Do Homeschoolers Have to Take the ACT and SAT? If So, How?

The ACT and SAT are tests used by many colleges as a part of the admissions process. Students can begin taking the entrance tests starting in the eleventh grade regardless of how they are schooled.

Who Has to Take the ACT or SAT?

In the last several years, colleges have taken a much different stance on testing. Hundreds of them no longer require either the ACT or SAT as part of the admissions process.

They have decided that testing does not tell them anything more about a potential student than they can glean from grades, essays, and letters of recommendations students already submit when applying. With that said, several states such as Michigan and Illinois require high school students to take the ACT, even if they are not going to college. You will need to check your state’s graduation requirements.

Some colleges prefer one test to the other, and some allow you to choose the one you prefer. If you are given the choice of taking either of the tests, be sure to take the one that you are most comfortable with and the one you feel you will score the highest. It is always best to check with your college choice to see if they have a preference of either the ACT or SAT, or possibly none at all. While some colleges do not require either of the tests, if you are seeking a financial scholarship, it is in your best interest to take one of the tests.

What Type of Tests are the ACT and SAT?

The ACT and SAT are significantly different tests. The ACT exam tests knowledge in four subject areas–Math, Reading, Science, and English. The SAT is a reasoning test and has recently been updated. The writing portion on the ACT has always been optional, and is now optional on the new SAT test.  The new SAT is more closely aligned to Common Core.

The ACT has grown in popularity over the last several years. In fact, more students currently take the ACT than the SAT. The new 2016 SAT hopes to level the playing field.

If you have decided you want, or have to take the ACT or SAT test, you simply need to register for it. That can be accomplished by visiting the online ACT or SAT test information site and following the directions for registering.

Here is information about registering for the ACT. In addition, this site has information about registering for the SAT. Also, check out our full archive of articles at about homeschoolers and college testing.

Edited ACT Prep Info for November 2019

Recent ACT scores indicate record-low scores in college readiness for English and math.  This recent report suggested four key recommendations to ensure college readiness for your student. 
  1. Academic rigor.
  2. Personalized learning.
  3. Continuous improvement.
  4. Holistic education, especially in social and emotional learning.
These low scores were across all ACT testing so it isn’t certain how homeschooling factors in. These four recommendations though are high on the list of goals we as homeschool parents have concerning our homeschool student’s education. 


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Jackie, a former public and private school teacher, enjoys homeschooling her 16 year old daughter via Time4Learning's new high school courses and other supplementals. Jackie keeps busy writing study guides, educational articles, and literature units for various online education companies as well as acting as an online marketing consultant. She is a contributing author at 3 D Learners.

April 12, 2014


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