College Admission Testing

(GRS School Code: 242300 – used during online registration)

While testing is an important step each student takes toward college admission, the SAT and ACT should be kept in proper perspective.

  • Most colleges throughout the country utilize either the SAT or ACT as part of the application process. Therefore we encourage all students to take both exams to determine which yields their strongest scores, beginning with practice exams in the sophomore year and during junior fall.
  • Some colleges do not require SAT or ACT, or have alternate test requirements. However, students are well advised to still try SAT and ACT before determining whether they will need or choose to submit test results based on their college list. See the edited list of colleges with alternate testing requirements available as a download, as well as much longer lists and detail at fairtest.org.
  • We recommend taking the SAT or ACT in junior spring. Any formal test-prep should not be too far in advance of the actual test dates. After taking practice exams junior fall, students can decide whether further test prep – either individual or structured class – may be desired. Please see advice on test prep in the attached FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Students should review test results with their college counselor in the context of their individual college searches and determine whether and when to retake either test, either junior spring or senior fall. Results of tests taken through November of senior year will satisfy deadlines for any early or rolling admission applications; December tests may meet regular deadlines.

Recommended Tests and Test Dates

Students take their first “real” SAT and ACT in spring semester of junior year, and usually repeat one or both tests in late spring of junior year or in senior fall. Often students earn their strongest scores in senior fall, based on their maturity, academic readiness and confidence in test-taking.

The first SAT or ACT is not the only one that counts; virtually all colleges consider just your best scores. Thoughtful preparation, rather than repeated testing, usually assures the best result.  Tests taken through early November of senior year may be used even for early application deadlines.

  • PSAT Juniors — Wednesday, October 16, 2013 (national test date). PSAT scores do not appear on transcripts or college applications, but the paper and online score reports contain customized information to prepare for future tests. Junior-year PSAT scores may qualify a student for the National Merit Scholarship competition.
  • Junior year SAT Reasoning Test  — January 25, 2014. The SAT includes a writing test, with a 25-minute essay plus multiple choice questions.
  • Junior year ACT with Writing — February 8 or April 12, 2014. Though the ACT writing test (a 30-minute essay with no multiple choice questions) is optional, we encourage students to take it (be sure to include the writing portion when registering). Popular state universities (Minnesota, Wisconsin) and most selective colleges require a writing test.
  • Optional dates to repeat these tests include:  June, September or October for ACT, and March, May, October or November for SAT.

 Optional IB Exams, grade 12  - GRS’s rigorous curriculum enables many students to apply their skills and knowledge to perform well on IB exams. Students elect to take individual IB exams to demonstrate their strengths at an advanced, college level of study. While IB test scores are not required for college admission, strong scores of 5, 6 or 7 (on a 7-point scale) may also earn college credit and placement.

 Optional SAT Subject Tests, grade 11-12. Subject Tests are one-hour multiple choice tests to demonstrate knowledge in a subject completed in a given academic year. Students elect to take Subject Tests to demonstrate their strengths at the high school level when applying to any college. Results of 2 or more Subject Tests results may be required along with SAT by some more selective colleges, although these colleges often accept the ACT in lieu of SAT + Subject Tests.

The ACT and SAT are the two main college entrance examinations. Registration is necessary to take the tests.  Registration and payment is done online.

SAT Test dates for 2013-2014

Test Date Registration Deadline Late Fee Required
October 5, 2013 September 6, 2013 September 20, 2013
November 2, 2013 October 3, 2013 October 18, 2013
December 7, 2013 November 8, 2013 November 22, 2013
January 25, 2014 December 27, 2013 January 10, 2014
March 8, 2014 February 7, 2014 February 21, 2014
May 3, 2014 April 4, 2014 April 18, 2014
June 7, 2014 May 9, 2014 May 23, 2014

*late fee dates

ACT Test dates for 2013-2014

Test Date Registration Deadline (Late Fee Required)
September 21, 2013 August 23, 2013 August 24 – Sept. 6, 2013
October 26, 2013 September 27, 2013 September 28 – October 11, 2013
December 14, 2013 November 8, 2013 November 9 – 22, 2013
February 8, 2014* January 10, 2014 January 11 – 24, 2013
April 12, 2014 March 7, 2014 March 8 – 21, 2014
June 14, 2014 May 9, 2014 May 10 – 23, 2014

To Register:

ACT: http://www.act.org/

SAT: http://sat.collegeboard.org

ACT or SAT Financial Support
If you are a student who needs financial support for any formal college testing (ACT or SAT) it is possible to get an application fee waiver(s).  You will need to talk to Matt McElrath, Student Services Coordinator, in the fall about this.