It is worthwhile to note that the ACT grants accommodations to just over 90 percent of applicants, while the SAT grants 85 percent of their applicants' accommodations.
And do not hesitate to request accommodations, if needed. Details about your test accommodations will not be shared with university admissions staff.
For the SAT, all accommodations must be approved by the College Board before you register for your preferred test date. If you are seeking an accommodation, you should start the application process early. It can take up to 7 weeks for the accommodations to be approved. For example, if you are taking the SAT in January 2017, you should start the application process soon after beginning classes in the Fall. To qualify, the student must have documentation regarding the following:
- the student’s disability
- the degree to which the student’s activities are affected
- the need for the specific accommodations requested.
The ACT announced on May 24, 2016 that they’ve made improvements to their accommodations system to make it easier and faster to apply. The changes were to take place June 2016. ACT plans to send answers to accommodation requests 10 days sooner, on average, than what was possible with their old system.
For either test, you should contact your high school counselor well in advance of the test registration deadline to start the application process. Working with your school is the best way to ensure the documentation you provide is sufficient. In addition, the school counselor has access to the College Board’s and ACT’s online applications to request accommodations, which greatly streamlines the process.
However, as a last resort, the parents can submit the documentation themselves, without involvement from the school counselor. Just ensure that all the documentation is provided and that all criteria are met before submission.
The student must have a documented disability, such as a current psychoeducational evaluation or a report from a doctor. The College Board provides documentation tips on their website, and your school counselor can help.
In most cases, a temporary medical condition (i.e. a broken arm) wouldn’t qualify for an accommodation; the College Board suggests that the student reschedule their testing date. However, it is worthwhile to check the College Board website for exceptions, if your student has a temporary medical condition.
For more information regarding students with disabilities and testing, please visit the test websites here:
College Board (SAT, AP Exams, etc): Students with Disabilities
ACT Testing: Services for Examinees with Disabilities