Important SAT advice for homeschoolers

Dear Fellow Homeschooler,
 
In addition to homeschooling my own child, I teach SAT courses as my profession, and periodically I offer free SAT classes and practice tests to the public.
 
Three years ago, I was horrified when two homeschooled 12th grade students came to one of these sessions in January and told me they had been advised to wait until the end of their senior year to take the SAT for the first time.  Such a test-taking plan would cause them to miss the application deadlines of almost every college in the country!  As a homeschooling parent myself, I decided that I would make sure to send an e-mail once or twice a year to the homeschooling community to remind them of SAT/PSAT benchmarks and to give them advance notice of the free classes and practice tests that my organization offers.
 
Regarding when high school students should take the exams -- the following information is vital:
 
        *  Many students elect to take the PSAT in October of their 10th grade year.  Note that
                the 10th grade PSAT is ultimately just a practice exam, so students can "get
                their feet wet."  It doesn't truly "count" for anything else.
 
        *  In October of their 11th grade year, most students take the PSAT exam.  The 11th
                grade administration is still primarily a practice SAT exam; however, a
                few scholarships are based upon performance on the exam, including the
                National Merit Scholarship as well as scholarships specifically granted
                to those of Hispanic and African-American heritage.
 
        *  Homeschooled students can still take the PSAT at area high schools, but they need to
                make sure to coordinate it in advance.  Homeschooled students should speak with
                the PSAT Coordinator at a nearby high school in order to register for the exam.
                They should do so by mid-September...the deadline is typically toward the end
                of September, but by then the PSAT Coodinator will likely have his/her hands full.
                Expect to be asked to pay a fee to cover the school's PSAT-related expenses as
                they apply to you.  If you miss the opportunity to take the PSAT, however, don't
                agonize over it...it's not ESSENTIAL.
 
        *  In the second half of their 11th grade year -- typically in January, March or May -- most
                students take their first SAT exam.  The SAT and ACT are the two exams most often
                requested by colleges and universities for the purpose of admission decisions.
 
        *  If students are happy with their scores after the first SAT, they can stop.  If they
                still need higher scores for admission to their preferred schools, they can still
                take the test again in June of their 11th grade year and multiple times in their
                12th grade year.  The exam is offered seven times per year: January, March/April,
                May, June, October, November, and December.
 
        *  Typically, the October exam of one's 12th grade year is the last SAT exam one can take
                for the purpose of Early Admission Decisions.  However, for regular admissions,
                students can usually take the November and December exams during the 12th grade.
                Most schools will take the January exam even if they will receive the results
                after their application deadline, as long as the SAT results are the only things
                they have not yet received.  Note also that some schools, such as University of Florida,
                have done away with Early Admissions, opting instead for a universal earlier
                application deadline.  Check with the individual institutions to confirm their
                particular policies.
 
        *  For the purpose of Florida Bright Futures scholarships, SAT administrations throughout
                the 12th grade year still are acceptable, even after the January test date.
 
 
My organization, Higher Standards, offers free SAT practice tests and strategy classes -- we have one this Sunday, November 22, and will offer another one in January.  All high school students and their parents are invited to attend.  At the session, I will be conveying a lot of important information in addition to the above, so it could be invaluable to make sure homeschooling families are staying on track and have the information they need.  To reserve a seat, call 305-234-2565.
 
I hope you feel the above information is important enough to pass on to the rest of the homeschooling community!
 
Sincerely,
 
Dr. Jeff Rothkopf
Director, Higher Standards Tutorial