Why SAT and ACT Scores Still Matter as Test-Optional Choices Rise

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Despite an Increase in Test-Optional Choices, Consider Taking the SAT and ACT

Most high school juniors have many questions running through their minds, as the upcoming college admissions cycle will be unlike any other. Amongst other changes, an increasing number of schools are shifting to test-optional admissions policies in response to the cancellation of spring SAT and ACT examinations

Consequently, students who had originally planned on submitting a standardized test score are likely wondering whether it is still worthwhile to take the ACT or SAT exam. Keep reading to find out why it is in many applicants’ best interest to submit a standardized test score, even in the wake of these policy changes.

Test-Optional Doesn’t Mean Test-Blind
While it is true that a larger proportion of colleges are moving to test-optional admissions for the upcoming application cycle, that doesn’t equate with being completely blind to an applicant’s test scores. Instead, the role that SAT or ACT scores play in a student’s chance of admission will evolve: while scores are no longer a requirement at many colleges, that doesn’t mean that they won’t have an impact on students’ admissions odds. In fact, admissions officers are likely to look favorably upon applicants with compelling SAT or ACT scores. As a result, students who feel prepared for standardized tests should absolutely pursue opportunities to complete these exams. SAT and ACT scores that fall within or above your best-fit colleges’ desired score range will continue to be an asset during the upcoming admissions cycle. 

Make the Most of Your Preparation
In addition to potentially bolstering your admissions odds, taking the SAT or ACT can be an opportunity to honor the hard work you have put into your test preparation process. By junior and senior year, most high school students have been studying for these standardized exams for years. Students should have the chance to reap the rewards of their hard work by taking the exam they have been studying for and reflecting on what they have learned throughout the test preparation process. Consequently, many rising seniors may wish to complete the SAT or ACT examination as a culmination of their test preparation journey. Even if you ultimately choose not to submit your SAT or ACT scores, every opportunity to hone your standardized testing skills is a valuable practice for future examinations. 

Maximize Your Options
While it is true that an influx of colleges are making the move to test-optional admissions at least temporarily, every school’s policies and approach are different. For example, a large proportion of newly test-optional schools are only implementing this policy for the next year. Consequently, if a student ultimately decides to take a gap year, they might need to submit SAT or ACT scores during the following admissions cycle. Some other colleges have yet to make the move to test-optional policies, meaning that standardized testing requirements may still apply. Ultimately, having an SAT or ACT score that you are proud of opens doors: test scores can round out your applications, ensure that you meet the requirements for every college on your best-fit list, and add additional context to your overall academic profile. 

Although there are undoubtedly profound changes to the upcoming college application cycle, at the end of the day the same guiding rules will still apply. College admissions officers are looking for passionate and compelling students who will make an impact on campus and those who possess the requisite grades and standardized testing scores to gain admission.

As a result, every applicant should strive to attain test scores that they are proud of, whether they are required by your best-fit college or not. If you are looking to boost your SAT or ACT scores, our team of expert tutors can help you refine your study habits and achieve your testing goals.

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