure. Whether you’re taking the SAT or the ACT, Speed Reading Strategies are crucial to master. We have taught such strategies thoroughly on TestRocker.

What about vocabulary? Surprisingly, College Board insists that we are not required to learn obscure words anymore (by the way, many students don’t know what ‘obscure’ means). I can tell you that students still need to learn vocabulary because the mature level of some of texts included in the reading section requires the understanding of many obscure words.  Reading and comprehending the text becomes a challenge when students stumble on words they don’t know. Lifting their vocabulary skills will help students to not only read better, but also to write and communicate better.

Writing Section:

The New SAT grammar section is now identical to the ACT grammar section. Both test for knowledge of grammar, punctuation, structure of the passage, and rhetorical skills. The time pressure in the ACT is high in comparison: 75 questions in 45 minutes in the ACT versus 44 questions in 35 minutes.

The essay in the NEW SAT is an analytical essay and is harder to master than the more straightforward argument essay in the ACT. The prompt for the New SAT essay is a mature essay written by a renowned author. Students need to analyze the essay in term of the author’s use of rhetorical skills, and the strengths and weaknesses of the author’s argument. Students cannot give their own opinions. Whereas, the ACT essay is an extension of what it used to be. It is an argument essay where students need to address three given perspectives, and add their own analysis and opinions. So, the ACT has more latitude, while the New SAT essay binds the student into pure analysis of the essay prompt presented.

The above findings can serve as guidelines to help you choose between the New SAT and the ACT. To get an accurate idea of which is the test best suited for you, I would advise you to take TestRocker’s two-minute propensity quiz here.

Good luck!
Your Tutor,
Suniti

Note: New SAT refers to the SAT test the College Board has been administering since March 2016.

Tags: For Students, sat, act, New SAT

Guessing on the SAT and ACT…Is it worth the risk?

Posted by Suniti Mathur on Sun, Sep 28, 2014

best_guessWhen it comes to test prep students often spend hours studying to ensure that they are not surprised by any of the content on the test. Even with all the time dedicated to studying, it is impossible to predict which questions you will encounter. It is highly likely that there will be a few questions that you just do not know the answer to…that’s where guessing comes into play.

The risk associated with guessing differs depending on whether you are taking the SAT or ACT. The ACT has no guessing penalty, so here students may feel less apprehension about guessing. The SAT does have a guessing penalty. While students who guess correctly will only reap the benefits, those who guess incorrectly will lose 1/4th of a point. On the ACT, we advise our students to guess when they cannot figure out how to solve the problem or when time is running out. On the SAT, students should only guess when they are able to eliminate a few answers. Below are our tips for guessing smart on test day.

Tips for Guessing Smart

Extreme Attraction

Take note of the highest and lowest value listed amongst your math answer choices. Do the same when it comes to sentence completion questions. For each of these questions the CollegeBoard often includes extreme answers to throw you off. If you haven’t been able to eliminate any responses and plan to guess, be sure to go with the answer that is the median between the two extremes.

Units of Measurement

On math questions units of measurement will often be used. Before you guess, double check that the provided answer choices have the unit of measurement that is being requested in the question. Eliminate any choices that are not in the correct unit of measurement.

Question Context

You should depend on question direction and question tone to help you guess more effectively. The questions themselves often contain hints that you can use to find the answer. Look for these if you are ever stuck on a question. 

On the english sections, you will be required to put your vocabulary to use. If you’re being asked to find the opposite of a negative word, it makes sense to eliminate any words that have a negative connotation.

On the math section, skim the question to figure out whether your final answer should be a bigger or smaller value than the values provided in the question. Should your final answer be negative or positive? Will it be an exponent? Polynomial function? Or an integer? The answers to these questions should guide you throughout your process of elimination.

Ultimately with the right amount of preparation you should be able to make educated guesses on the test. 

If you're having trouble deciding on which test date to prepare for, read our blog on picking the right test date!

Tags: For Students, For Parents, sat, test prep, act, guessing

About Suniti

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Suniti is the creator of TestRocker, an online learning platform that helps you unlock your dream PSAT, SAT and ACT scores. TestRocker is based on Suniti’s highly successful and proven method of teaching thousands of students how to maximize their PSAT, SAT and ACT scores for over a decade.

TestRocker is an award-winning PSAT/SAT/ACT program that empowers students to take control of their test preparation. After taking a diagnostic test, students receive a customized study plan, individualized to their strengths/weaknesses. Students practice and learn concepts through videos. Each of the 2000+ questions on TestRocker is accompanied by a video explanation from Suniti. TestRocker has the largest video library in the world for PSAT/SAT/ACT preparation. 

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