The CollegeVine Blog

The CollegeVine (formerly Admissions Hero) Blog is your go-to source for all things academics, applications, and extracurriculars, straight from our team of top-tier admissions experts.

  • A Guide to the Reading Section of the ACT

    The ACT, along with the SAT, is one of two standardized tests commonly used by college admissions committees to assess your college-readiness. Most students who take it are high school juniors or seniors who intend to apply for college, but in some states, all high school students must take the ACT as a graduation requirement. Unlike the SAT, which aims to assess aptitude, the ACT aims to assess learned knowledge.

    The ACT is divided into four required sections and one optional section. The required sections are Math, Reading, English, and Science. The optional section is a written Essay section. In this post, we will introduce the Reading section of the ACT by breaking down its format, scoring details, and content. At the end of the post, we’ll share our favorite strategies for ACT Reading prep. Read on to learn how you can master the ACT Reading section.

  • Tips to Prepare For Your SAT Test Day

    Unlike a midterm or a final exam, your SAT prep should consist not only of reviewing content knowledge, but also of test-taking strategies and time management skills, in addition to the core skills and content likely to appear on the test. Standardized test taking is a skill in and of itself, so much of your SAT prep will focus on these unique skills.

    Ideally, SAT preparations should begin months in advance with a well-defined study plan. You should think of your SAT prep in four distinct phases: long-term preparations, short-term preparations, night before the exam prep, and the day of the exam.

  • A Guide to the English Section of the ACT

    In this post, we will introduce the English section of the ACT. We’ll start with an introduction to its format and scoring, and then move onto the specific skills it assesses. At the end of the post, we’ll share some of our favorite strategies for the English section of the ACT. Read on to learn how you can master the ACT English section.

  • National Honor Society Community Service Project Ideas

    National Honor Society is an organization comprised of high school students in grades 10 through 12 with stellar academic records, as well as other leadership, character, and service accomplishments. Students must meet certain academic criteria, after which they generally must apply for membership. In order to become a member, your high school must have an NHS chapter. Membership requirements vary by high school, and most decisions are made at the individual local chapter level. Visit the NHS website to learn more about requirements for membership.

    NHS is a great achievement to add to the honors or the extracurricular activities sections on your college applications. Furthermore, it provides excellent opportunities to grow your leadership skills through conferences and events exclusive to NHS members. To learn more about NHS and the benefits of becoming a member, check out our post, How (and Why) to Get Into the National Honor Society.

  • How to Pace Yourself On Every Section of the SAT

    The SAT is a test designed to measure college and career readiness and is most often used for college admissions. Since it is standardized, it must take place under strict time constraints. Each of the test’s four required sections and one optional section have strict time limits that are enforced, and even breaks are divvied out according to a prescribed schedule.

    These time limits ensure that the testing experience is universal and that no students receive an unfair advantage (though some students may qualify for extended time through the College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD)). Although it’s easy to feel rushed as the clock keeps ticking, knowing how to approach the SAT’s time limits is just another part of preparing for the exam.

  • Five SAT Strategies You Should Know

    Although you will need to prepare specifically for each section of your SAT, considering the unique structure, content, and skills required for each, there are also some strategies that can be applied universally to both the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section and the Math section.

    For five simple strategies that you can use on any part of your required SAT, read on.

  • What Do I Do If My Summer Plans Fall Through?

    Whether you are scrambling to find new summer plans after old ones fell through, or you are just starting to plan your summer activities, this guide will help you plan your make the most of your summer break, an essential time for all high school students.

  • Complete List of SAT Subject Tests

    While the SAT test serves as an assessment of your career and college-readiness, it is not the only standardized test used by college admissions committees as they make important decisions about your application. SAT Subject Tests are among the other tests considered by the admissions committees at many colleges and universities.

    Even if the schools you’re applying to don’t require SAT Subject Tests, they are still a great way to set yourself apart in a competitive pool of candidates, and they can also help to create a more complete picture of you as an applicant. SAT Subject Tests are a great choice if you have specific academic strengths that you wish to highlight or reaffirm on your college applications. Read on for a complete list of all SAT Subject Tests.

  • What Does My PSAT Score Mean?

    For many students nationwide, the PSAT is your first introduction to College Board standardized testing. Although you have probably sat through numerous standardized tests throughout your education up until this point, this is the first time that you are taking a test designed specifically to assess your progress towards college-readiness. This may seem like an intimidating prospect, but don’t let it get in your way.

    The PSAT is actually meant to provide you and your teachers with more information about your knowledge and, by doing so, provide direction for your future education. These scores can affirm your areas of strength and draw attention to areas that need more reinforcement, practice, or attention before you’re ready for college. Your PSAT scores, while important indicators of your progress, are not ultimately a part of your college application, unless you happen to do so well that you earn yourself a scholarship. So, while it can seem stressful to take the PSATs, it’s helpful to think of your PSAT score as something that, at the very least, can’t do any harm.

  • What Is a Good ACT Score?

    You’ve probably heard a lot about the importance of standardized tests, and you may be familiar with the scale the College Board uses to score the SAT. However, the ACT scoring system may be less familiar to you, so it can be harder to discern what you should aim for to get into a top college. In this post, we will look at the ACT scoring system and how you can prep for the test to receive the scores you need to be accepted to the school of your choice.

    What is the ACT?

    The ACT is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. Most colleges require students to submit either ACT or SAT scores as part of their applications, and often schools will accept ACT results in lieu of SAT Subject tests as well.