Major Delay Reported by the ACT: What To Do?

by Todd Weaver on October 26, 2015

Stressed OutMany Early Action (and some Early Decision) candidates for college admissions, are finding out about a new stress point this week.

The ACT is reporting a major delay in grading the Writing Section of the most recent test administration.

issues in grading the Writing section of the most recent standardized test.

The SAT (CollegeBoard) is not faring much better, with issues of their own.

Here’s an example of a proactive statement from Loyola Marymount University, on what to do. Other colleges are starting to post helpful updates to their admissions pages, too.

Another example comes from the University of Chicago.

ACT Test Scores

If your scores from the September ACT have been delayed, don’t panic! We will accept self-reported scores from Early Action applicants who have been notified that their September ACT score report is delayed.

To send self-reported scores, please forward the e-mail you received from ACT notifying you that your scores were delayed, along with a screenshot of your multiple choice scores, to Please note that we will compare self-reported to official scores once received, and will re-review your file if there is a discrepancy.

So, what should you do?

Self report your scores on the Common App (or whatever individual college application form you may be using).

Then, call, email, Tweet, etc. the admissions office of the schools you are planning on sending applications to. Ask them about their advice on submitting scores to them. They may suggest self reporting with the Writing section left blank. You can do this by contacting the Admissions Officer who might be reading your application (you can typically find their email on their respective admissions web page), just to let them know your score may not have the writing component sent to them until next month.

The good thing for students is: The colleges are aware of the issue. You will not be penalized for issues at the ACT or SAT.

Since the colleges are aware of the problems, they will know to keep an eye out for the updates.

For high school Juniors, take this as a warning to get your standardized testing done EARLY! Plan to finish taking your standardized tests in the Spring of Junior year, if at all possible. If that’s not going to fit your schedule, be aware of potential glitches that may arise when you take the SAT and/or ACT in the Fall of Senior year.

Learn more about which test is right for you, by clicking here. Take a look at the free video on our membership site, in Chapter 3.2: Standardized Testing Insights.

Should you look at “test optional” schools? Watch the video!




3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Take the New SAT

by Todd Weaver on October 2, 2015

Test TimeThe SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is going to be given in a brand new format, starting in the Spring of 2016.

Stay away from it! 

At least that’s what our guest blogger, Amir Mousavi is advocating.

Juniors will face a unique dilemma, as they will have two SAT formats to choose from during their upcoming junior year. The last exam date for the current version of the SAT will be January 23rd, 2016. The first time the new SAT version will be offered is March 3rd, 2016. The natural question is:  “Which exam should my child take?”

My advice is simple: DO NOT TAKE THE NEW SAT!  Here are my reasons why…


1) Limited Data: There is not enough data on the new exam format to adequately prep for it. Unlike the current SAT or ACT, which both have lots of practice exams/sample questions available, the new format has almost nothing except for a limited amount of practice problems on the college board website. This is especially important for SAT tutors because they rely on old practice exams to figure out patterns of problem types/strategies in the exam to teach to students.  However, we don’t have enough data to figure that out yet. The College Board has been poor at best in terms of releasing information on the new format. It’s like studying for a school exam without a review guide and little knowledge of what’s actually going to be covered. Don’t fall into the College Board’s trap. Until there is adequate data on the new SAT, it’s not worth taking.


2) Don’t Let Your Child be a Guinea Pig: Back in 2005, the College Board changed the SAT’s format and there were a lot of kinks for the first several exams. This is always the case with new exam formats. There are always kinks and test makers will use the first several exam dates to make necessary tweaks. For the new SAT, the first three exam dates will be March 2016, May 2016 and June 2016. Why would you want your child be a guinea pig? A good analogy is getting the very first version of an iPhone release. You don’t want to buy version 1 because there are probably going to be bugs and hardware/software issues. It’s best to wait until these bugs are fixed.


3) Don’t Believe the Hype: The College Board said it is changing the SAT to make it more “fair, straightforward and relevant to class room material being taught today.” The real reason for the change is because the SAT has consistently been losing market share to the ACT. In fact, this is the third year in a row that more students have taken the ACT than the SAT. The main reason the College Board is switching formats is not fairness but rather monetary gain.


Avoid the new SAT format if you can.  I would recommend taking either the current version of the SAT or the ACT. If you’re asking, “Which exam should my child take?”,  I will discuss that topic in my next post.


You can follow Amir at The ANA Project and on Twitter @TheAnaProject1

You can learn more about how to integrate Standardized Testing (or not!) in your student’s college search by clicking here.



Hey Class of 2017: You Have New FAFSA Deadlines!

September 14, 2015

Tweet Tweet Changes are coming to the FAFSA! The Base Year is moving on up – from the current “one year prior” to the student entering college, to “two years prior.” Current high school Seniors (Class of 2016) don’t need to worry, though. All of the talk in Congress has been drowned out! The White […]

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