Sterling Academy Blog

How to Apply for the ACT or SAT College Admission Tests

Posted by Carol Moser on Jun 17, 2013 2:22:00 PM

Written by Carol Moser, our Enrollment Counselor, with input from Gabriela Ayala, our College Admissions Coach

We have had numerous requests for more information about how online students can take their ACT or SAT test.  All you have to do is go to or for the SAT, go to It takes a bit to fill it out, but if you have to leave the site and come back it will save your information. When it asks for the school information, just put Sterling Academy and our school code, which is 102295 (they will ask for it). Your local high schools in your area should offer both tests on certain Saturdays and you just choose the date and school you want. Instructions will follow on the site from there.

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 Many students are confused as to which test, the ACT or the SAT, they should take. Here are some of the differences:

  • The ACT is an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school. The SAT is more of an aptitude test, testing reasoning and verbal abilities.
  • The ACT has up to 5 components: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing Test. The SAT has only 3 components: Critical Reasoning, Mathematics, and a required Writing Test.
  • The College Board introduced a new version of the SAT in 2005, with a mandatory writing test. ACT continues to offer its well-established test, plus an optional writing test. You take the ACT Writing Test only if required by the college(s) you're applying to.
  • The SAT has a correction for guessing. That is, they take off for wrong answers. The ACT is scored based on the number of correct answers with no penalty for guessing.
  • The ACT has an Interest Inventory that allows students to evaluate their interests in various career options.

When you are filling out the ACT/SAT application, there is a place to add up to 4 colleges you are considering, and your scores will be forwarded on to those colleges automatically for free. (You can choose more than 4 colleges, but there is a fee for the extra ones.) If your score falls into any of their scholarship ranges, they should automatically start sending you scholarship offers to attend their schools. Lastly, if you don’t like your scores, you can retake the test as many times as you like and the colleges will accept the test with the highest score. My daughter took her test 3 times trying to get a high enough score to get a full scholarship to her 1st choice. In order to be sure you get the high score that you need, please make sure to take the test early on in your Junior year. This way you give yourself time to retake the test several times if needed.

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Once you have taken your ACT or SAT, you must make sure that you fill out your FAFSA at the beginning of each year. This is where the government determines how much need based aid you qualify for (Pell Grants). The Pell grants are free money given to you by the federal government in order for you to attend school. They are not to be repaid but you must keep a certain GPA in order to continue receiving them.  You will not get scholarship or merit based aid information here. Merit based aid (scholarships) are usually given through the school or from a private source. To fill out your FAFSA go to This form has to be filled out each year from this website whether you qualify or financial aid or not.

Our current students who have any additional or more in-depth questions about the college admissions process should contact our College Admissions Coach Gabriela Ayala at She can also help if you have any questions about the ACT or SAT application itself, college essays, or things you can be doing now that will look good on your college application later.

If you are not a current student, but would like more information about our school just give me a call at the number listed below and I’ll be happy to help you.

Carol Moser, Enrollment Counselor
Sterling Academy
866-502-1050 Option 1 

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Topics: Student Testing

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