It's that time of your life – college admissions testing. Yay! It means you're heading down the road that leads to your future. How exciting, right? Right. But first, you need to get through the technicalities, like taking the ACT. And to take the ACT, you first have to figure out the ACT test dates, and then register for the ACT. So, how do you do that? Online? Via your counselor? By mail? Which way is best? Here's how to register for the ACT with step-by-step, easy to follow directions. First, though, be sure to get a copy of your high school transcripts to help you as you register. You'll need them!
Step 1: Hit the Website
Go to the ACT student website, which is http://www.actstudent.org. Once you're there, click the "Sign Up/Log In" button.
Step 2: Create an Account
Your next step is to set up an online account so you can do things like check your scores online, print your admission ticket to get into the testing center, make changes to your registration if you have to miss a test day, request more score reports, etc. First, take a virtual tour so you know how to create the web account. There are things you'll need to know before you create your account, like your social security number and your high school code and the tour provides a visual reference so you know what to do. Once you've taken the tour, click the "Create Account" button and have at it.*
*Note: Be sure to fill in your name just as it appears on your passport, drivers license, or another approved ID that you'll be bringing to the testing center. If the name with which you register does not match your ID, you will not be able to take the test on your scheduled test day!
Step 3: Register
Once you've created your student account, you need to click the "Register" button and proceed through the next several pages.
First Page: On the first page, your basic information will auto-fill from your student account. Make sure you check the box at the bottom of the page that asks whether or not you'd like to receive information from colleges and scholarships. You may get some junk email, but much of it will be good! You'll also need to fill in whether you're right-handed or left-handed, so you get placed in a good spot at the testing center.
Second Page:The next page is your "High School Summary" page. It asks for things like your GPA, your school rank (by quarters), and what type of high school you attended – private, public, homeschooled, etc. You'll also need to know your general courses in high school and how many years you took them. For instance, if you took Science your freshman and sophomore years, and then took half a year of Science your junior year, you'd mark that you've had 2 ½ years of Science.
Third Page: Here, you'll fill in a bit of information about your college plans like whether you plan to enroll part-time or full-time, where you think you'll live, and the highest level of education you plan to receive – Certificate, Associates, Bachelor, Masters, Doctorate?
Fourth Page: The fourth page asks about your college interests like the type of college you'd like to attend (private, public, etc.), the distance from your current resident to the college, and your preferences regarding school size, location, etc.
Fifth Page: This page asks about your special interests in college. Are you interested in studying abroad? Do you need assistance with any portion of school like reading comprehension help, aid with college or career planning? The reason ACT asks for this info is so they can share your complete profile with the schools you list on your score report. You can skip any question you do not want to answer.
Sixth Page: The sixth page asks about your extracurricular activities in high school like music, sports, clubs and organizations, and also inquires about your interest in participating in those activities in college.
Seventh Page: This page is all about financial aid, and whether you'll be needing it or not. It asks you if you plan to work during college, if so how often, and your combined current household income.
Eighth Page: Here, you'll fill in some more personal information about you. Remember, this is voluntary! They'd like to know your religious affiliations, parents educational backgrounds, and whether or not you have a disability. The reason that they ask for this info is because some institutions are sponsored by religious groups and if you'd like to participate in college happenings pertaining to your religious affiliation, your prospective school may contact you to make that happen.
Ninth Page: Here, you'll need to go through the lists and check off the major accomplishments you've had outside of school related to leadership, art, music, writing, athletics, science, etc. This is your spot to show off those accomplishments. Sometimes, scholarships are awarded for students excelling in a particular field.
Tenth Page: This page is an ACT Interest Inventory. It's designed to help you consider college or career possibilities, plan college or high school course work, and perhaps strengthen college plans you already have.
Eleventh and Twelfth Pages: These pages ask you to select in which country you'd like to test, your test date, whether or not you want to take the ACT with or without the Writing portion, and whether or not you'd like to purchase any test prep.
Thirteenth Page: Next, you'll be asked to upload a recent headshot of yourself. Security is tight these days with cheating scandals plaguing the nation, so the ACT has come up with new admission requirements. One of them is this photo. Be sure to follow the photo guidelines exactly or it will not be accepted.
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Pages: Now, you'll be asked again about your high school courses. This time, you'll need to know the courses you took and the grades you received in each. This is why I stated at the beginning of the article that it's a good idea to get your high school transcripts together before you register because it'll make your life a lot easier if you can see your grades instead of trying to remember your grades.
Sixteenth Page: Now, it's time to select where you'd like your scores to go. You can choose up to four colleges with the basic fee. If you'd like to send them to more schools than that, you'll have to pay a bit more. You can always go back in and add schools to your report before you test, too.
Seventeenth and Eighteenth Pages: These two pages ask about your intended future major and career choices if you had to choose today.
Nineteenth and Twentieth Pages: Now, you'll be asked to choose your test center. You can either enter a test center code if you have it, or you can search within a 25-mile radius of your zip code to find one. Finally, you'll need to review your information to make sure it is all correct. Double check your name it MUST match the ID you're bringing to your test center. If it does not match, you will not be able to test.
Step 4: Pay
Now, that you've gone through the long process of registering, it's time to pay for your test. Be sure to check out the current ACT fees before you test, and fill in your waiver or voucher number if you've received one. At the bottom of the page, click "Submit" just once, and you're done. You're then free to print your admission ticket. A confirmation will be sent to your email address.
Step 5: Relax
You did it. You're in. Now, all you need to do is prep for the ACT just a little bit. Start by going though the ACT basics, and then running through these 21 ACT test strategies to help you score big when test day rolls around. Then, try your hand at an ACT English quiz or Math quiz to see how you might respond to the real ACT questions. Finally, pick up an ACT prep book or two to help see you through the end. Good luck!