SAT & ACT: Three Tips for Counselors for Starting the School Year Right

The start of the school year ushers in an avalanche of information and obligation for students and parents: course changes, sports and club schedules, event calendars, arts performances, parent nights, volunteer opportunities…the list goes on. Amid the bustle, even important things like the SAT and ACT can get pushed aside. But by executing on a few simple but important tasks, school counselors can help their students––especially juniors and seniors––avoid missing key test registration deadlines and approaching their test prep haphazardly. Here are the top three things counselors can do.


1. Prominently display/mail posters or flyers listing all test dates and registration deadlines. Whether counselors create these themselves or find them elsewhere, flyers and posters summarizing all test dates and registration deadlines can get students thinking about the SAT and ACT, and perhaps spark productive conversations that lead to the formation of prep timelines. Once students know which test date they’re aiming for (or at least know their options), they are more likely to start thinking about their prep well in advance. And remember: knowledge and preparation now = less stress later. Do what you can to post the information in conspicuous places throughout your school. You can also consider creating a mailer to parents of juniors and seniors, or posting the information on a high-traffic school website page.


2. Spread the word about available resources. When it comes to SAT and ACT prep, information is power. Each year, my colleagues and I advise school counselors about how best to spread the word about prep resources available to their students. In many school counseling departments, counselors take it upon themselves to visit classrooms and make announcements pertaining to prep options offered by the school and community. While students may seek outside help in the form of tutors and courses, many would take courses at the school or use a program the school already pays for…if they know those options are available to them. This can save students and families lots of money and time in the long run.


3. Consider working an SAT/ACT discussion into your college information night. At many schools we work with, the counseling department hosts a “college night” or “college and career readiness night”, during which school counselors present to students about all things related to college admissions and applications. If your school holds one of these, it can serve as a great opportunity to briefly discuss the importance of SAT and ACT prep, suggested test-taking timelines, and more. Because most college-bound students will be taking one or both of the exams, the information about the tests will be relevant and timely.


School counselors can be excellent resources of information and guidance for their students. The SAT and ACT form a single facet of the college process, but the importance of these exams in admissions success means that the details behind the tests themselves warrant special attention. A little bit of effort made to inform your students and parents now can have a massive impact later on.
Evan Wessler is VP Education of Method Test Prep. He can answer any questions you have about the SAT or ACT by e-mailing him at or by visiting the Method Test Prep website at