The SAT and the ACT are exams that you’re required to take to gain admittance to college. There are some similarities and differences, and we want to break it down for you. While a lot of the content is similar, it’s important to take note of the structure, timing, and how the tests are scored. Read on to get the lowdown.
Listen, we agree that humans are not quantifiable, that your potential isn’t dictated by a number, and that standardized testing is sometimes fickle and frustrating. All of that is true. But while we’d love to be able to say that scores don’t matter and that you being a great person and a world-class tap dancer will get you into your dream school, they do matter. A lot.
This is a question we love to get. The answer is no.
We know that you’ve all been listening very carefully every time we’ve told you to hand in your application materials by the deadlines. So, we’re sure that this blog post doesn’t really pertain to you who managed your time well, sent in everything months ago and have just been relaxing with your feet up. But in case you’re wondering what our hypothetical advice to those racing against the clock, wondering if they should pay to have their test scores expedited would be, here it is:
Imagine you are a little kid again and your parents tell you that if you took out the trash every day for a week, you can get a new toy. You’re probably going to want to demonstrate your compliance by alerting them, somehow, to your success every time you complete the chore. Perhaps you have a chart with gold stars, or you walk them over to the newly-emptied trash can each day, or maybe you just yell across the house as the door slams behind you, “IT’S WEDNESDAY AND I’M TAKING OUT THE TRASH AGAIN.” What you don’t do is take out every piece of trash, put each one on your parents’ desk so they can see, put the trash back in the bag, and then take the bag outside.
We know--you have dozens of deadlines that you’re struggling to balance during this process. You have to get all of your forms in on time, write your essays, and on top of everything, you have to continue to exceed in school. One deadline that trips most people up is when to submit standardized test scores. We know you’re short on time, so here we are:
We have officially entered the period of the college admissions calendar lovely referred to as “the freakout months.” Ok, maybe only we call it that, but we think it’s a fitting name. Between now and December, things get real. Final test dates are fast approaching and application due dates are right around the corner. Students who promised themselves they’d work on their applications over the summer then spent the last few months goofing off realize that they are way behind, and even students who are on top of the ball start overthinking, nitpicking, and generally freaking out.
Testing is a big part of your high school academic experience the college application process. From figuring out which standardized tests to take to determining AP testing, regional state required exams, as well as your midterms and finals, there’s a lot to balance. It’s not just you; it can be overwhelming for everyone. Let us break it down for you:
Your test scores are a significant and important component of your college application. Whether you take the ACT, SAT, and regardless of which SAT IIs you choose to take, you will more likely than not take your exams more than once in an effort to improve your score. Oftentimes the sections that improve during one sitting aren’t the same as the sections that improve during your next sitting. Wouldn’t it be great if you could take one section that you scored super well in from one sitting and pair it with another strong section from a different sitting? That, our friends, is called supers coring, and some colleges are fine with it.
It’s the beginning of second semester junior year and it’s starting to seem real. The deadlines are in sight, test prep is getting revved up to high gear, you’re finalizing the details for school visits over spring break, and the thought of writing your college essay gives you anxiety. It’s completely understandable that by this time of the year you’re feeling exhausted, and as a parent you might be inclined to give your child breaks from the intense studying and preparation. It’s important to remember that this process is a marathon, not a sprint, which means you need to pace yourself but not fully stop. We want to simplify one of the most important college application items by giving you a testing schedule.
We recommend taking the SAT/ACT early so that you feel less stress during the college application process. If you find yourself needing to take a last minute exam, it can be hard to figure out which test dates will still be accepted by specific universities for regular decision.
As we mentioned last week, many colleges are moving towards becoming test optional. Liberal arts schools are definitely leading this trend, but some top universities have hopped on board. Here is a list of the top test optional national universities.
Over the past few years, standardized testing has become a heavily contested subject. Although some argue that it is an important data point and equalizer, more and more schools are moving towards becoming test optional. Test optional means students can choose to submit their test scores, and a lack of submissions won’t affect their chances. Here is a list of the top test optional liberal arts schools.
Early decision school applications are due in the beginning in November on either November 1st or November 15th. Early decision has increased in popularity over the past few years as many people believe that there is a significant advantage to applying early. While there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to applying ED, we always want to make sure our students know about the different testing deadlines. Can they take a November SAT and have it count? Do they have to send the scores directly?
The end of junior year can be one of the most stressful times of the college process. Everything begins to pile up at once and friends start to get competitive. You have to stay focused, organized, and do everything you can to alleviate your stress. To that end, here’s a list of the six things you should be doing at the end of the Second Semester to maximize your time and be efficient:
Dear Aspiring College Applicant,
I know you’re telling yourself you’re not going to get into college. Everyone around you is so much more qualified than you are. You could have higher grades, better test scores, more impressive extracurriculars. If you had just put one more hour into studying, you would have gotten an A instead of an A- in that class. That class is the reason why you’re not going to get into Brown. You’ve convinced yourself you’re going to get rejected from literally everywhere you apply, leading to shame, embarrassment, and regret.