Plan ahead for taking ACT or SAT

College admissions tests — the ACT and SAT — are a huge part of the college application process. High school counselors typically provide students with the lowdown on when to take these all-important tests. The following is a brief guide to how to register for the tests and the test dates for the 2012-2013 school year.

ACT

Sign up online (actstudent.org/regist/index.html) or use the packet provided by your high school counselor or found in your school’s college guidance office. The cost is $35 for the test without a writing portion and $50.50 for the exam with the writing test. Fees include the option of sending scores to four colleges of your choice for free; the fee for additional schools is $11 per school.

Test dates for the 2012-2013 school year are April 13 (March 8 registration deadline) and June 8 (May 3). For more information about ACT registration, call (319) 337-1270.

SAT

Students can register online (collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/calenfees/fees.html) or through packets provided by high schools. The cost is $50 for the basic SAT. Additional optional fees include a $23 registration fee for basic subject tests, $23 for language with listening tests and $12 for all other subject tests. Registering by phone costs another $15. Fees include sending scores to four colleges of your choice for free; the fee for additional schools is $10.50 per school.

Test dates for the 2012-2013 school year are March 9 (Feb. 8 registration deadline), May 4 (April 5) and June 1 (May 2). For more information about SAT registration, call (866) 630-9305.

Each testing service does provide late and standby registration for a fee; visit their websites for more information.