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Take advantage of summer to plan for college, testing

By Jennifer Nicholson

Rowan Public Library 

The summer temperature has now reached record high, and the beach and lakes are calling. Yet, this is the perfect time of year for rising juniors and seniors to start reflecting on what they would like to do after high school, to start planning to take the dreaded SAT or ACT test, and which schools they would like apply for admission to. While the beach may be more fun, the Rowan Public Library can help students with these big summer tasks.

Many students may not realize that the library offers free online test prep through NCLive.org via Learning Express Library and also through the Gale Courses. The Learning Express Library offers students free test prep and tutorials, easy to access from any location with an Internet connection. The Learning Express Library also offers homework help on various subjects including, math, English and history. Students and parents who are interested in accessing the Learning Express Library through NCLive.org can access the database simply with their library card or can call the library for the direct password. Learning Express Library does require students to create a user name and password, but to access the database is completely free to students.

The Gale Courses offer students the opportunity to access free online classes that students can take. Class topics range from creative writing and math to personal development, to SAT and ACT test prep. These courses run six weeks, and provide students with helpful tips and techniques to help them preform better on the SAT and ACT. Hurry, however, because classes start on July 15 and Aug. 12. Again, these classes are completely free and are done completely online. No running to school or any location for classes, just simply log on to the computer. For more information or to access the library’s free online resources visit our website at rowanpubliclibrary.org and click on the online tools link, located on the left hand side.

While preparing for the SAT and ACT test is vital for students, selecting and applying to college can be just has daunting. One great resource is the College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC.org). This website, while it also offers test prep, allows students to explore and apply to all the colleges and universities of North Carolina and find financial aid and assistance. It even has helpful articles for moms and dads. Students can apply to multiple schools at the same time through this website, saving you time for more summer fun!

CFNC.org is also has great resources and a database for elementary and middle schools students. It helps students explore different career options and plan which high school courses they should study, giving students an extra advantage when they start attending high school and preparing for college. CFNC.org also provides helpful resources and articles for parents, students in the military considering college, transfer students and students with disabilities. For more information, visit CFNC.org.

For students who are looking for more helpful books on college planning and test prep, here are a few that might help:

  • “Kaplan SAT Premier 2015-2016”
  • “Kaplan ACT 2016”
  • “1,460 ACT Practice Questions,” by Melissa Hendrix
  • “The College Application Essay,” by Sarah Myers McGinty
  • “Admissions Essay Boot Camp: How to Write Your Way Into the Elite College of Your Dreams,” by Ashley Wellington
  • “Smart Strategies for Paying for College,” by G.S. Prentzas
  • “Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014,” by Edward B. Fiske


To access these books, students can visit the library at any of our three branches or access our online catalog. Students are also encouraged to contact their local high school and school guidance counselors.

Applying and preparing to go to college can be scary for any student; accessing these free tools and resources can help make this next journey in life a little easier.


Nicholson is a librarian and young adult coordinator for the Rowan Public Library.

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