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What to Ask Your School Counselor about the ACT and SAT
You know your guidance counselor is there to support you. But you may not know some of the specific ways she can help. When it comes to standardized testing, your guidance counselor can be an excellent resource, helping you answer questions about the ACT and SAT, such as:
How do I decide between the ACT and SAT?
It can be difficult to determine which test is better for you. Ultimately, what test you should choose depends on your own strengths and how you perform on different types of tests. You should keep in mind that the tests are similar in construction, but do have some distinctions. For instance, the ACT has a science section, while the SAT does not. The writing sections diverge the most and measure different skills.
Your guidance counselor can help you evaluate your own strengths and decide which test is better suited to you. For more tips, check out SAT vs. ACT: Everything You Need to Know.
How do I send scores to colleges?
You’ll send your scores to colleges by entering the specific school codes on your test. Most colleges will take your highest scores. If you’re conflicted on whether you should self-report your scores on your application—learn more about that decision in Do I Have to Self-Report My Test Scores?—talk it over with your guidance counselor, who can help you decide.
How many times should I retake my tests?
Not happy with your scores? Your guidance counselor can work with you to figure out your goals and how to improve your scores. She can also make sure you’re being realistic and decide whether it’s worthwhile to retake the test at all. If you do take it again, your guidance counselor can help you decide how many times to do it and when you should stop. Check out 6 Things You Can Do Today to Improve Your SAT/ACT Score and Should You Retake the SAT? for more advice.
How do I apply for scholarships?
Some scholarships depend on your SAT scores. Work with your guidance counselor to decide which scholarships may be right for you and how to apply for them.
How do my scores matter in the context of my GPA?
Both your GPA and your standardized test scores matter. Discuss how you can ensure that your scores and GPA are compatible with your guidance counselor. You can also work with her to create a plan of action if your GPA and SAT or ACT scores don’t seem compatible. Find out more in Can a SAT/ACT Score Offset a Bad GPA?.
Ask your guidance counselor open-ended questions, rather than yes/no questions. You’ll probably glean more information from more subjective questions. Also, keep her role in mind, and remember that she’s there to support you. Don’t play a passive role; you need to take control of and be accountable for your own future.
For more advice on working with your guidance counselor and the importance of your standardized tests, read:
Looking for some more help for acing the SAT? The CollegeVine SAT Tutoring Program will help you achieve top scores on your test. We’ll pair you with two private tutors, one for English and writing, and one for math and science. All of our tutors have scored in the 99th percentile on the section they are teaching and are chosen based on teaching skills and ability to relate to their students.