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College Planning


Before you begin the process of identifying colleges that you would like to attend, you should try to get a realistic idea of who you are. Listed below are some questions that any help you better understand yourself.

  • What are my grades in school like?
  • Have I worked hard or do I do the work that enables me to just get by?
  • What are my test scores like? Can they be improved? Is there time?
  • What kind of special talents do I have?
  • What kind of things do I enjoy doing most?
  • What are my interests?
  • What kind of thought have I given to life after college?
  • What are my ambitions, hopes, and dreams?
  • What are my values?
  • What kind of personality do I have?
  • What do I know about college? 
  • Why do I want to go?

College Planning Checklist

February 2023

□ Register for SATs by February 10th on

March 2023

□ Take SATs

□ Attend Alvernia College Fair on March 7th, 2023

April 2023

□ Junior Conference with School Counselor

□ Request two letters of recommendation from teachers/coaches who know you best Letter of Recommendation worksheet

□ Request a letter of recommendation from your school counselor if necessary using the Letter of Recommendation Google Form

May 2023

□ Create a list of colleges that you are interested in.

□ Register for SATs and ACTS online- School Code: 392075

□ Take AP Exams.

Summer Break 2023

□ Visit colleges, take tours, and interview with the admissions department if necessary, and use the College Spotlight worksheet to take notes

□ Write the first draft of your college admissions essay

□ Create a common application account after August 1

□ Check admissions websites to find out if you need to take SAT, ACTs, or placement tests and register if necessary.

September 2023

□ Finish your college admissions essay

□ Finalize a list of colleges that you will apply to using the “Colleges I Am Applying to Worksheet”

□ Make sure you know the deadlines for each college.

□ Decide if you are going to take the SATs or ACTs again and register

October 2023

□ Create an activity resume

□ Start applying! Pay attention to all deadlines!

□ File FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) – after October 1, 2023

□ After you submit an application, ask your school counselor to send your transcript to the admissions department

□ Attend Financial Aid Information Night at the high school with a parent

November 2023

□ If you are applying to a school that uses the College Scholarship Service (CSS), fill out your CSS profile.

February 2024

□ Apply for local scholarships in the guidance office.

2023 SAT and ACT Test and Registration Dates


Upcoming SAT Test Dates

Registration Deadline

March 11, 2023

February 10, 2023

May 6, 2023

April 7, 2023

June 3, 2023

May 4, 2023

August 26, 2023

August 11, 2023

October 7, 2023

September 22, 2023

November 4, 2023

October 20, 2023

December 2, 2023

November 17, 2023

Register for SATs at

Upcoming ACT Test Dates

Registration Deadline

February 11, 2023

January 6, 2023

April 15, 2023

March 10, 2023

June 10, 2023

May 5, 2023

July 15, 2023

June 16, 2023

September 9, 2023

August 4, 2023

October 21, 2023

September 15, 2023

December 9, 2023

November 3, 2023

Register for ACTs at

SAT vs. ACT: Differences at a Glance



Total Time

2 hrs 55 mins without Writing
3 hrs 35 mins with Writing
3 hrs without Essay
3 hrs 50 mins with Essay

Order of Sections

1. English
2. Math
3. Reading
4. Science
5. Writing (optional)
1. Reading
2. Writing and Language
3. Math No Calculator
4. Math Calculator
5. Essay (optional)

Time Per Section

English: 45 mins
Math: 60 mins
Reading: 35 mins
Science: 35 mins
Writing (optional): 40 mins
Reading: 65 mins
Writing and Language: 35 mins
Math No Calculator: 25 mins
Math Calculator: 55 mins
Essay (optional): 50 mins

Number of Questions

English: 75 questions
Math: 60 questions
Reading: 40 questions
Science: 40 questions
Writing (optional): 1 essay
Reading: 52 questions
Writing and Language: 44 questions
Math No Calculator: 20 questions
Math Calculator: 38 questions
Essay (optional): 1 essay


Total score range: 1-36

Each section uses a scale of 1-36. Your total score is the average of your four section scores.

The optional Writing section uses a scale of 2-12 and does not count toward your final score.

Total score range: 400-1600

The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math sections each use a scale of 200-800 and are combined for a total score.

The optional Essay uses three separate scales of 1-8 and does not count toward your final score.

Type of Assessment

Achievement Test: curriculum-based tests that measure achievement in core content areas. Aptitude Test: reflects content used in all strong college preparatory courses.

Who Accepts Scores?

Accepted by all colleges and universities in the US

Accepted by all colleges and universities in the US

Is there a penalty for wrong answers?

No- Points are not deducted for incorrect or omitted answers.

Yes- 1/4 is subtracted point for incorrect multiplie-choice answers. No points are subtracted for incorrect student-produced responses (math section or for omitted questions).

What is the test content?

English: Punctuation, grammar and usage, sentence structure, rhetorical skills.

Math: Pre, elementary, and intermediate algebral coordinate and plane geometry; trigonometry

Reading: Determine main ideas, locate and interpret significant details, understand sequences of events, make comparisons, comprehend cause/effect relationships, determmine the meaning of context-dependent words, draw generalizations, analyse the author's voice

Science: Data representation, research summaries, conmflicting viewpoints

Writing: Essay that measures the writing skills

Critical Reading (CR): Sentence completion, passage-based reading, identifying main and supporting ideas, determining the meaning of words in context, understanding authors' purposes, understanding the structure and function of sentence.

Math (M): Problem-solving using numbers and operations; Algebra and functions; Geometry and measurement; and Data analysis, statistics, and probability.Students are advised to bring a calculator.

Writing (W): Recognize sentence errors, choose the best version or a piece of writing, improve paragraphs, grammar, usage, word choice and an essay.


Q: How is the SAT different from the ACT?

A: The SAT gives test takers more time per question than the ACT®. The ACT has a science section; the SAT doesn't. Both tests are accepted by colleges, and no preference is given to either test.

Q: What’s the best way for me to prepare for the SAT?

A: Take challenging courses in high school and work hard. Day-to-day classroom work and homework develops the knowledge and skills you need to succeed on the SAT. Go to Official SAT Practice at Khan Academy for free, personalized practice by the people who create the SAT. Take the PSAT/NMSQT.

Q: When should I start using Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy?

A: There's no hard-and-fast rule, but the more time you spend on Khan Academy, the more likely you'll feel well prepared for the SAT. If you’ve taken the PSAT, you can use those scores to get personalized practice for the SAT.

Q: How do you link College Board and Khan Academy accounts?

A: First, your child needs to sign up for an account on Khan Academy at When you do, you'll be prompted to connect to their College Board account.

Q: Is Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy as good as expensive test prep?

A: Yes. It's the only SAT practice site of its kind that’s officially endorsed by the College Board. Official SAT Practice is personalized to focus on exactly what you need to work on most.

Q: How many times can I take the SAT or ACT, and when should I take it?

A: You can take the SAT/ACT as many times as you want. We recommend that you take a test at least twice—in the spring of your junior year and the fall of your senior year. Many schools also use superscoring which is when a college combines your highest Math section score with your highest Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section score, even if those scores are from different test dates, to come up with your total SAT score.

Q: Which scores will look at if I took the SAT more than once?

A: Most colleges superscore and consider your best section scores across all administration dates. Some may require you to send all scores; others may ask for just one. Be sure to visit the website of the college that's right for you and check their score policy.

Q: Can I take the SAT with accommodations?

A: Yes—as long we approve the accommodation. We offer a range of testing accommodations for students with disabilities, including extended time, braille format tests, large-type format tests, MP3 format tests, and more. Requesting accommodations is a process that usually involves the school, and you may need to provide documentation of the disability. College Board must approve an accommodation before a student may test with that accommodation. When colleges receive SAT scores, they won’t know if a student took the SAT with accommodations.

Q: What do colleges look for in a score?

A: Each college has its own approach and policy when it comes to SAT scores, so don't forget to check their websites. Remember, SAT scores are just one part of your college application. Admissions officers factor in high school grades and courses, extracurricular activities, application essays, and recommendation letters when making their decision.

Q: Can I choose which scores to send to colleges?

A: Yes. You can select their best score by test date and send it to colleges. You can't send just the Math score or Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score. You must send the full score report.

Q: Which subject areas do the ACT cover?

A: English, Mathematics, Reading and Science

Q: Am I eligible for a fee waiver?

A: If you think you are eligible for a registration fee waiver, please stop by the guidance office to pick one up.

Q: Who can take the SAT and /or the ACT?

A: Anyone can take the SAT and/or the ACT if you register and pay the test fees.

Q: How is the ACT scored?

A: A composite score between 1-36 is given based on the average of 4 ACT Tests.

Q: Should I take the SAT or the ACT?

A: This depends on the requirements of the schools to which you are applying. If any of the schools do not express a preference, the choice is up to you.