How do I sign up for the SAT and/or ACT during the 2018-2019 school year?
Colleges are interested in your score on the SAT or ACT because it is an objective way to measure your academic strengths and weaknesses. Your score is a way to supplement what the college already knows about your academic record from your transcripts, and it gives the college a way to assess your readiness for college-level work. Many students take their first SAT and/or ACT during junior year. All colleges accept both the ACT and the SAT equally.
- 2018/19 SAT Dates: SATs are offered on October 6, November 3, December 1, March 9, May 4, and June 1. Registration deadlines are usually approximately one month before the test. In addition, all Hillsborough County public school 11th grade students will take a free SAT during the school day on April 9, 2019. Some students choose to take additional SAT tests, either before or after the free test.
- Information about the SAT: Register for the SAT at www.collegeboard.com. This website also has sample questions, listing of test centers, tips on how to prepare for the SAT, and more. Cost of SAT is $47.50 without the essay, and $64.50 with the essay. Most students who are planning to attend a 4-year university take the SAT with essay. Students eligible for free lunch are eligible for fee waivers for 2 SAT tests & 2 Subject tests (speak to your school counselor).
- SAT Subject Tests: SAT Subject Tests are one-hour long, multiple-choice tests administered by the College Board to measure your knowledge in particular subject areas. Florida public universities don’t require them, but many selective private colleges require/recommend that you submit two SAT Subject Tests. SAT Subject tests are offered in October, November, December, January, May, and June in 20 subjects. Check the websites of the colleges you will be applying to in order to determine if you should take 2 or more SAT Subject tests.
- Study for the SAT: The best way to study online for the SAT is through Khan Academy at https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat or study using paper-based study guides and practice test booklets.
- 2018/19 ACT Dates: ACTs are offered on September 8, October 27, December 08, February 09, April 13, June 8 and July 13. Registration deadlines are generally one month before the test date.
- Information about the ACT: You can sign up at www.actstudent.org. Cost of ACT is $50.50 without the essay, and $67 with the essay. Most students who are planning to attend a 4-year university take the ACT with essay. Students who are eligible for free lunch are eligible for fee waivers for 2 ACT tests (speak to your school counselor).
- Study for the ACT: The best way to study online for the ACT is by getting on their website: www.actstudent.org. You can also use paper-based study guides (from book stores or public library) and free practice test booklets (from the Cube or Guidance).
- Notes on testing: Many students take both tests. Some students have a learning style that is a better fit for one test vs. the other. It is recommended to take the SAT and/or ACT once, and then re-test with the one on which they did better. Many (but not all) schools “super-score”, which means that they choose your best combination of scores when considering you for admission.
What are some good websites to learn about the college application process?
- Naviance Student: All RHS students have access to Naviance Student, an online college and career planning program. You will use Naviance Student to manage your college application process. You can use college search tools to discover which schools may be a great fit for you, then research those colleges further. Naviance Student will be used to complete applications, request transcripts be sent and build a resume that will assist teachers in writing recommendations. Students can also take interest assessments, research careers and career clusters.
- Other good college search tools: College Board: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-search; College Navigator by the US Dept. of Education: http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/; ACT: www.actstudent.org; and many others. For example, www.cappex.com allows you to determine your chances of admission based on GPA and scores, and http://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings/best-colleges provides rankings of colleges based on variables like “best campus food” and “best athletic facilities”. Of course, the most commonly cited list of rankings is at http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities/data.
What are some good websites to learn about finding financial aid for college?
- Learn about how to apply for Financial Aid and Scholarships: Follow this link to a great explanation of the steps you’ll need to take to apply for financial aid and scholarships: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college. Learn the difference between need-based vs. merit-based aid. You will need to complete a FAFSA in order to qualify for Pell Grants, work-study, loans, etc. You will apply for need-based financial aid starting on October 1 of your senior year at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
- Attend a District Financial Aid Night: Financial Aid Nights for the 2018-19 School Year will be held in November and December from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at eight different schools throughout the district. Click here for a flyer about these dates.
- Investigate Scholarships: Explore scholarship opportunities through www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org (Bright Futures information), www.scholarships.com, www.fastweb.com, and www.studentaid.ed.gov, www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/portals/students.asp.