What Rising College Application Volume Means for Classes of 2020, How to Apply for ACT & SAT Accommodations!!

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COLLEGE APPLICATION volume has been rapidly increasing. In the past, applying to six or seven colleges might have been considered more than sufficient. Now that number has become not just commonplace, but in many cases, lower than the norm. Some students even apply to 15 or more institutions.

As current high school students prepare to apply to college, they will surely have many questions about this new reality of increasingly high college application volume. Here are answers to three of those questions.

1. How common is this? In recent years, higher application volume has become very common. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, almost three-quarters of American schools have seen increases in 10 of the last 15 years.

As a growing number of colleges and universities adopt the Common Application, or otherwise transition to an online admissions process, it has never been easier to apply to a half dozen or more schools with the click of a mouse. Colleges and universities have also found new ways to market themselves to applicants, including via social media. The cumulative result is a larger pool of students from which a given institution can choose.

2. Does application volume naturally decrease acceptance rates? Theoretically, yes. If a school receives 5,000 more applications this year than it did the previous year, but does not plan to increase the size of its freshman class, then its acceptance rate will naturally decrease. This is not a guarantee, however.

Colleges recognize that students are applying to more schools, and their expected yield from those students that they accept may thus decrease. This is because if you apply to two institutions, you may receive a single acceptance letter. Chances are good that you will attend that school.

If you apply to 10 institutions, you may get in to seven, which means rejecting six offers. These six seats are then available to other students. Certain colleges and universities may also choose to increase the size of their freshman classes, which can soften the blow of rising application volume.

3. Should I apply to easier schools or more colleges as a result? This depends on where you plan to apply. For all students, the time of applying to just one or two schools is likely over. No matter what caliber of college you wish to be admitted to, ensure that you apply to a range of schools. This should include one or two dream colleges, several target schools and one or two safety colleges.

If you hope to attend a highly selective school, then yes, it is wise to apply to a higher volume of colleges and universities to increase your chances of admission to one. You should not, however, neglect target and safety schools. You also do not need to apply to 20 institutions – more than a dozen is likely excessive.

While increasing college application volume can likewise increase the pressure on high school students looking to apply to college, the trend is not as all-consuming as it is sometimes thought to be. The key to success on all applications is ultimately hard work and careful research.

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Every year, more than 160,000 high school students apply to receive accommodations on the SAT; more than 85% of those requests are granted. Even with the high odds of approval, navigating the application process can still be rather intimidating. To assist parents of students with IEPs and 504 Service Agreements, we have put together a comprehensive Q&A that should give you a firm grasp of the entire standardized testing accommodation landscape.

In this article, the College Transitions team will cover:

Which disability categories qualify a students for SAT/ACT accommodations
What types of accommodations are allowable on the SAT/ACT
When you should start the process of applying for accommodations
What documentation you need in order to procure accommodations on the SAT
What documentation you need in order to procure accommodations on the ACT
How much extended time you can receive on the SAT and ACT
How to decide whether or not to seek accommodations on the SAT/ACT
Let’s begin by examining what types of disabilities can qualify a student for standardized testing accommodations.

What types of disability categories can qualify for accommodations?

Students may qualify for standardized testing accommodations if they have been diagnosed with any of the following:

Specific Learning Disability
A Psychiatric Disorder such as a Mood or Anxiety Disorder
Visual Impairment
Hearing Impairment
Executive Functioning Disorder
Traumatic Brain Injury
Speech and Language Disorder
Medical Condition
Tic Disorders/Tourette’s
Physical Disabilities
What types of accommodations are offered on standardized tests?

Typically, students will already have school-based supports via IEPs or 504 Service Agreements in place prior to applying for accommodations on a standardized test. Extended time is far and away the most commonly granted accommodation on the SAT and ACT (as it often is in IEPs and 504s). This can come in a few different forms as we’ll see in a later section. Examples of other accommodations include:

Enlarged answer sheet for those with visual or fine motor skills challenges
Small group setting for students with ADHD to help to reduce distractions
Extra breaks for students with conditions such as diabetes
Use of computer for students with dysgraphia or a physical disability
Audio test for students with severe learning disabilities
Large print test for students with visual impairments
Use of four-function calculator for students with a learning disability in mathematics
Note that modifications such as reducing the number of test questions, answer choices, or level of rigor of the test are not allowable in any circumstances. This can sometimes come as a surprise to some parents and students who have specially designed instruction in their IEPs to this effect.

When should I apply for accommodations on the SAT or ACT?

The College Board recommends submitting your application at least seven weeks prior to the examination date. If you are planning on sitting for the upcoming October test, ask your guidance counselor to submit all necessary forms before students and staff leave in June. The ACT sets a more optimistic turnaround time of just two weeks but it is still wise to take care of everything a month out, just in case you hit any snags.

SAT – How to get approved for accommodations

Typically an online submission will be made by a student’s guidance counselor to the College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), although the option also exists to submit the application yourself, without the assistance of school personnel. Documentation in the form and a reevaluation and IEP/504 should lead to “automatic approval,” a policy the company adopted in 2017 that automatically grants accommodations that are already part of a student’s school-based educational plan.

However, the level of documentation required by the College Board varies by disability category. For example, an ADHD diagnosis must be made by a medical or psychological professional based on the DSM-V and the report should be no more than five years old. If the basis for seeking accommodations is a psychiatric condition, a current psychiatric update no more than one year old is required. Once you’ve been approved by the College Board for accommodations on the PSAT or SAT, you will receive a seven-digit code that will be reusable on future test dates as well as for AP tests which are administered by the same company.

ACT – How to get approved for accommodations

Like the College Board, the ACT recently revamped their application procedure to simplify the process and ensure that more students receive the accommodations that their school team has already put in place. As such, they will want to see the accommodation pages from the student’s most recent IEP or 504 Service Agreement. Submissions are made through the organization’s Test Accessibility and Accommodations website.

For students citing an ADHD diagnosis, the ACT wants to see documentation of the condition prior to age 12. This is because it is widely known that some parents try to get their children this diagnosis in late-middle or high school solely to get extended time on college entrance exams. As with the SAT, documentation required on the ACT differs depending on the disability category. Students with learning disabilities will need to submit cognitive testing while those with a visual impairment would need to submit documentation from an ophthalmologist or other medical professional.

How much extended time do I get on the SAT?

On the SAT, the menu of extended time options is as follows:

50% additional time for the SAT is 4 hours and 30 minutes without the essay, and 5 hours and 45 minutes for the SAT essay
100% percent additional time is 6 hours on the new SAT without the essay, and 7 hours and 40 minutes for the SAT with essay
150 percent additional time (this is only granted in rare cases) is 7 hours and 30 minutes on the SAT; 9 hours and 35 minutes on the SAT with essay
Keep in mind that the typical amount of allotted time for the exam is 3 hours of actual testing time without the essay and 3 hours and 50 minutes with the essay.

How much extended time do I get on the ACT?

All exam-takers granted this accommodation will be provided 50% extended time for each section of the ACT. As of 2018, test-takers will no longer have to self-pace through the four multiple choice sections over the allotted 5 hours. The breakdown by section is as follows:

70 minutes to complete English
90 minutes to complete Mathematics
55 minutes to complete Reading
55 minutes to complete Science
60 minutes to respond to complete Writing (optional)
This total amount of exam time for those with the 50% extension is five hours without the essay and six hours with the essay. Without extended time the test takes 2 hours and 55 minutes without the essay and 3 hours and 335 minutes with the essay.

Deciding whether to pursue accommodations on the SAT or ACT

There are a few pervasive myths about this process that need to be dispelled so you can make your decision with all facts in clear view. Here are some helpful truths: 1) Colleges cannot see whether or not you took a given test with accommodations—all they will see is the final score. 2) You do need to stay for the entirety of the extended time you are granted. It’s a long enough day without extended time—with it, the day is going to be a true marathon. Those that truly need the time will benefit greatly but those who do not may find the whole process draining which can lead to suboptimal results. 3) It is not more difficult to get approved for accommodations on the ACT than on the SAT. While this was once the case, both companies today have equally friendly processes. Therefore, you should pick the test you feel better suits your skills and not let the perceived ease of receiving accommodations be a factor in your decision-making.

Hopefully you now you possess all of the requisite knowledge to make an informed choice about whether or not to pursue extended time or other standardized testing accommodations. Bottom line: If you are a student with a disability who is aiming for admission into competitive colleges down the road, accommodations are absolutely worth pursuing on the SAT and ACT.


While you may want to spend your entire summer sleeping in and hanging out with friends, it’s important also to spend part of the time being productive and preparing for your future. Participating in an activity over the summer can help you get a great job or get accepted to a top college in the future, and being productive over the summer doesn’t have to take up all your time or be boring!

Colleges and employers love seeing applicants who are motivated and interested in learning more. By keeping busy over the summer, you'll show them that you have what it takes to be a great addition to their school or workplace.

Here are a couple of ideas: VISIT COLLEGES, volunteer, take on a summer job, establish and/or clean up your online presence, internships, online classes, summer camps and staying active in your hobbies and interests.

Summer Hours 2

The College Map will be closed every Saturday in June and July and Monday, July 1st - Sunday, July 7th

Summer Hours and Important Dates

Saturdays in June and July:
(Test Prep only)

Monday, July 1st - Friday, July 7th:
Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, July 18th:
UNF Apply in July Event.

Tuesday - Thursday, July 23rd - 25th & July 30th - August 1st:
Rising Senior Boot Camp

Beginning May 26th, TCM Newsletters will be sent bi-monthly until the end of July

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Greetings from the University of North Florida!

I hope you are having a wonderful semester! I wanted to reach out before the school year ends to inform you of some exciting information about UNF:
Our application opens for the Class of 2020 on June 1, 2019.
On and after June 1st, students can apply online here: http://www.unf.edu/admissions/applynow/
We will be holding Apply in July events, where students will be able to receive on-the-spot admissions decisions, throughout the month of July in various cities within the state of Florida.
For more information, please visit: http://www.unf.edu/welcomecenter/ApplyinJuly/
If your students are planning to participate in the Apply in July events, make sure they submit the application on our website, and not the Common Application as this will not open until August.
In addition, we will be unable to accept the SSAR for the Apply in July events and instead will need their high school transcripts sent electronically or through the mail.
Students are able to schedule a tour of campus or register for upcoming events on our Welcome Center’s website.
For more information, please visit: http://www.unf.edu/welcomecenter/
For students who are unable to visit campus, the virtual tour can be accessed here: https://tour.unf.edu/

If you have any questions about Apply In July to UNF, please reach out to your College Map Counselor!

Bright Futures

Class of 2019, don't forget to submit a completed Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) in order to be considered for State Scholarship & Grant Programs. Seniors, please Create a Student Account. After logging into your account, you may proceed to complete the FFAA.

The Bright Futures link can answer all of your questions:

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Save the Date! Our annual Financial Aid and Scholarship Meeting will be held on Saturday, September 14 at 10:00am. We strongly recommend attending this meeting and we have specifically scheduled it prior to FAFSA opening. This is your chance to learn more about applying for the various forms of financial aid!

This event is only for families enrolled in our College Planning services.

Want to get a head-start on your scholarship search? Visit "Your Path" and click on the Financial Aid tab for some helpful links.


Test Prep Sign Up


Test prep students, when you are registering for live classes utilizing our Acuity online scheduler, please make sure that you are signing up for the correct class based on your strength test. You should be signing up for either ACT or SAT classes, not the other and not both. This confusion is causing classes to fill up in error. Also, please do not sign up more than once for each individual class as this is also causing classes to fill up in error. We truly appreciate your CAREFUL attention to this matter.

Please sign up at our Acuity Scheduler website!

Please register for the ACT at act.org OR SAT at collegeboard.org. Please note there are early registration deadline dates. You can register after the deadline date but a late fee will be required.


There are many good scholarship search tools/engines on the internet. Their primary function is to assist you in finding scholarships that match the eligibility criteria you enter for GPA, gender, residency, ethnicity/heritage, religion and area of study, hobbies, interests — some of the most common criteria used. The College Map team recommends the following search engines:



Big Future



Please make sure to "click" or fill out as much information as possible. Once you've entered your information into the database, the search engine will generate a list of all current scholarships you qualify for. We recommend sorting that list by due date.


Website Password

Our private "Your Path" page contains details for upcoming deadlines, events, and important announcements. We encourage you to check it regularly! The password is case-sensitive:

Test Prep Schedules

Be sure to register for your test prep classes, available on the Your Path page and the Acuity Scheduler. Registration is mandatory; walk-ins may not be able to be accommodated.


Is there something you'd like to see in our newsletter? An event you'd like us to host? A friend you'd like to refer? Let us know by simply replying to this message.

Kind regards,

Your Team at The College Map

By |2019-05-29T22:03:55-04:00May 26th, 2019|Your Path|0 Comments