Should I take the SAT or ACT? Part 2

Many high school juniors who will be applying to college for Fall 2022 admissions are desperate to understand whether major universities will require SAT or ACT scores as part of their applications. 

I would first caution parents and students to be patient and flexible when defining an SAT or ACT test-taking strategy given admissions policies regarding requiring test scores, in many cases, have yet to be determined for Fall 2022. 

Additionally, since university administrators will announce their admissions for Fall 2021 by mid-April, and some will also include how many test-optional candidates applied and were admitted, families can further determine how to best apply test-optional policies as part of their individual college admissions plans. 

That said, after numerous discussions with admissions officers and research, our advice for Class of 2022 high school juniors is multi-faceted depending on the individual student’s college plans.

First, for those students asking as a matter of logistics to plan a test preparation strategy as well as determine the most advantageous time to schedule the SAT/ACT:

  • My advice: choose a high school test site that’s currently open, and will likely remain open so school site people will administer the test. Also, I’d recommend waiting until the June administration of both the SAT/ACT, as each day, more universities are announcing extensions of their test optional policies to include Class of 2022 high school juniors, thus, students can weigh whether they want to take the test or not. 

Second, for applicants who believe that submitting an SAT or ACT score will distinguish themselves from other applicants to gain an advantage in the admissions process:

  • My advice: Admissions officers at universities using a test-optional admissions policy aren’t biased to favor applicants who submit scores. Admissions officers share that, if scores are submitted, and they believe the scores are not helpful to the evaluation, they will simply not consider the scores in their evaluations. Additionally, admissions officers share that applicants will continue to be considered individually based on the merits and information submitted, which may include test scores, not in comparison to one another. Thus, each student’s qualifications are considered in a vacuum to determine their worthiness for admissions. 

Third, for juniors who believe their SAT or ACT score demonstrates their application of knowledge acquired, thus possibly compensating for limited participation in extracurricular activities during high school, potentially planning to retake the SAT or ACT multiple times to achieve the highest score possible:

  • My advice: take whichever test, the SAT or the ACT (or both) whichever testing format a student believes they’ll most demonstrate their abilities. However, plan for the potential that re-testing a second (or third) time to improve one’s score may not be possible if test dates are cancelled due to a resurgence of coronavirus during Spring 2021. 

As always, students and parents would be prudent to consult a trusted advisor, which given the current COVID-induced dispersion of schools may be more difficult to access than in typical circumstances. Thus, seeking alternative guides or diving into the data prolific on the internet will be most useful in making strategic college decisions, as the next step in an multi-year endeavor to be admitted to college.

For more information about how Jill Yoshikawa, EdM can help students and parents navigate the complex college admissions process, even more complicated as admissions processes change for Fall 2022, contact her at Creative Marbles Consultancy

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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