The goal of MCA’s counseling department is to guide students and families through the college search and application processes. We begin with career exploration in the 8th grade to try and set the course for what area of study might interest the students. We work with students on course selection over their high school years to facilitate their goals for careers. With a wealth of college options available to our students, we try to build relationships with students, parents, teachers and college admission representatives to enable students to identify and attend best “fit” colleges in terms of opportunities for academic, spiritual, social, professional and citizenship development.
- College in High School
- Standardized Testing
- College Planning and Applications
- Financial Planning and Aid Options
Which one should you take?
- What tests are required for admission to college? When are they offered?
- What is the PSAT and why is it important?
- How do colleges and universities use my ACT score?
- Should I take both the SAT and ACT, and how often?
- What is MCA's school code to register for the ACT or SAT?
- Should I guess on my test?
- Should I hide my scores until I see how I do?
The great majority of colleges and universities require scores from one or more of the following tests: the SAT I Reasoning Test; SAT II Subject Tests, or the ACT.
These tests are offered at specific times each school year. MCA students are encouraged to follow the timeline below to meet all college deadlines:
10th Grade: October – PSAT (Preliminary SAT); February – ACT Aspire
11th Grade: October – PSAT (for National Merit/National Achievement Scholarship competition)
The PSAT is a preliminary SAT given in October and is used for practice before taking the SAT. Since students receive detailed information concerning their performance on the PSAT, it becomes an important study guide for the SAT.
PSAT scores are private and confidential. They are not sent to colleges. It is important to note that PSAT scores do not impact your chances of being admitted to a college or university.
Taking the PSAT in the junior year qualifies a student to be considered for National Merit and National Achievement Scholarships and Awards.
ACT scores are one of the tools universities use when selecting students for admission. But they also use score reports for other purposes, such as course placement and student guidance. Here are five examples of ways universities use score reports:
- Admissions. ACT test results – along with high school grades, academic preparation and extracurricular activities – help college admission officers identify which students will thrive at their institution. Scores alone do not determine admission.
- Course Placement. ACT scores, academic background, and high school grades are used together to determine which college sections would be most appropriate.
- Academic advising. College advisors look at ACT results, high school grades and classes, projected college grades, employment plans, and other factors to help students find the perfect fit for their course of study.
- Scholarships and loans. Some scholarships may use ACT scores and estimated grades to identify qualified candidates. ACT’s unique score report also provides information about students’ educational needs, extracurricular achievements, and educational plans. Joined with other data, agencies can evaluate applications for both scholarships and loans.
- ACT Writing Test. If students take this optional test, any college that receives their scores will also receive writing scores and comments along with subject area scores and a composite score. Colleges may review students’ essays to help them make admissions or course placement decisions. Go to www.actstudent.org/writing to learn more about the writing test, including the colleges that require it for admission.
(Information provided by ACT Media Relations.)
Yes! Although some students’ SAT and ACT test scores are similar, there are a significant number who perform better on one than the other. Therefore it is in your best interest to take both tests at least once to discover which one best suits you.
The right time to take the SAT/ACT is spring and summer of your junior year.
We suggest taking it at least twice to ensure that you have achieved a score that meets your college admission criteria and makes you a strong candidate for academic scholarships.
No. When you register for the SAT and ACT you are give the opportunity to send your score reports to colleges for no additional charge. If you wait until after testing to send your scores to the college, you will be charged a fee for each score sent to each college.
You cannot “hide” certain SAT scores from colleges. The SAT score report sent to a college will include ALL of your test scores, not just the highest score.
For ACT you can choose to send only specific ACT scores to a college.
- How do I request a transcript for my application(s)?
- How long should I give for requesting letters of recommendation from others?
- My application asks me to waive some of my rights; should I?
- When should I visit colleges?
Please give at least two weeks’ notification when requesting letters of recommendation or forms to be completed by counselors, teachers, or administrators.
These requests can be made through your Naviance account, https://student.naviance.com/maranathaacad.
The traditional times for visiting colleges are spring and summer of junior year and fall of senior year. At those times, armed with college lists and a growing sense of who you are and what you want, you can be very directed with your time on college campuses.
However, a number of students have found it valuable to visit college campuses on a more informal basis during their eighth, ninth, and tenth grade years, sometimes on vacation, sometimes when they are tagging along while an older sibling conducts his/her search. Keep an open mind. Take special note of what you like and what you do not like about a campus. Use these informal visits as an opportunity to begin piecing together your picture of the ideal college.