It’s that time of year where high school students who are considering applying to college should be looking into what standardized tests they want/need to take this year. The one test that is the most complicated for homeschoolers to register for is the PSAT. For some reason, the PSAT test administration is arranged by the school itself, so you cannot just go online and register for it like you can for all of the other standardized college entrance exams. Instead, you need to contact your local high school(s) and see if they will allow your student to test there. I have heard that private schools can be more homeschool friendly in this regard, though none of my three older children had any trouble with the local school (other than it was weird to show up at the school on a Wed. and try to figure out where to go).
The PSAT is administered only one time a year. This year, schools will be administering the PSAT on Wednesday, October 12th OR Saturday, October 15th (the school chooses one date). If your student is going to take the PSAT this year, you should start contacting your local high school(s) ASAP.
The PSAT is a good practice test to prepare for the SAT, but more importantly, if taken during the student’s junior year, it can get him entered into the running for a National Merit Scholarship. While, not the largest scholarship, monetary-wise, a National Merit Scholarship looks really good on college applications and I have heard via the grapevine that it can help pave the way for other scholarships.
Your student should also enter in your state’s homeschool code on the test form so that the test results will be sent to you and not the school that administered the test. Your student should also be wary of “helpful” test administrators who try to get him to change his code to the “correct” school code (some administrators have been known to actually change the code on a student’s form, thinking the student made a mistake).