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Are you thinking about going to college?

Whether the decision has already been made or is still years away, please browse through the College Planning Timelines, below, designed to help you prepare for college. Please note that although you can complete most of the necessary tasks in your junior or senior years of high school, you should start planning as early as the ninth grade. Not only will this improve your chances of getting into the college of your choice, but it will also make applying much easier.

Source: US Department of Education,

Here's a few tips about the College Application Process

Take the Tests Check out the Testing Tab for more Information

Most colleges in the U.S. require that students submit scores from standardized tests as part of their application packages. The most commonly accepted tests are the ACT Tests, SAT Reasoning, and SAT Subject Tests. For information about which you should take, talk to your high school counselor or to the admissions offices at the colleges to which you will apply.

The ACT Test

For detailed information about the ACT Tests, registering for these tests, how to prepare for the tests, what to take with you on test day, and understanding your scores, visit

The SAT Tests

For information on and registering for any of the tests described below, visit While the SAT itself has been redesigned, most policies and procedures remain the same.

Hot Topic: The SAT Essay Is Optional

When students register for the new SAT, they decide if they want to sign up for the SAT Essay. To make an informed choice, they should know two things:

  • Taking the SAT with Essay keeps the door open to colleges that require or recommend it. Go to College SAT Essay Policies.
  • The SAT's essay component has had a total makeover. It's now a lot like a typical college writing assignment. Learn more about the SAT Essay.
  • Students can switch between the SAT and the SAT with Essay online up until the registration deadline. And they might be able to switch on test day — at the discretion of the test center supervisor — if materials, seats, and staff are available.

Additional Important Changes

The structure, timing, and scoring have all changed. Compare SAT specifications.
On the new SAT, students can use a calculator on one part of the Math Test, but not the other.
Changes to accommodations for students with disabilities include the replacement of cassettes with MP3 audio and the provision of extra breaks to students approved for extended time. Get the complete list of SSD changes.

Picking a College