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What Junior parents need to know

College Readiness

College Admissions Testing

Which Admission Tests Do I Need to Take?  There are a couple of different standardized college admission tests. The word standardized means that the test measures the same thing in the same way for everyone who takes it. The results of these tests help colleges determine how well prepared you are for college-level work.

When to Take the Tests

These facts may help with your planning:

  • Most students take the SAT or ACT for the first time in the spring of junior year.
  • Students who choose to take the SAT or ACT a second time typically do so in the fall of senior year.
  • SAT Subject Tests are best taken directly following relevant courses, while the material from class is still fresh in your mind. But you can take them at any time during high school.


Some four-year colleges require that students submit ACT scores. The test is structured with four major sections: English, math, reading and science (and an optional essay section).


Even though the SAT test is one of the most commonly used exams for college admissions, not every undergraduate program requires it. Certain programs and universities may require other admission tests for acceptance into academic programs instead of, or in addition to, the SAT. The exact score that an individual must achieve on the SAT in order to gain entrance into a particular program varies from program to program and from college to college. The test is structured with three major sections:  math, reading and writing (which includes a written essay). 

Some colleges require or recommend that you take SAT Subject Tests. Even if a college does not recommend Subject Tests, you can use them to enhance your application and demonstrate knowledge you’ve gained outside the classroom. Some colleges also use Subject Tests to place students into the appropriate courses. If you perform well on the tests, you may fulfill basic requirements or get credit for — and possibly place out of — introductory-level courses. SAT Subject Tests are hour-long, content-based tests that allow you to showcase achievement in specific subject areas.There are 20 SAT Subject Tests in five general subject areas: English, history, languages, math and science.

SAT Test Prep


The PSAT is offered nationally every year in October. Ask your school counselor about when your class is scheduled to take the PSAT. The PSAT won’t count towards your college admissions applications, but it is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship. Use the PSAT as practice for the SAT and ACT and an important guidepost on your college admissions journey. The PSAT has two sections: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. 

California Colleges

Get the List of Colleges and Universities in California for 2017. Serving 1,389,874 full time students, the 331 colleges and universities of California offer choices for all types of student. Whether you're searching for a public or private school, traditional or online campus, our guide to colleges in California offers a comprehensive guide to the state's higher education options.

College Search

Provided by The Princeton Review

Peterson's Planning

The Peterson’s databases includes over 50,000 accredited Schools and Programs, and over 5,000 Scholarships.

US News & World Report Best College Rankings

Choosing a college or university to attend is a major life decision, but it’s not one that you have to make alone. U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings can take some of the stress out of the school research and selection process and help students find a college that’s a good fit.

The Common Application

As the name indicates, it enables students to create an account and complete one basic form accepted by member institutions, eliminating the need to enter the same information over and over when applying to multiple institutions. Students using the CA should probably have colleges in mind when they open their account/start their application. Although they can search for member colleges by region and by state (except for North Dakota, of course) they can't search by major, one of the most important criteria for many students. Instead, they're asked to search for schools by relatively obscure criteria like whether or not they have application fees or writing requirements.

Private Colleges

The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) represents almost 80 California private nonprofit colleges and universities. AICCU institutions range from large to small traditional liberal arts institutions, including nationally ranked research universities; colleges offering faith-based, performing and visual arts, and “non-traditional” programs of study; as well as professional schools that specialize in business, law, medicine, and more.