With many colleges and universities no longer requiring SAT/ACT scores for admission, many parents are unsure if their child still needs to take one of these challenging exams. Read on to learn more!
During the COVID pandemic, health precautions prevented students from taking SAT/ACT exams in person. As a result, many schools transitioned to “test-optional” admissions – meaning that SAT/ACT scores were no longer a requirement. Current figures estimate around 80% of four-year colleges won’t require standardized tests for fall 2023 admissions, so the burning question remains: are SAT/ACT scores still important?
The shorter answer is: yes. Just because scores are optional, it doesn’t mean they aren’t still important. In fact, although many schools have transitioned to test-optional policies, very few schools actually ignore scores completely. Students should know the difference between these two policies:
Test-Optional: You are not required to submit test scores, but they can still help your chances of admission.
Test-Blind: Your test scores make no difference, and submitting them has zero effect on your application.
For test-blind schools, one could say that SAT/ACT scores truly aren’t “important.” However, unless your student has verified that every single one of the universities they are applying to is test-blind, it’s probably still a good idea to take the SAT/ACT. Test-blind schools are still relatively uncommon as far as higher education goes, so we still recommend that every student attempt the SAT/ACT.
During their college search, students will also discover that many universities saw the transition to test-optional as a temporary measure during the pandemic. We’ve already started to see several highly prestigious universities announce that they are returning to SAT/ACT scores being a mandatory requirement for admission, so we recommend students seek out the most current information about the schools they are interested in attending.
It’s extremely important to mention that this change to test-optional admissions is still a positive change. Colleges and universities are now recognizing that, as unfortunate as it may be, SAT/ACT scores are often directly correlated with family income levels. Underprivileged students should receive the same opportunities for higher education, regardless of their family’s financial background or socioeconomic status. These new test-optional policies are trying to make admissions equal and fair, which is a positive change and a step in the right direction!
Our best advice for students? If you have the means, take the SAT/ACT. In most cases, good scores will only help your chances of admission. Test-blind schools are still not the norm, and the large majority of universities will continue to weigh SAT/ACT exam scores when reviewing applicants.