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10/6/2005 3:13:50 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter -- October 2005

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter -- October 2005
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Dear Friends,

September is in our rearview mirror, and we're heading into October
with all of you. The newly sharpened pencils and crisp new books with
which you started out in September may all seem a little dull right
now--but let's keep going with a prayer of thanksgiving for the new
school year and the children we have the opportunity to train and
teach!

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Ins and Outs of the SATs, ACTs, and PSATs

The SAT and ACT tests are primarily used for college admission
purposes, and if your child is college bound, these tests are
important. Even if your child is not currently thinking about
attending college, you may still want to consider having your child
take either the SAT or ACT. Your child's post high school plans may
change one day, and having an SAT or ACT score on file will facilitate
the college entrance process.

On the other hand, if you definitely know at this point that your
child will never pursue college after high school, skip to the end of
this email and check out the new additions to the Homeschooling Thru
High School website. No matter what your child's after-high school
plans, you'll find new listings posted on the site beneficial to
everyone.


PSAT

For those interested in pursuing college, let's talk first about the
PSAT/NMSQT: The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit
Scholarship Qualifying Test.

The PSAT is primarily taken by 11th grade students--those students
having one more year of high school prior to graduation. The PSAT test
is the qualifier for National Merit Scholarship consideration, and
only 11th graders are considered for these scholarships. You may
register your 10th grader to take the PSAT, but realize that taking
the PSAT in the 10th grade year is basically for practice only. No
consideration will be given to a 10th grader for qualifying for a
National Merit Scholarship no matter how well the student does on the
test. The PSAT test has three sections--Math, Verbal/Critical
Reasoning, and Writing.

The PSAT is given once each year--this year's test dates are October
12, 2005, or October 15, 2005, depending on the test date chosen by
the school administering the test.

The test maker is the College Board and its website provides all the
necessary information regarding this test and how to register.

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/about.html

See the special information page for homeschoolers taking the PSAT:

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/reg/homeschool.html


Unlike the SAT, you cannot register for the PSAT online. You must
register your child directly with the local public or private high
school that is administering the PSAT. (Testing sites are provided on
the above website). Be aware that some local high schools order their
PSAT tests very early so we strongly advise contacting the high school
guidance office during the summer to ask whether your child can
register to take the test. Some public schools may be hesitant to
allow a homeschooler to sit for the test, but don't let that deter
you. Keep calling schools in your area (both public and private) until
you find a school that will accommodate your child. The PSAT test fee
is $12, but schools may charge an additional fee for administrative
costs over and above this cost. Note that the PSAT College Board
website (link above) states that the test administrator will provide
the state homeschool number for your student to enter as his "school
code" on the test.

Once you've registered for the PSAT with the local school where your
student will take the test, be sure to ask the guidance office for a
free PSAT Student Guide. The Student Guide provides test taking tips,
practice problems with explanatory answers, and even a full length
practice test that will enable your child to feel comfortable with the
format and types of problems that he will encounter on the PSAT.


SAT

Now let's talk about the SAT--the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Again, the
maker of the SAT is the College Board. Everything you could possibly
want to know about the SAT can be found on the College Board website:

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/about.html

The SAT test is an aptitude and reasoning test used by most colleges
for admission purposes. The SAT has Math and Verbal sections, as well
as a Writing section that includes writing an essay. Recently revised
in 2005, the SAT will be given on the following test dates: October 8,
2005, November 5, 2005, December 3, 2005, January 28, 2006, April 4,
2006, May 6, 2006, and June 3, 2006. Registration for these tests can
be done online, and each test date has strict registration deadlines.
Keep in mind that since most colleges are making admissions decisions
in the spring of the school year, scores from the December test date
are most likely the last scores that can be considered for students
desiring to enter college as freshmen the following fall. The fee for
the SAT is $41.50. Numerous testing locations are provided and include
public and private high schools, as well as community college
locations.

There are no age limits to taking the SAT (although children younger
than 13 may not register online; they would need to register through
the mail). A student may take the SAT as many times as he desires.
Most colleges continue to take the highest score from each section of
the test (Math, Verbal and Writing) and add them together for a total
test score even if the highest test score on a section was taken on
different test dates. However, you should check with individual
colleges to find out their policy for reviewing test scores. It is a
good idea to take the test at least twice since most scores do rise on
the second attempt simply because a student is more comfortable and
knows what to expect the second time around. Your student may request
that their SAT scores be sent to four colleges for free. Score
reports for additional colleges may be requested for an additional
fee. When applying to colleges and requesting SAT tests to be sent to
a particular college, it's important to note that all SAT scores taken
on different test dates are sent to the college.

SAT preparation is essential in order to score well on the test.
Numerous test books, CDs, and videos as well as SAT prep classes and
individual SAT tutors are available. Check out the HSLDA high school
website for helpful recommendations for preparing to take the SAT,
PSAT or ACT tests:

http://www.hslda.org/highschool/testing.asp#collegeprep

Also, you should pick up from either a public school or library a SAT
test preparation booklet that provides test-taking tips and practice
problems.

Don't confuse the SAT I general test, as explained above, with the SAT
II Subject Tests. The SAT II Subject Tests are tests given in
particular subjects that some colleges use for placement purposes.
Check with an individual college regarding any requirements it may
have regarding the need to take SAT II Subject Tests. See the College
Board website for details regarding the SAT II Subject tests.

www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/calenfees/calensubj.html


ACT

Lastly, the ACT is another test that colleges may use in the
admissions process. In most cases, colleges will accept either SAT or
ACT scores--however some Midwestern colleges prefer the ACT. Again, it
would be wise to check with individual colleges to determine if they
have a test preference. The ACT test measures knowledge in four
subject areas: English, Math, Reading, and Science. The cost of the
basic test is $29.50. The basic ACT does not include a writing
section, but for an additional $14 you may register to take the ACT
Writing test. The ACT website provides a listing of colleges that
either recommend or require the writing section of the ACT.

Test dates for the ACT are October 22, 2005, December 10, 2005,
February 11, 2006, April 8, 2006 and June 10, 2006. (Again, register
early, as there are strict registration deadlines.)

Check out the ACT website for detailed registration and test
information--www.act.org. A student may register to take the ACT
beginning in the 6th grade, and may take it as many times as he
chooses. A top score on the ACT is 36, with the average score around
22. When applying to colleges, you may direct that only specific ACT
test scores be sent to the colleges that you designate. Although ACT
test scores are never erased, you may request that only your highest
scores be reported to colleges.

Once your student takes the PSAT, SAT or ACT, be prepared for your
mailbox to be stuffed with brochures, postcards, and information from
various colleges. Data on students taking the tests are supplied to
colleges, and colleges are interested in having their materials in the
hands of your students. Take advantage of this free information from
the colleges to pique your child's interest in investigating various
college options.

Both the College Board and ACT websites are excellent sources of
information regarding colleges, recommended high school courses,
majors, career choices, and other information useful for both parents
and students. If your student is interested in a particular college,
check that college's website to find out the average SAT or ACT score
of admitted students. It will give your student an idea of the test
scores that a college is looking for. (Realize though that much more
than a test score goes into college admission decisions. Other
important considerations are high school courses taken, application
essays, extracurricular activities, leadership positions, etc.).

We hope this information on the PSAT, SAT, and ACT tests helps to
answer questions you may have had regarding these tests. As always, we
are available to chat with HSLDA members about any specific questions
you may have regarding college entrance tests.

Happy testing!

Looking ahead to November, we'll take a look at transcripts,
evaluating credits, and calculating GPAs.

Know that we pray for you as you do the tough but grand work of
teaching your high schooler at home.

Joy to you,
Becky and Diane
HSLDA High School Coordinators



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Send your ideas!

Have a topic for a future high school email newsletter? Send your
idea to highschool@hslda.org!



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What's new on the Homeschooling Thru High School website?


Helpful Recommended Reading list providing "must haves" as you teach
high school at home

http://www.hslda.org/highschool/reading.asp


Additional curriculum providers and a new section on Current Events

http://www.hslda.org/highschool/curriculum.asp


Additional competitions and awards open to homeschoolers

http://www.hslda.org/highschool/beyondacademics.asp



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HSLDA has extended its offer for the SAT Prep CD

Due to great demand, HSLDA has extended its offer for the SAT Prep CD
(regularly priced at $199.95, now available to members for just $9.95
to cover shipping and handling).

- Get your copy today!

http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=2558


- Not a member yet? You can join today!

http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=2559






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-> There may be no such thing as a free lunch...

...but there is a way to get a free membership! Through our
Three-for-Free program, you can get a free one-year renewal for
simply referring three of your homeschooling friends into
membership with HSLDA.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=2078

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