Are the SAT and ACT Really Optional?

Many colleges have extended their test-optional status into the next application season. While this has been a relief to many students, it has also created a dramatic increase in the number of applications submitted to top colleges. This added level of competition leads us to ask a very important question.

Are the SAT and ACT really optional?

They may technically be optional, but for students competing against a sea of candidates for limited spots, these tests are not optional at all. Colleges still rely on the SAT and ACT as important metrics on the application.

The SAT and ACT also give many students an opportunity to prove their academic strengths when their GPA might only be average, or if their high school didn’t offer robust AP classes. In those cases, the SAT and ACT can give students a leg up.

For students applying to top colleges, an excellent GPA, AP scores, and extra-curriculars are simply not enough. A strong SAT or ACT score could mean the difference between admission and rejection.

Given the sharp decline in students submitting their SAT or ACT scores this past application season (only 44 percent of those who applied through the Common Application submitted SAT or ACT scores, down from 77 percent the previous year) a strong test score can make or break an application.

Across the board, the consensus is that students should try to take the SAT or ACT. If the score is consistent with the rest of your application, submit it. If the score boosts your application, then you should definitely submit it! Only students whose scores would weaken their application should skip it.

We are currently offering online summer courses for the SAT! Boost your score by 200 points this summer by joining one of our Intensive Courses.

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