Do I Take the SAT/ACT?
With the PSATs behind us, I thought I would put together a quick cheat sheet as you are deciding whether to take the SAT/ACT or not.
Here are the 3 things you have to decide:
- Do I prep for a test?
- Do I take a test?
- Do I submit my test scores?
Fall of Junior Year: PSAT
Spring of Junior Year: 1st SAT/ACT
(there might be extenuating circumstances for why you’d test earlier, which we can discuss in more detail)
August/September: 2nd Sat/ACT
Oct 15-Jan 15: College Apps are submitted
Do I prep?
I would plan on committing 8-10 weeks of test prep and with some assistance you can expect 100-150 point improvement on the SAT and 3 points on the ACT. There are a lot of details around the execution of this, but these are just general numbers. The decision to prepare for a test is usually happening before your college list is finalized, so it’s hard to know about a specific policy as it relates to school.
Generally speaking, it’s better to prepare and not need it than to be in the reverse situation.
Other things to consider:
- Cost: I would plan on budgeting $3k or so for test prep and setting aside 20 hours to do so. There are more expensive/less expensive options (Khan Academy is free, but requires self-direction). But it is an issue of time and money.
- Test taking skills: If you are a good test taker, prepping might make your score even stronger, which is great.
Do I take the Test?
If you are required to take the test for specific schools you might be interested in, then yes of course you should test.
If you think you will only be applying to UCs and CSUs, and maybe a few others, taking the SAT/ACT may not be worthwhile as those schools will NOT consider scores (test blind). On the other hand, if any schools in Florida, Georgia or others you are interested in are requiring tests (Georgetown) you should plan on testing. Also, generally speaking, if you are planning to apply to any lottery schools (acceptance rates less than 10%), you will want to take the SAT/ACT just to make sure you are doing everything you can to give you an edge.
Do I send my scores?
Once you’ve taken the test, you have to decide to send your scores or not. If you think your test score will help you, send it. This is something I spend a lot of individual time on with each of my clients once we have a college list compiled.
Did you know there are only about 80 colleges out of 2300+ in the U.S. that admit fewer than 25% of their applicants? There are only 300 that admit less than 50%. It just so happens that several of those schools are in California. Please keep in mind that there are schools for everyone and as always, it’s about finding the right fit, not about what the rankings say.
I hope this helps you as you are deciding about testing, and as always, I am here to support you in the process!