There are over 1,000 colleges that do not require SATs or ACTs as part of their admission requirements. As some colleges start to focus less attention on standardized tests for admissions, does that mean students are better off skipping these tests?
While this prospect may produce a welcome sigh of relief from students, the SATs and ACTs aren’t obsolete yet. Colleges are getting ever more crowded, and competition to get into these schools is growing constantly. In addition, colleges are taking an increasingly “holistic” approach to college admission, meaning that they look at the whole student before making any sort of judgement for admission.
Competitive universities struggle to differentiate between the ever-increasing numbers of qualified applicants, and some of the traditional indicators are less effective than before. The President of Purdue University recently wrote that one of their biggest admissions challenges is taking into account grade inflation in high schools, and that “no admissions criteria that ignores either the SAT or ACT exam can predict with equivalent accuracy a student’s college performance, or his or her best placement level in critical freshman courses such as mathematics.”
Having a competitive SAT/ACT score is just one more part of a student’s portfolio that makes the “whole” of the student that much stronger. Students need to seize every advantage they can find in the competition for college admissions, and a strong test score could be the tipping point that makes one student get chosen over another equally qualified student who chose not to take the tests.
The good news is that even if students can’t start skipping these tests any time soon, a few months of targeted studying can make a competitive score on the test very achievable.