The Showcase Magazine - Articles

What’s ahead this spring for college admissions tests?

by Erik R. Slagle

It’s decision time for high school seniors all around the country, as they sit down to weigh their acceptances and financial aid offers. The “fat envelopes” are in, or soon will be, and it’s time to analyze your options.

For everyone else, it’s a much different picture. There’s lots of options ahead for students thinking about the SAT, ACT, or even Subject Tests. With so many dates/deadlines to keep track of, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So, in the next two issues of the Showcase, “College Bound” will look ahead to the spring and summer with a month-by-month plan to make sense of it all.

March: The March 9th SAT is a popular choice for juniors. If Subject Tests are in your plans for May or June, use the March SAT date as a run-up to see how close you are to your SAT target score. You may find you need to keep May open for another SAT. And register by March 8th if you plan to try the April 13th ACT.

April: If you missed the February 9th ACT, not to worry – you’ll get another chance on April 13th. It’s a good option for juniors who want to see how they fare, and some sophomores who want to try it and not have to worry about reporting scores. After April, your next chance to take the ACT will come June 8th – in the middle of prom season and finals. So, take the April test if you can. Also, this month are registration deadlines for the May 4nd SAT: the 5th (regular), 16th (late, by mail), and 24th (late, online).

May: If the June 8th ACT is in the cards, register by May 3rd to reserve your spot. Many juniors also consider the May SAT (this year it’s offered on the 4th), but AP tests in May sometimes get in the way. If you’re not sure about May, don’t stress – the June 1st SAT can be a good fit instead. Make sure to sign up by May 3rd (same as the ACT) for the June SAT.

What should your overall strategy be? If you’re the parent of a sophomore or freshman, consider SAT Subject Tests in late spring, but have an informed conversation with their guidance counselor before deciding. Juniors generally should try the March SAT and April ACT (but no more than four combined attempts at the SAT/ACT in their high school career), and reserve either May or June for Subject Tests.

The spring semester of Junior Year is often the busiest and most challenging, time for college applicants sorting out their options. Together with your child and their guidance counselor, create a timeline and calendar that clearly maps out anticipated test dates and deadlines, as well as dates for events like college fairs and Open Houses. The process doesn’t need to be as stressful as some people make it –it just takes is a little organization and the right plan of attack!