Welcome to another great year at Foley High School!
The one thing that makes it better is the fact that you are a junior this year. There are so many things we must start thinking about this year… graduation, goals, careers, college, just to name a few. I want to focus on how are we going to get where we are going by asking you to do several things this year to make our journey so much easier.
- First, please take the ACT or SAT at least twice this year.
- Second, please login to career cruising and build a portfolio for a job or college.
- Third, look over a job application and a college application—know how to fill one out. I also want each of you to know how to fill out the FAFSA.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (known as the FAFSA) is a form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid (including the Pell Grant, Federal student loans and Federal Work-Study).
Foley High School offers sessions on how to fill out the FAFSA.
SAT or ACT?
You might wonder why you have to choose between the SAT and the ACT–maybe one of the two is favored by the students in your school. Ten or 20 years ago, choosing which test to take wasn’t even an issue. Until recently, the ACT was traditionally required by colleges in the midwest, and the SAT was the test of choice in the northeast and on the east and west coasts.
But now an increasing number of students are taking the ACT, and the majority of schools in the United States now accept both SAT and ACT test results.
How This Affects You
This increased acceptance of the ACT gives today’s savvy students a strategic advantage. The SAT and ACT are significantly different tests, and in many ways, they measure different skills. So depending on your particular strengths and weaknesses, you may perform much better on one test than the other. As a result, many students embarking on the admissions process are now considering both the SAT and ACT–to figure out which test provides a better showcase for their abilities.
What’s the Difference?
Admissions officers and educators often describe the difference between SAT and ACT in these terms: the ACT is a content-based test, whereas the SAT tests critical thinking and problem solving. This perception is one reason many educators (off the record) express a preference for the ACT–because they believe that the ACT is closer to testing the “core curriculum” taught in most school classrooms. In fact, this contrast isn’t exactly watertight. Many questions on the ACT test critical thinking, and there is a predictable range of material that’s tested on the SAT. But the SAT and ACT reward different attributes, so performing well on each test can boil down to what kind of test taker you are.
Here are some of the factors that make the SAT and ACT very different breeds:
- The ACT includes a science reasoning test; the SAT does not.
- The ACT math section includes trigonometry.
- The SAT tests vocabulary much more than the ACT.
- The SAT is not entirely multiple choice.
- The SAT has a guessing penalty; the ACT does not.
- The ACT tests English grammar; the SAT does not.
Remember, both the SAT and ACT are important parts of your application, but they’re only one of several factors–from your courses and grades to recommendations and your personal statement–that colleges consider.
There are two major college entrance examinations administered in the United States today: the SAT and the ACT.
Standardized tests like the SAT and ACT are designed to allow college admissions officers to judge all students by a common measurement. Scores on these tests can compensate for differences in high school curriculum, grade inflation, and quality of teaching. In addition, they serve as a reliable predictor of how you will perform academically in your freshman year of college.
The SAT is the most widely taken college entrance examination. It is designed to test your skill level in math, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. The test is divided into seven sections: 3 math, 3 verbal, and 1 experimental section. The math and verbal sections each have their own distinct question types, including quantitative comparisons, sentence completions, grid-ins, and more. The experimental section, used by the test developer to try out new questions, is not scored and can be either math or verbal. You will not know which section is experimental.
The SAT is scored on scale of 200-800 for both the math and verbal sections. The College Board sets the average for all test takers at 500 for each. A perfect score on the SAT is 1600. However, in recent years, fewer than 20% of all test takers achieve a math score of 600 or better. Fewer than 10% score higher than 600 on the verbal section.
The American College Testing Assessment (ACT) is designed to test your skill levels in English, math, reading, and science reasoning. On the test, you will have 2 hours and 55 minutes to complete a variety of multiple choice questions divided into four sections one for each tested subject area. The English, reading, and science sections each include several reading passages with anywhere from 5 to 15 questions per passage. The math section includes 60 questions each with 5 possible answer choices.
You will actually receive 12 separate scores on the ACT: 1 composite, 4 subject scores, and 7 subscores. However the composite or scaled score is the most important. It ranges from 1-36. Nearly half of all test takers fall in the 17-23 range.
Now that you know the difference between the two tests, it is now time to sign up for the one that best suits you. I have listed some test dates for both tests.
ACT & SAT Test Dates
|Test Date||Registration Deadline||Test Date||Registration Deadline|
|October 25,2014||September 19, 2014||October 11, 2014||September 12, 2014|
|December 13, 2014||November 7, 2014||November 8, 2014||October 9, 2014|
|February 7, 2015||January 9, 2014||December 6, 2014||November 6, 2014|
|April 18, 2015||March 13, 2015|
Remember, all juniors will take the ACT plus writing on April 28, 2015 during the school day. This is a free test and you do not need to sign up for it. I will enroll each of you the closer we get to the date.
The test is a 4-hour test. We will begin the test at 8:15 and finish around noon. It is important that you be here and be on time for the test. Also if you would like to take the test before that date you can. The price of the ACT plus writing is $54.50 and the price of the SAT is $52.50. There is information about both tests in the Guidance Counselor’s office, room 100.
Any student who is on free or reduced lunch can come by my office and pick up a fee wavier so that the cost of the test will be waived.