Greetings Students & Families!
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In COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PLANNING TIPS: TESTING – SAT, ACT & SUBJECT TESTS AP – WHAT’S REQUIRED?I discussed the variety of the standardized exams high school students complete including: SAT/ACT, SATII Subject tests, and AP/IB/AICE. This earlier note provides information on what’s required in college admissions, exam preparation and scheduling. If you prefer a less detailed version, please consider my video.  In particular, I urge you to review my recent note on TEST OPTIONAL COLLEGE ADMISSIONS.
Standardized Testing- SAT, ACT, PSAT, & AP exams ?!! College Admissions & College Applications Help
Standardized Testing- SAT, ACT, PSAT, & AP exams ?!! College Admissions & College Applications Help

Let’s answer two pressing questions about the SAT/ACT I know are on the minds of many seniors 

“What is the last scheduled fall SAT/ACT seniors can take to meet deadlines for submitting required scores as part of their CommonApp college applications?”

“Do I need to wait to submit my Common Application until after I take or submit my fall SAT/ACT exam scores?”

The answer to the first question depends on whether you’re an Early Action/Early Decision or Regular Decision applicant. For regular decision applicants, you can comfortably sit for the December exams. For EA/ED, and many public universities, the October date is typically the last acceptable test date. That said, please check each college’s website to review acceptable score report submissions.  That said, if you are applying to a TEST OPTIONAL university, it’s truly essential that you’ve read through their specific policy statement and review your situation and strategy with your Guidance Counselor.  You can schedule an appointment with me here:
For example, if you’re applying to the University of Florida or Princetonyou can find information on the last accepted test dates for the 2020-21 Common Application cycle in highlighted links. If you’re not into predicting score report arrival dates- Emory has a very informative chart to ease even the most college-admissions angst filled readers today.
*** Students can and should submit completed college applications even if you anticipate taking late fall exams. Your college application is submitted separately from required external documents including your test scores, high school transcripts and teacher recommendations. Your application isn’t evaluated until all required components are received. That said, please submit your application as soon as your portions are complete regardless of whether you have taken all your exams and sent scores. There’s an actual bias against “later” applications. No prizes for submitting in August with the exception of “rolling admissions’ -in which case you will hear rather quickly if you are one of the first applicants to submit.
Your Common Application has a section where you will list all test dates completed or to be taken. Keep in mind, teacher recommendations and transcripts can and do arrive before or after your application and you don’t need to worry about whether these supporting documents find their way into your (I’ll say more about the process for managing your application later in the fall).
*** TEST OPTIONAL Universities- Please don’t overlook that over 750 colleges don’t requre exams during this cycle.   For those that do, some have extended the last date to accommodate all students who do want to test.  Teens have plenty on their plates during this challenging time. If your short list of colleges are all “Test Optional”, please don’t add stress to the situation. There are rarely any testing miracles– don’t expect 300 point increases on your SAT or 5 point changes to an ACT-.  Have questions about your COLLEGE TESTING PLAN – let’s talk.  Click to schedule with Online College Counselor Bonnie Rabin, PhD



SAT vs. ACT – A Brief Comparison  

In my recent two-part series: COLLEGE ADMISSIONS: YOUR COLLEGE APPLICATION – SAT VS. ACT FORMATs PART 1 and PART II you learned about the content and key differences between the SAT and ACT exams. If you’re engaged in exam preparation with a tutor, it’s really important that your coach understand and customize your review to focus on the content that you need the most help mastering. If you’re approved for testing accommodations, your tutor should be incorporating these into the review process. Off-the-rack tutoring is a waste of time and money. If you need recommendations for review books, online programs or local tutors, please give me a shout out to discuss your learning style, your budget and your test score goals to coordinate how and when you’ll review for your SAT and ACT exams. One size does not fit everyone!
Don’t Worry!

We can all agree that the College Admissions process is complex and your application will most certainly be evaluated on several comprehensive criteria.  There are now more than 1000 Accredited Colleges and Universities  DE-EMPHASIZING ACT/SAT Scores to Admit Substantial Numbers of Students Into Bachelor-Degree Programs.   This list can be found here at 

Which format: ACT OR SAT?
All colleges will accept either test format.  Students are encouraged to explore both exams and take a practice test at home under test conditions.  If you’re working with a test preparation service/tutor, you should expect an assessment of testing formats with customized test preparation based on YOUR STUDENT’s needs.

Super Scoring and Score Choice
 options should relieve some of the stress over SAT/ACT scores.  Many colleges “superscore” which means that your application is evaluated on  a composite score based on the best sub-scores across different test dates.  This list can be found here:
Testing Accommodations
The College Board received 157,000 requests for testing accommodations.  I recommend that students apply for their accommodation as soon as possible as this covers not only the SAT/ACT but your AP exams.
If you’re approved for a testing accommodation, it’s important that your tutor administer a diagnostic tool to determine which exam format is most suitable for you, as some exam formats align more effectively with specific learning disabilities.  Your test preparation should incorporate and adjust for your accommodations.  For example, if you have extra time, your tutor should be teaching you how to effectively leverage this accommodation to realize your full potential.
Please be aware that the ACT organization will only approve accommodations if the student has been professionally diagnosed and if the student receives the same  accommodations at high school.  ACT also requires students to register for a specific test date at the time you apply for the accommodations.
The College Board requires accommodation requests to be submitted seven weeks in advance of your test date. Please start the process early allowing for time for appeals if necessary.  While having your high school support (if not handle) your accommodation request is extremely helpful, it isn’t necessary. Parents can do so independent of the high school if necessary. There is no stigma with requesting accommodations and this information is NOT shared with college admissions records.

Testing anxiety is a genuine concern.  For some students, an accommodation can be invaluable to addressing and resolving test anxiety. Please speak to your family physician for a referral to a licensed psychologist specializing in evaluation and providing the support you need to create the appropriate accommodations not only for testing but for success throughout high school.
Accommodations such as extended time, isolated test taking or keyboarding are provided for a variety of situations including ADHD, executive function disorders, physical disabilities such as visual processing or handwriting, and mood/anxiety disorders including test taking anxiety.
It’s certainly not uncommon for students to feel uneasy at exam time; but some students have experienced actual test anxiety which inhibits the student from performing to the best of their abilities as a result of cognitive and/or physiological responses to their anxiety. A licensed psychologist should be consulted to diagnose testing anxiety and create a plan for treatment allowing the student to feel empowered about the outcome and situation.  Preparing for exams and relaxation strategies will help students with test anxiety. Your psychologist should and can coordinate with your tutor.
What inspires your student?   Do You have a College Admissions Plan?
It is indeed never too early to begin Educational and College Admissions Planning!
Whether you’re ready to write your college essays or just beginning to research colleges and majors, or perhaps you want to create a customized reading, learning and time management plan to explore or deepen an academic/personal interest, I invite you to contact me to schedule your Educational and College Planning Assessment available for current seniors and all middle and high school students.
Best wishes for a absolutely meaningful and enriching 2019-20.
Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.
Educational & College Admissions Consultant
South Florida 561.509.0021 
Boulder/Denver  720 737 9944
Nationwaide   833.MY.ESSAY