11 Frequently Asked Questions

List of 11 frequently asked questions.

  • When does the official college counseling process begin?

    Formal, individualized conferences begin in November of the 11th grade for students, but the College Counseling Office offers programs for interested Middle and Upper School parents.
  • Why don't formal, individualized sessions begin prior to 11th grade?

    Two reasons: (1) we have too little academic data to reasonably discuss college admissions, and (2) 15 and 16 year olds are generally not ready to talk in a meaningful way about their college aspirations. We would prefer to use the time before 11th grade to get to know students and help them understand themselves!
  • May parents contact college counseling with questions prior to 11th grade?

    We welcome questions at any time, from any grade!
  • What questions are commonly asked during the first two years of high school?

    Parents and students frequently inquire about course selection. Graduation requirements tend to dictate course selection at this time, so discussion centers around whether to take regular, honors, or AP sections of a required course. 
  • Do students decide which level of coursework they will take?

    Each academic department makes a placement recommendation based on formal screening procedures. A student recommended for honors or AP may chose the regular level course instead.
  • Do parents need to retain an independent counselor?

    We get to know students better than most independent counselors might—so there is no need to hire an independent counselor. It's noteworthy that some colleges will not speak with independent counselors.
  • Are St. Luke's students admitted to the most selective colleges and universities?

    When parents ask that question, often they are asking if colleges favor students from one school over another. And the answer to that question is no. College admissions officers know St. Luke’s well and have a long-standing relationship working with our students. Our matriculation list reflects where students chose to enroll and not where they were admitted.
  • Are SLS counselors well acquainted with college admissions personnel?

    We work very hard to maintain a strong professional relationship with admissions officers at hundreds of colleges around the country. We succeed in doing this by visiting colleges annually, inviting scores of admissions officers to SLS each fall, by interacting with those officers at professional conferences several times a year, and by being respectful to our colleagues on the “other side of the desk.”
  • How can I get my 9th or 10th grader to think about colleges?

    One idea is to take your child for the occasional stroll around various college campuses that are in the area. We provide interested families with a list of colleges that are clustered around a particular area. This kind of low-key (simply looking, never interviewing) approach reminds students of the ultimate goal of their college prep education at SLS, and also exposes them to a variety of college types—big, small, public, private, more selective, less selective, urban, suburban, and so on. This is an enormous help when they are asked by the college counselor about characteristics they favor in a college.
  • Should parents read about colleges prior to the 11th grade year?

    It is difficult to avoid reading about colleges and the college process. There is no need to actively seek out information about the college process but it's not a bad idea to follow what is going on in higher education. Engage in the debate over the value of the liberal arts or look at how colleges make decisions during tough economic times. But don't bother with those books and articles that promise to provide the secrets to getting into the most selective schools or writing a winning essay.
  • What should parents be "doing?"

    Relax and enjoy the time you will spend with your son or daughter. The future is enticing but it isn't quite as exciting as the present!

List of 4 events.

  • Apr

    10th Grade Parent Workshop - Understanding the ACT and SAT

    SLS will hold a workshop for 10th grade parents only to discuss and better understand ACT and SAT standardized testing.  The guest speaker will be Charlie O'Hearn, Founder and CEO of Summit Educational Group.
    Fireplace Commons
  • Apr

    ACT @ SLS

    St. Luke's School is an official test site for this ACT test administration. Registration begins at 7:15 A.M. and test begins at 8:00 A.M. Please meet in the front lobby to check-in.

    To register for the test visit ACT website at www.actstudent.org.
  • May

    SAT/SAT Subject Tests

    Please visit College Board website at collegeboard.org for test site locations and to register for the test.

    St. Luke's School is not a test site for this test administration.
  • Jun

    SAT @ SLS

    St. Luke's School is an official test site for this SAT test administration. Registration begins at 7:15 A.M. and testing begins at 8:00 A.M. Please meet in the front lobby to check-in.

    To register for the test visit www.collegeboard.org.

Testing Info

Important Information

  • St. Luke's CEEB Code: 070 460 (this code number is necessary for SAT and ACT registration)
  • Registration: Online at collegeboard.org or actstudent.org
  • Proper identification is required on day of test (driver's license, current passport, or official school identification form)
  • The SAT is offered in January, March, May, June, October, November and December
  • The ACT is offered in February, April, June, September, October and December
  • St. Luke's is a test site for the PSAT (October), PLAN (November), SAT (June), ACT (September and April) and AP (May)


PSAT = Preliminary SAT (SAT warm-up; not sent to colleges)

= National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (junior year PSAT)

SAT = Tests critical reading, mathematics and writing

Subject Tests = Subject specific tests in math, English, science, foreign language, and history/social studies

PLAN = Preliminary ACT (ACT warm-up, not sent to colleges)

= Tests reading, usage/grammar, science reasoning, mathematics with an optional essay

AP = Advanced Placement test (subject specific test administered in May at end of AP course)

Normal Testing Sequence

9th Grade: Subject Tests in Spring for some students (students should speak with their teachers)

10th Grade: PSAT & PLAN in the Fall; Subject Tests in the Spring for some students (students should speak with their teachers)

11th Grade: PSAT in the Fall; SAT I, Subject Tests, ACT and AP tests in the Spring

12th Grade: SAT, Subject Tests, ACT in the Fall; AP tests in the Spring

Extended Time Testing

  • To qualify for extended time testing, students must have an officially diagnosed learning disability and submit all necessary paper work to the testing agency several months prior to the test date;
  • "Extended time" testers receive either 50% or 100% extra time (depending upon the nature of the learning disability);
  • extended time testing at SLS is offered to qualified students twice in the spring and twice in the fall on national test days;
  • For further details, contact the Educational Support Services office.

Testing FAQs

List of 4 frequently asked questions.


    Students are preparing for the ACT and SAT every day. They just don't know it. What they do in class is good preparation for both the SAT and the ACT. In fact, it is possible to do quite well on those standardized college admission tests without doing any major preparation. But most students feel more confident if they prepare for the tests. Before deciding when they should prepare for the tests, students have to decide when they want to take the SAT or ACT. That decision is made on an individual basis with the student, the family and the college counselor. Once students have established a testing plan, they can then begin to think about how they learn best. Some students choose to purchase test prep materials and work through the material themselves while others use a tutor or take a test prep class. Not all methods work well for all students so students need to take into consideration their learning style, their evening and weekend activities and their goals before embarking on any kind of test preparation.

    • information (vocabulary, math operations, reading comprehension, etc.),
    • special tactics (pacing, guessing, looking at answers before questions, etc.),
    • emotions & attitude (anxiety, concentration, motivation, etc.),
    • familiarity with test-type questions (analogies, sentence completions, quantitative comp, etc.)
      NOTE: The comprehensive PSAT and PLAN score reports are helpful tools for analyzing test-taking strengths and weaknesses before a student undertakes SAT or ACT prep work.

    • self-prep with books works well for self-initiating students who like to work at their own pace;
    • self-prep with software and online programs works best for students who are not only self-initiating but also prefer technological interaction;
    • individual tutoring works well when (a) very specific weaknesses need to be addressed intensively, or (b) long-term preparation is preferred, or (c) flexibility in time and place is required, or (d) large classes are a distraction;
    • commercial class works well when one-on-one work (with tutor) seems tedious, or when student learns best in the dynamic of class discussion.
  • QUESTIONS FOR THE SAT or ACT EXPERT? ("Interview" the coach before signing up)

    • What is the length of a typical prep course?
    • What are your qualifications for preparing students for the ACT or SAT?
    • Are average score gains (as advertised by commercial companies) the average for all enrollees, or just for those who have made gains?
    • How much homework (in hours) between sessions is required for optimal results?
    • Should the instructor be expected to predict a given student's score?
    • Should parents expect on-going feedback from teachers or tutors during the prep period?
    • What is the ideal ratio between instruction time and drill work during a given prep session?
    • When do you discourage preparation?
    • If the test preparation seems to be going poorly, can the student withdraw from the class or tutorial without losing money?

Applying for Financial Aid & Scholarships

List of 4 items.

  • Step 1: Compile & Explore

    Complete Net Price Calculators
    Net price is the difference between the full cost to attend a specific college, minus any grants and scholarships for which students may be eligible. Net price calculators can be found on the websites of most colleges and universities. Families should compare the net costs of schools before students begin making application to colleges and universities. Not all schools meet 100% of a student’s demonstrated need. Students receiving financial aid at St. Luke’s School should not expect to pay the same amount for college. The financial aid calculations used for independent secondary schools is not the same as that used by colleges when determining demonstrated need.

    Compile List of Required Forms and Deadlines
    In addition to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) - which students must submit to be considered for federal aid programs - some colleges require additional forms such as the CSS PROFILE or other institutional applications. To increase chances of receiving the maximum amount of aid, students should contact individual schools to learn what forms are required and the submission deadlines. There is no charge to submit the FAFSA. Sending a PROFILE report to one college or scholarship program costs $25. Additional reports are $16 each. Students who are from low-income families with limited assets will automatically receive fee waivers.

    Explore Scholarships
    Generally, students should research private scholarship opportunities one year prior to enrolling in college; churches, civic groups, employers of family members and community organizations are often good sources. If students seeking money for college have not started investigating private scholarships, the first months of senior year are an opportune time to begin. Students should not pay for help to find money for colleges. Legitimate scholarship searches are available at no charge.
  • Step 2: Gather Paperwork and Complete Financial Aid Applications

    Become Familiar with the FAFSA
    Although students cannot submit the FAFSA before October 1, families should begin familiarizing themselves with the process by viewing information about the FAFSA at fafsa.ed.gov.

    Begin Gathering Financial Information
    To complete the FAFSA, families will need documents that provide income and asset information. Refer to the FAFSA for a list of documents, including W-2 forms and tax returns that will be necessary.

    Complete the FAFSA
    Families should be familiar with the FAFSA and prepared with the records needed to complete it. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will be required to report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) will report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 income information. Also, remember to read all instructions carefully since most mistakes are made by misreading directions.

    Photocopy Submitted Documents and Submit Before Earliest Deadline
    Don't forget to keep a copies of college financial aid documents; families sometimes need these records later in the process. Be sure to submit the FAFSA and other required forms before the earliest or "priority" deadline for individual colleges. This allows students to receive maximum consideration for aid and minimizes any risk of receiving less or no aid at all. Once submitted, all colleges listed on the FAFSA will receive a student's information electronically.

    Notify College Financial Aid Offices of Special Circumstances
    While the FAFSA takes a snapshot of a family's finances, there are circumstances the form may not reflect. Families should contact individual financial aid offices  to alert them to any special financial circumstances, such as unusual medical expenses or unemployment, which may affect their ability to pay for college.

    Review Student Aid Report (SAR)
    Four to six weeks after completing the FAFSA, students will receive a SAR, which summarizes data on the FAFSA and indicates the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Families should make sure the SAR is correct; if not, they should make changes and return it to the address provided. Colleges will receive any changes electronically.

    Submit Verification Materials
    When students are selected for verification, they must submit federal tax returns and other requested information to confirm data provided on the FAFSA. Promptly submitting verification will prevent a delay in processing a student's financial aid applications.

    Students with financial need who apply early decision or early action in the fall of the 12th grade year should be aware that financial aid deadlines might be the same as admission application deadlines.
  • Step 3: The Decision Process

    Review Financial Aid Award Letters
    Students will receive financial aid award notifications from colleges they listed on the FAFSA and that accepted them for admission. The information on each award letter may vary, but most colleges provide students with the type and amount of aid, funding sources, and conditions of the award. Families should carefully review each letter to make certain they understand all the terms and conditions of the award.

    Talk to Financial Aid Offices

    If families are unclear about any information on the award letter or concerned about the financial aid offer, they should talk to college financial aid officers to discuss the award.

    Decide Which College to Attend

    After reviewing financial aid awards, families should decide which college best meets the student's academic goals and financial needs.

    Accept or Decline Aid Offered
    When students select a college, they should review the award offered by that school and decide which type of financial aid they will use to fund their education. If loans are a part of the financial aid package, families are encouraged to visit studentaid.ed.gov to access the student loan repayment calculate. After accepting or declining aid offered, students should promptly return a copy of the award letter to the financial aid office.

    Alert Financial Aid Office to Outside Funding

    Colleges require students to notify them if they receive any outside scholarships, grants or financial aid from private sources.

    Notify Other Colleges of Student's Decision
    Students should write to colleges that offered them admission and financial aid awards to notify them of their decision to attend another school.
  • Step 4: Finalize Your Plans

    Make Final Decisions on How to Pay for College
    If there is a gap between the cost of attendance and the financial aid offered, families should research additional payment methods including: 10-month payment plans offered by many colleges; Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS); or private loans offered by financial institutions.

    Shop Around for a Student Loan Lender
    Most financial aid awards include federal Stafford loans. Families should carefully select a lender that offers interest rate reductions, flexible repayment plans and top-notch customer service.

    Complete and Submit Student Loan Applications
    Oftentimes families must complete a separate application to receive education loan funds. On the application they should choose a lender offering the most cost-effective education loan programs.

    Families have completed the year-long journey and achieved financial aid success.

    • Be aware of deadlines throughout the entire financial aid process.
    • Call financial aid offices directly if you have any questions.
    • Create a file with relevant documents to stay organized during the financial aid process.
    • Be cautious of scholarship scams that ask you to pay in order to receive information about scholarships.
St. Luke’s School is a secular private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving 25 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.