SAT & ACT: Sometimes Required, Always Encouraged!

By  Layton Funk

Published on  June 29, 2020

As previously discussed in the Victory Step Blog, hundreds of colleges and universities across the United States have made the SAT & ACT optional in their application process. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted testing nationwide, delaying scores and application plans. Due to this, even more universities have adopted this optional policy, albeit temporarily. Many of these are top states colleges, Ivy League schools, or other high quality universities, unlike the schools listed before. Keep in mind that the vast majority of colleges and universities still require SAT & ACT scores.

Should I Still Study for the SAT & ACT?

The short answer is yes. Studying for difficult tests like the SAT & ACT will only help students in the long run. The reasoning being that studying in general is a good thing. Those tests were designed to challenge students in terms of mental stamina, logic, and evidence-based critical thinking. For students applying for the 2021 school year, they may not feel the need to take the SAT & ACT. I would argue that those tests are key parts of preparing for post-high school life. One could say it’s a rite of passage, if not an essential step. If a student decides not to take those tests, I still highly recommend they try to learn solid study habits, pick up a lot of reading, or even get a tutor to help get them into gear for college.

What Are They Looking For Instead?

Many colleges and programs are already fairly flexible about the SAT & ACT and those usually are looking for other qualifications. The most typical of those are grades and extracurricular activities. Was the student involved in sports, clubs, National Honor Society, or their local community? What rank were they in their class and with what GPA? How did they do on their AP exams (which also have been delayed, put off, or restructured)? Many students may waive their test scores in favor of GPA, AP exams, or other factors and may do well. However, it’s always prudent and strategic to do as much as one can to achieve their goals. So, I would say to always try as hard as possible to have as many high quality qualifications to get into college, especially by preparing and seeking out help!

How Long Will This Last?

This post on College Life Today outlines all the schools, their options, and how long they will be implementing this policy. In general, top schools are only keeping this test-optional policy for the upcoming 2021 school year. Many are extending the policy for the next four years as a buffer for students not able to prepare properly or so they can implement their own application test in the meantime. Regardless of how long or how many schools are going test-optional, students should endeavor to explore every avenue they have.

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