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Homeschoolers and College Admissions Testing

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By Beverly S. Krueger

One of the chief non-subjective means that admissions officers use in determining the admissions of homeschooled students to college are their college admissions test scores. The SAT and the ACT tests serve as an unbiased means to prove that your student has the academic chops to make it in college. These tests become more meaningful for the homeschool student because other indicators used by admissions officers don't apply to them. These include items like class rank and, to a certain extent, grade point average when the parent has done all grading. It's hard to imagine boiling down a homeschooled student's entire academic career into one test, but when admissions offices rely on quick look type admissions requirements it can come to this. Smaller colleges may do a more personal admissions process. Here is some brief information on registering and preparing for these tests.

How to Register for the Tests

Online registration is available for PSAT, SAT, SAT II, and ACT tests. Since most regular registration ends approximately five weeks prior to the date of the test, you'll want to determine the testing date you prefer and register as soon as possible. Late registration is available, but it requires hefty late fees and still ends three weeks prior to test date.

What you'll need on test day

  • Your admission ticket for the test
  • An acceptable form of identification. Typically, this includes a current photo identification like a driver's license or military id. There are other forms of acceptable identification, but they are specific about what they will and won't accept. For example, birth certificates are usually not accepted.
  • A quantity of number 2 pencils sharpened with good erasers
  • A calculator. Only certain types of calculators are allowed. Make sure your calculator is on the list of acceptable calculators and practice using it prior to the test.
  • A watch - all watch alarms must be turned off.
  • You should not bring scratch paper, snacks, other electronic devices like cell phones or CD players, books, highlighters or other pens and pencils or math aids like a compass, ruler, or protractor.

Important things to consider

  • You cannot be late for the test. Be sure to get to the testing center by the time listed on your admission ticket.
  • You should prepare for the test by taking sample tests. This will keep you from spending any time understanding the format of the test or its questions.
  • You should prepare for the test by making a careful review of information that will be covered. This can be done with test preparation software or books widely available.
  • Get a good night's sleep the night before the test, eat well in the week prior to the test, and make sure you are well hydrated in the days before the test.
  • Get as much free help as is available from the testing center itself. Read all the tips and techniques and suggested strategies and reviews that the test makers provide online.

Test Taking Resources

Test Prep Books
These include a variety of books for each of the tests that offer sample tests on CD. Books are available for those planning to take the older version of the SAT and for those who will be taking the new SAT.

Test Prep Software
If you plan to take more than one type of college test, software is available that reviews for SAT, PSAT and ACT all in one package. Individual software is available also.

Test Information

SAT
SAT Registration

The College Board site offers information on how to prepare for test day, practice questions, a free mini-SAT, and other resources. Fees for the SAT Reasoning Test will change in 2005. Through January 2005, they are$29.50 and after January 2005, they are $41.50. Test dates are October 9, November 6, December 4, and January 22. The new SAT Reasoning Test will be offered beginning March 12, May 7, and June 4 in 2005. Regular registration ends approximately five weeks prior to test date and late registration ends approximately three weeks prior to test date. Late registration includes additional fees.

If you will be applying to a university which requires additional SAT Subject tests, these can be taken SAT II subject tests are available as follows: Writing, Literature, U.S. History, World History, Math Level IC, Math Level IIC, Biology E/M, Chemistry, Physics, French, French with Listening, German, German with Listening, Spanish, Spanish with Listening, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Japanese with Listening, Korean with Listening, Chinese with Listening, English Language Proficiency Test. The SAT Writing test will no longer be administered once the new SAT is available. The writing section of that test is similar to the SAT Writing test. SAT Subject tests are available on the same dates as SAT Reasoning tests except for the March 12, 2005 date. The Language tests with Listening are available only on the November 2004 testing date. The English Language Proficiency Test is available in November and January at select testing centers.

ACT
ACT Registration

The ACT site offers information about taking the test and preparing for each portion of the test: English, math, reading, and science. Fees for the basic ACT are $28.00 and for the ACT plus Writing Test $42.00. Deadlines for registration are approximately five weeks prior to test date for regular registration and three weeks prior to test date for late registration. Late registration includes additional fees. The ACT is offered in select states on September 25, 2004. It is also offered October 23 and December 11. Beginning in February of 2005 the ACT test will include an optional 30-minute Writing Test. This test along with the regular ACT will be offered February 12, April 9, and June 11 in 2005.

PSAT/NMSQT
Registration

The PSAT/NMSQT is the qualifying test for the National Merit® Scholarship Program. In order to continue on to the final competition homeschoolers must take this test in the junior year of high school. The PSAT/NMSQT test is administered through your local high school. You must register at your local school to take this test. Test dates for 2004 are October 13 and October 16. You will want to call your high school as soon as possible to be certain to reserve a space for your student. The College Board recommends doing so in June for homeschoolers. The PSAT/NMSQT fee is $11.00 although your local school may charge additional fees.

Copyright ©  2004 Eclectic Homeschool Association

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