3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Starting a Course-Sharing Initiative
Testing season is a time of stress and tough decisions for the students you’re counseling. One of the toughest decisions for the college-bound in your class is whether to take both the ACT and the SAT. Helping them answer that question can be more nuanced than you may think.
Two Tests, One Much Like the Other
Let’s start with basics for both tests. According to The College Board, which administers the SAT, the main test takes approximately 3 hours to complete with another 50 minutes allotted for the essay portion. Costs range from $43 for the main test to $54.50 for the essay version.
Additional fees apply for those who register by phone ($15), change their date or apply late ($28 each), or who show up the day of for a shot at a last-minute admission ($46)1. Plan well or you could end up paying a premium to take the SAT.
The ACT takes roughly as long to complete for both the main test (2 hours and 55 minutes) and the ACT Plus Writing (3 hours and 35 minutes)2. Costs to participate range from $39.50 for the main test to $56.50 for ACT Plus Writing. Additional fees for changes, phone registration and more are roughly in line with what The College Board charges for the SAT3.
Different Students, Different Strategies
Cost isn’t the only similarity between the ACT and the SAT. Functionally, they may as well be equivalent and college admissions officers tend to treat them as such. So is there ever a good reason for your students to take both tests?
Yes, it turns out. There are three scenarios where it may be a good idea to advise students to take both tests:
In most other cases, taking either the SAT or the ACT is enough, so don’t let your students stress out over the decision. After all, test scores are one of many criteria admissions deans consider. Grades, volunteer hours and demonstrated skills can matter just as much or even more.