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Choosing Between the SAT and ACT

Choosing Between the SAT and ACT

Choosing Between the SAT and ACT

Like many choices in homeschooling, the choice of which college admissions test to take is, for the most part, up to you. You have the advantage in these tests, because you get to choose whichever test makes your child look like a genius.

Each high school testing location chooses whether to provide the SAT or the ACT to their students. In general, the states on the coasts tend to give the SAT, and the states in the center of the country tend to give the ACT. A third of students typically do better on the SAT, about a third will do better on the ACT, and for the remaining third, it doesn’t matter which one they take.

Studies claim that boys do better on the SAT and girls do better on the ACT, but statistics are not always right! I’ve also heard that science lovers might do better on the ACT, and poor writers might do better on the ACT without the essay (although I don’t recommend that). What’s MOST important is to decide which test will be best for YOUR student.

Taking a sample ACT and SAT is the single best way to decide which one your child will score the highest on. While the sample test does take 3-4 hours (and it’s a real pain, I know!), it can mean THOUSANDS of dollars in scholarship money, so it’s worth it.

The SAT measures reading, writing, and math. It includes an optional essay, which is 50 minutes, timed, and handwritten in pencil. The ACT is similar, because it also covers reading, writing, math, and an optional essay. However, the ACT also has a section on science reasoning. I recommend that your child take the optional essay for either test.

Here is a sample ACT
Here is a sample SAT

Keep in mind that some colleges may have a preference for one test over the other. Learn about both tests, as well as the requirements of the colleges you’re interested in, and then choose the one that is best for your child.

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Leap of Faith: From Behind and Overwhelmed to College Scholarships

Leap of Faith: From Behind and Overwhelmed to College Scholarships

Leap of Faith: From Behind and Overwhelmed to College Scholarships

Not everyone begins their college planning and preparation from the time their children are young, crossing all the T's and dotting all the I's. Parents have busy lives, with babies, toddlers, and busy schedules.  Check out this letter of encouragement from a real-life homeschool mom like you! You are NOT alone!
    Thank you for all your help this year.  My oldest child is a senior this year, about to graduate.  We have always homeschooled him, along with our other children, but when he got ready to enter high school, it was a leap of faith whether to do it or not.  I wasn't sure I could do it, and I was terrified he would never get into college.  Although there are many homeschoolers in my area, most of the homeschoolers that I know either have kids that are younger than mine, or have decided against sending their children to college in the traditional way.  Although we knew that our son was thinking about college, he was unsure of what he wanted to do.  Finally this past summer, the Lord spoke to his heart and my son started to make plans for attending college, except that we had no idea where to even start.  We hadn't visited schools or really even looked at them, we didn't have transcripts or course descriptions and no knowledge of how to apply for colleges, write college essays or apply for scholarships. In fact, I was even behind on some of my grading because I had had a baby and had a toddler at home.  All his high school papers were in piles in several different boxes with grades here and there.  I felt completely overwhelmed and had no one to even ask for help.  I had a couple of books that helped a little but I still had so many questions.  I had received your e-mails, and following you on Facebook but last fall I was finally able to attend one of your webinars.  After the webinar I purchased the Comprehensive Record Solution and became a Gold Care Club member.  Although I never sought out your service on the phone (my kids have co-op on Wednesdays) or through e-mails, I did go through many of your materials.  Although it took me months to get it all done, I did finally complete all of his transcripts, course descriptions, reading lists, activities, cover letters, etc. My son applied to four colleges, and was accepted to all and offered academic scholarships (not total scholarships, but every little bit helps!)  While none of them were Harvard or Yale, he wanted a private 4 year Christian college, some of which were not all that easy to get into.  While he hasn't made a final decision, he has options, and that is in part because of your help.  I was able to show in great detail all he had accomplished in an organized, easy to read and understand way.  Thank you for all that you offer to homeschoolers, but especially to parents like me, that had no clue where to even begin.  Although it was a tremendous amount of work, having all your wonderful help made it so much easier and less stressful.  I thank the Lord that He led me to your site and all your outstanding knowledge.  I recommend you to everyone that I speak to about this whole process and even listed your site as one of my favorite homeschooling helps at a recent support group meeting. Thank you for all that you have done
~ Ms. Tiena

What are the lessons you can apply from this example? Don't panic, but plan and prepare! You can do this, and I'll be happy to help! Start with my free resources, and then if you need more support, I'll be there for you.

It's never too late! Just start preparing today!
15 Point Senior Year Inspection Checklist

Plan ahead for college admission, because teenagers change their minds.
WARNING! Teenagers Change Their Mind!

Create comprehensive records to impress colleges.
FREE Webinar! Homeschool Records that Open Doors!

Get help when you need it, just reach out!
The HomeScholar Gold Care Club
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45 Tips for Earning Big Scholarships

45 Tips for Earning Big Scholarships
The best scholarships come to those with the biggest effort. If your child has a college interview, be prepared! Read these 45 tips for earning big college scholarships and be well prepared for any college interview or scholarship competition.

You've done a great job educating your kids. They are bright, intelligent, well socialized and have an area of passionate interest. They have all the required classes, great grades, excellent test scores, and wonderful letters of recommendation. You have kept complete and accurate homeschool records.

That means your child might be invited to a scholarship competition. They could be invited to interview at a prestigious school. A college may want a thirty minute interview for admission, or an eight hour competition for scholarships. How do you prepare for something like that?

Read More: How to Win a Scholarship Competition and Ace the Admission Interview




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College Admission and Scholarship Success Story

College Admission and Scholarship Success Story


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3 Most Important Scholarship Tips

3 Most Important Scholarship Tips
Every year some perfectly wonderful homeschool students miss out on scholarships.

Don't let that happen to you!

These are the 3 things that make the difference between smart kids that DO get scholarships, and smart kids that don't.  Ready?

1. Apply for colleges first thing senior year - finish all applications by the end of November. Yup. Now.

2. Apply to 4-8 schools, with a mix of public and private universities

3. Apply to reach, fit, and safety schools: Reach, Fit, and Safety Simplified


Are you doing these 3 very important things with your senior?

I'd love to help you through the process with the Gold Care Club!
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Grab the NEW HomeScholar Book!

Grab the NEW HomeScholar Book!
"Honey, There's a Crazed Mob of Scholarship-Wielding Colleges Pounding on Our Front Door!!"

While we can't promise that this will happen to you, "The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships" really is a treasure trove for college bound homeschoolers and their parents! This paperback book is available now on Amazon. Grab your copy today!

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Normal Family and Big Scholarships!

Normal Family and Big Scholarships!

Suppose your best friend's child received huge scholarships from college. What would you do? I can tell you what I would do! I would try to figure out how they managed it, and then I'd imitate their success!

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Win or Lose, Scholarships Reap Rewards

Win or Lose, Scholarships Reap Rewards
When you compete for a scholarship, chances are someone is going to lose. Usually there is more than one qualified applicant. Someone will come up short. But if you need scholarships, then it will pay off if you apply to MANY scholarship applications, to improve your chance.

Win or lose, there is the chance of a great reward!

Applying for an application may take a lot of work - often the child needs to write a scholarship application essay. Even though your child might not think so, there are benefits to both winning and losing in this process. Of course, the benefits of winning are that you’ll get admission, or money for college. It might only be enough money for books or college fees, but even a small benefit can sometimes lead to a bigger benefit. Each time your student wins something, even a small thing, that’s an opportunity to write to their college admission people and tell them they won something. Sometimes, that prompts them to value your student more, and offer them more.

Sure, the process has that lovely benefit of developing patience! Beyond that, though, homeschoolers have additional perks. Your child can still get high school credit for all the work they put into applications, and they’re also learning valuable skills about writing an essay. Practice makes perfect when it comes to writing, and filling out all those applications will make them better at writing. They’ll be able to fill out job applications and other college applications better in the future, because of this experience.

No experience is ever a total loss! That itself is a great lesson for our teens to learn!

Learn the SECRET to getting your student placed at the TOP of the stack for college admission consideration, as well as one of those MASSIVE university scholarships. Get the Comprehensive Record Solution!
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3 Waves of Scholarships

3 Waves of Scholarships
Scholarships come in waves.  They don't all come at once, they don't all come when you receive college admission. They don't all come by the time you have to decide on your college, either.  They certainly don't come when it's convenient, that's for sure.

Three Waves of Scholarships 

Scholarships Come in Waves - 3 waves, actually.  The first wave is scholarship money based on application numbers.  That means the score on the SAT or ACT, and GPA.  That's one reason why I suggest providing grades on your transcript.  You really want those GPA-based scholarships!  You are a REAL teacher, and your grades are real as well.  The second wave of scholarship is based on the FAFSA and what the government considers your financial need.  Stop laughing!  I realize the government has no idea what you can afford to pay for college, LOL!  Don't shoot the messenger!  The third wave involves the scholarships children get that are based on special merit, or skill.

Boatloads of Money

I can't provide specifics about what score will earn what scholarship.  The ONLY way to find specifics is to check at each college where you will apply.  There are no short cuts.  However, even a small bump in a test score can pay HUGE dividends, meaning thousands of dollars per quarter, and tens of thousands per year - adding up to a 40K difference for just a few points on the SAT.  That's why studying is a big deal.  You don't have to go from average to perfect.  But if your test prep increases your score from $3,000 per quarter to $6,000 per quarter, it is a huge boatload of real dollars for real parents.

Bottom Line

Dearest teenagers, please study for the SAT or ACT test.  It's a big deal.


For more information about how your child can earn great college scholarships, watch my video, “Getting the BIG Scholarships,” available both as an online class or DVD.
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Recent Comments
Denise Gearhart
Lee, I love your posts. They are truly amusing as well as informational.
Friday, 08 March 2019 00:50
Thank you, Denise! Lee is always thankful to hear that she has blessed parents. And when her humor is understood! Robin Assistant... Read More
Friday, 08 March 2019 01:55
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National Merit Success Story

National Merit Success Story
If your child tends to be a little bit on the "smart" side, start researching the National Merit Scholarship early in high school.  With just a little practice, smart kids can do stunningly well in the National Merit Scholarship Competition.  And homeschooler can win!


Renee wrote to share about her daughter's successes.
I had to share the news about my daughter Abigail. This go-around (as opposed to the first two children), we listed her as private school student using our legal cover St Peter's Academy but when she made National Merit Semi-Finalist, the National Merit folks designated her as a homeschooler. I had to do all the paperwork (very stressful) and find someone (not related that had taught her) to write a letter of recommendation. The only outside classes she'd taken were online college courses, voice lessons and theater. Thankfully her theater instructor is reliable and was willing to write the letter. Today we got notification that Abigail is a Finalist. At her top choice school she'll get $9700 a year, out of state fees waived (worth about $15,000 a year), a laptop and money toward study abroad. At her second choice school (in-state), she'll receive tuition, room, board and a books stipend. We are so proud of her and once again just shows that homeschoolers can do anything. Parents with younger ones need to know it can be done!
~ Renee

It's true, what Renee said.  The paperwork involved can be daunting.  The best thing is to be prepared.  If you already have your transcripts and course descriptions ready to go, the paperwork is much easier to manage.  For more tips, or just to educate yourself, check out this article: National Merit Scholarship Information for Homeschoolers .

Not every child will win the National Merit Scholarship, but there is more than one way to get great scholarships.  For example,Renee’s older daughter did not get the National Merit Scholarship. She did get a full ride scholarship, based on ACT scores. There are lots of ways to afford college and scholarships.  You can read the story of that child here: "Homeschooler Wins Full Scholarship – Plus Some More!"


Now read Renee's words again, and repeat after me, "homeschoolers can do anything!"

For more information about how your child can earn great college scholarships, watch my video, “Getting the BIG Scholarships,” available both as an online class or DVD.

National Merit Success Story
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5 Final Reasons to Get The Comprehensive Record Solution Today!

5 Final Reasons to Get The Comprehensive Record Solution Today!
Today is the final day to get my Comprehensive Record Solution at the introductory price of $97. Tomorrow the price goes to it's regular price of $147.  We have written extensively why documenting your homeschool students comprehensive records is a smart idea for every college bound homeschool family.  Here are five final reasons you should consider today before the price increases.

  1. College admissions is a high stakes, highly competitive game and you need to present your best foot forward in order to set your student apart

  2. Homeschooling provides students with some very distinct and quantifiable advantages that don't always shine through in the college application process.  A comprehensive record ensures those advantages are highlighted.

  3. College Admissions officials are called on to make some very important decisions (admission and scholarships) using very limited data (transcript and application.)  Most will very much appreciate more information presented to them in a logical, easy-to-use format.  The comprehensive record is a proven strategy to give them what they want.

  4. Documenting your student's records is amazingly motivating to students.  We have heard over and over how empowering and inspiring it is to share the process of record building with homeschool students.  It makes their homeschool education feel valuable and real to them.

  5. Putting together homeschool records for your student's college application is a big job.  It is always easier to copy a successful model rather than creating one yourself.

Our comprehensive records were viewed by the colleges as a "best-practice."  Seattle Pacific University said they were "the best documents and records" they had ever seen.  We were awarded $184,000 worth of scholarships from that university and massive scholarships from the other universities we applied to as a result of the doors that were opened by our comprehensive records.   You owe it to yourself and your family to make this investment in a proven system and let me help you create your own beautiful, inspiring, door-opening records.  I guarantee you will be very happy with the product and the results.

Get the Comprehensive Record Solution here.

PS.  We have a last chance Q&A webinar tonight at 4 PM Pacific time prior to the price increase.  Get all your final questions answered there!
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Scholarships: Let Your Needs Be Known

Scholarships: Let Your Needs Be Known
Here is a brief follow-up note I sent to Ann after she was told her son had won a $14,000/year scholarship from his first choice school.  I thought my advice might help someone else as well.

Just fyi, the financial aid you hear about at this moment is usually just a portion of the final amount.  Other amounts will be trickling in later.  This does not take into account your financial "need" - and the government may say you have a need even if your income is up to $150,000.  It doesn't not take into account any special scholarships that the school may have.  It doesn't take into account engineering scholarships, and private companies have been pouring a lot of money into college scholarships for engineering recently.  I'm expecting that large remaining amount to get smaller - but they may keep you waiting until May before you finally know the REAL amount you will pay.

Call the admission, and say, "We are so excited with our son's acceptance, and with his scholarship.  We will not be able to attend without further financial aid.  Do you have any other scholarships available, so that we can attend your school?  We applied to your school first, because it is Nate's first choice, and we're worried we can't afford it and will have to disappoint our son."

That will tell them that they are his #1 school, that they will be able to retain him into sophomore year, and that you need more money.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease, you know.  If you don't tell them you need more money, they won't know you need more money.  Leave it all open-ended, without committing to anything, but make your needs politely known.

You're in GREAT shape for the first step in scholarships - it's still OCTOBER for goodness sake!  Woo Hoo!  Party!

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College Scholarships Result From Preparation

College Scholarships Result From Preparation

My client Ann just heard that her son was admitted to his first choice college, accepted into the honors program, and awarded a $14,000. It's so exciting to see her having such great success while it's only mid-October!

The first awards you hear about are often just the beginning, and I'm sure the family has more aid coming.  Need based money and more specific scholarships come later, but this is a great, great start!

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