I recently posted about registering for the PSAT, but the SAT or ACT score is the score that colleges actually look at when considering a student for admission (except for some select schools, which no longer use standardized test scores as part of their admissions process). The SAT and ACT may be taken at younger ages, but are traditionally taken during a student’s junior or senior year of high school. Both are offered at multiple times and locations throughout the year. Registration is done online.
Currently the written portion of the ACT is optional, but before opting out of that portion, students should ensure that the colleges they are interested in applying to don’t require it.
In addition, some colleges require SAT subject tests. These tests are best taken as soon as the student completes the subject. So if a student studies world history in 10th grade, it would be best to take that subject test in 10th grade, rather than wait until 12th grade. Some schools require more subject tests from homeschooled applicants than from public and private-schooled applicants. Many homeschoolers refuse to apply to such schools, but if your student really has his heart set on such a school, he may need to take four or more subject tests.
Finally, Advanced Placement tests are often used as a means for students to further impress colleges. AP tests can also be used to earn college credit for students, as can CLEP tests. If a student hopes to obtain college credit with these tests, he should investigate his college preferences first, as not all schools will grant credit. Not all AP tests are offered at all locations. You will need to call AP Services, no later than March 1, to coordinate testing for an AP exam. CLEP tests tend to be administered at colleges and after you find a test center through the CLEP website, you will need to contact the test center to make arrangements for testing.
As with the PSAT, homeschoolers have a special school code for these tests that they should provide if they want their scores sent to them. For all SAT tests, it is 970000. For the ACT it is 969-999 (please verify that these codes are still current before going to take the test). The HSLDA has a list of each state’s test codes for homeschoolers for AP exams, but you probably should verify with the AP coordinator that the code is current.
With all of these testing options, it is a good idea for students, seniors in particular, to plan out their annual testing schedule now, rather than waiting until closer to admission packet deadlines.