College Planning For 12th grade (timeline of what to do when during your senior year)

College Planning Timeline for 12th Grade Students (from: bigfuture.collegeboard.org)

What will College be like?

What is college like? (watch this 1min video from Collegeboard.org)

YouTube "NowThis" initiative: provides free youtube videos with information to help first year college going students learn about the ins and outs of college life. Information from paying for college to managing your time and more.

Now This College Initiative

College Search Tool

BigFuture.CollegeBoard.org is a website that students and parents can utilize to help search for colleges, compare colleges, learn about different college requirements and majors, and learn how to pay for college.

College Entrance Exams:

Most four year colleges and universities require that applicants submit standardized test scores as a part of their application. The two widely accepted standardized tests are the SAT and the ACT. Check the college or university website to determine if they prefer you to take the SAT or ACT.

*When making your accounts use a personal email address and NOT your school gmail.*

SAT vs. ACT: What's the difference?

SAT vs. ACT: learn the difference


The SAT Reasoning Test is a measure of critical thinking skills students need for academic success in college. There are three sections to the SAT: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW), Math, and the optional Essay. The test occurs on Saturday mornings and takes approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes without the essay or 4 hours and 5 minutes with the essay.

The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section is broken down into two tests: The Reading Test and the Writing and Language Test. In both tests, students will be asked to read a passage and answer questions. The Reading Test will ask questions focusing on finding evidence in the passages, use context clues, and analyze the passages. The Writing and Language Test asks questions regarding mistakes in punctuation, syntax, clauses, etc. This section does not require any prior knowledge of the passages or topics.

The Math Test is broken into two sections: No- Calculator and Calculator. It is designed to replicate the kinds of math that students will encounter in their college courses as well as in jobs and their personal lives. The focuses of this section are linear algebra, quantitative analysis, and complex equations, but it also uses geometry, trigonometry, and other math topics that are applicable to college and career readiness.

The SAT Essay, while optional, can often be required by colleges. It is a 50 minute section that will ask you to read a passage and explain how the author builds their argument using evidence from the reading.

The SAT is administered seven times during the year. It is administered at WASHS the first Saturday in May and the first Saturday in November. Students wanting to take the exam other dates typically can be accommodated at Chambersburg, Hagerstown, or Mercersburg Academy. Be sure when looking at test dates to pay close attention to the registration deadlines.

Students are encouraged to take the SAT in May of their Junior year. This way, students have time to take the SAT again before submitting college applications at the beginning of their senior year. For detailed SAT information or to register for the test, please visit the CollegeBoard. Students must register through the CollegeBoard website.


The College Board and Khan Academy - a leader in online education - have teamed up to provide world-class practice tools for students for free! If you go to satpractice.org, you will find full-length practice tests as well as thousands of practice questions written in collaboration with the same developers who redesigned the SAT.

Prep Factory is a free, on-line tool to help you study for the SAT. It includes examples for each skill at each score level and a full length practice test among many other helpful study tools. INeedAPencil.com is another free, on-line tool created by a Harvard student to help students study for the SAT. The counseling office and library also have SAT study books available for students to borrow.


The ACT Assessment is a curriculum-based test designed to measure high school students’ college readiness and academic achievement in four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. The writing test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short essay.

The English test measures the student’s understanding of the conventions of standard written English and of rhetorical skills. The mathematics test is designed to assess the student’s skills in pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, coordinate geometry, plane geometry, and trigonometry. The reading test asks the student to derive meaning from several tests by referring to what is explicitly stated and by using reasoning to determine implicit meanings and to draw conclusions, comparisons, and generalizations. The science test measures the interpretation, analysis, evaluation, reasoning and problem-solving skills required in the natural sciences. It is this science test that really sets the ACT apart from the SAT.

The ACT is not offered at WASHS, but can be taken at Mercersburg Academy, Highland View Academy, Hagerstown High School, and Gettysburg High School. Please visit www.act.org for detailed information regarding the assessment and to register.

The Counseling Office resource room has a variety of study materials, additional information and score comparison charts for both the SAT and ACT.

Prep Factory or Method test prep have both free SAT and ACT study tools available!

What if I took the SAT or ACT and got a low score?

Take it Again! Most students take the exam 2-3 times. Statistics show that taking it again can help improve your score because you already took it once so you know what to expect, and you know what areas you need to focus on for next time.

If you are on Free and/or Reduced lunch please stop in to the Counseling Office and ask for a fee waiver!