SAT, ACT No Longer Required For Admission To 800 U.S. Colleges And Universities

A growing number of colleges are stepping away from the standardized exams traditionally required of admissions applicants. More than 800 colleges and universities across the country no longer mandate score submissions from SAT or ACT college admissions exams, according to the latest survey by the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, otherwise known as FairTest and a longtime critic of the SAT.

Read more via the HuffPost Education article here.


More Application Tips!

Via Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz @HuffPost:

Right about now, every college bound high school senior is doing (or should be doing) the same thing: filling out college applications. While each phase of the college admissions process is important, nothing is more important than completing the applications. When all is said and done, the best case for colleges admitting you is offering them a stellar application that articulates who you are as a student and person.

Read the rest of the article to learn about seven things you can do to make sure your application stands out from the crowd.

November Checklist: Seniors

Assess Your Progress Toward a Strong Finish

Finish your first semester on a strong note in the classroom. Colleges know that you often start your academic career at their institution in the same way you finished at your high school.

You should also continue to show teachers and other adults in your life that you make wise choices in and out of school and demonstrate that you are ready for the independence that you will have as a college student.

Next, place yourself into one of the following two categories:

Not There Yet: You have procrastinated or need more time to prove yourself to colleges; it is important to recognize that college admission is within your reach.

In the Waiting Room: You have written and rewritten essays, requested transcripts and teacher recommendations, sent scores and perhaps completed your interviews.

Checklist for Seniors Who Are ‘Not There Yet’

It’s not too late, and you’re not alone. Students move through this process at different speeds, and there is not one definitive deadline for all colleges.

Please note that the only definitive deadlines are for financial aid, and you and your parents must meet these deadlines to qualify for money. If you put yourself in the camp of “not there yet,” please follow these basic instructions to complete the process:

Take Standardized Tests, Before It’s Too Late

Register for the SAT or ACT before the late registration deadline passes. (Please note that some SAT test dates and deadlines have changed for students in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.)

Request Supplemental Materials for Your Application

Request teacher recommendations and transcripts from your counselor as soon as possible. Most schools require three to four weeks advance notice to process these materials.

Complete Your College Applications

Nearly 500 colleges and universities accept the Common Application, which students can use to apply to a number of colleges and universities. You may also use your prospective college’s online application by going directly to the school’s Web site.

If you need help paying for applications or standardized test registration fees, ask your school counselor if your family qualifies for fee waivers.

Checklist for Seniors ‘In the Waiting Room’

You have handled the process part of the college application very well, which in so many ways shows that you are ready for the independence you will have next year. Take a moment to celebrate the work you’ve done. This is a milestone, and you should be proud of yourself.

If you’ve already hit the submit button and applications are out of your hands, this time can be wrought with anxiety as you wait to hear your fate. No matter how much you want to know the answer, you cannot speed up time; you will not know until the college releases their decisions. Some things to consider:

Keep Your Options Open

It’s not too late to make last-minute additions and revisit and reaffirm the choices you’ve made. Now is the time to make sure you have applied to an appropriate list of colleges that will afford you choice.

Prepare Next Steps After Early Decision

If you have applied under an early decision plan, use the next few weeks to work on the applications you will file if you are deferred or denied in the early decision round. Do not submit these applications yet (you do not want to pay the fees at this point) but have them ready to go. Do not lose time because of poor planning.

Mind the Deadlines

Be aware that some colleges use Jan. 1 as a deadline. If fireworks are bringing in the New Year outside, it is really too late to be working on these applications.

Follow Up With Teachers and Counselors

Here’s a well-kept secret: teachers and counselors like school vacations, too. Most of them have been working tirelessly all semester to support your application process. Let them know before winter break if you have additional applications you’d like to submit.

Now is also a great time to thank your teachers for their support. A kind word or a note goes a long way.


Financial Planning for College

Great article by Rachel Louise Ensign in the Wall Street Journal. Parents of college-bound students as well as those a more than a few years out from starting the process should give this article a read! Starting to think about college costs early on is crucial in setting up your finances in a way that won’t hurt you come FAFSA time.

Affordable SAT Prep Options

From Lynn O’Shaughnessy @CNN Moneywatch:

Studying for the SAT testcan be extremely expensive.

Some private tutors charge $150 or more an hour and it is not uncommon to pay at least $1,000 for an SAT prep course.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune for test prep. Here are five free or nearly free resources that teenagers can use to boost their scores.

1. College Board

The test maker’s website is the only place where a student can practice by taking an official, full-length SAT test and get his/her scores right away. Students can also sign up for daily SAT questions. I recommend that students buy the College Board’s Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd Edition, which is only $12.08 on Amazon.

2. PWN the SAT

If your child wants to improve his math SAT scores, head to PWN the SAT. Concerned about how pricey test prep has become, Mark McClenathan, a math tutor in New York, launched this extremely helpful site last year. You may also want to check out McClenathan’s book, PWN the SAT: Math Guide, which has received rave reviews on Amazon.

3. Perfect Score Project

Believe it or not, this test-prep site was created by a mom of two teenagers who took the SAT at every available testing date (seven times) for an entire year. The mom (or should I call her a masochist?) has loads of SAT tips on her site.

4. Erik the Red

This great site belongs to Erik Jacobsen, a math/physics tutor and PhD in Summit, N.J., whose specialties include preparing students for the math section of the SAT and ACT. You’ll find a tremendous amount of free materials to download for the SAT test including quizzes, formulas and strategies.

5. The Critical Reader

Erica Meltzer, who is a test-prep tutor from New York, provides a great deal of information on her website that’s aimed at helping student improve on the reading and writing sections of the SAT. She offers free study guides on her site and if you want more advice, check out her book, The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar.