By Sue Bilsky, Educational Counselor JEVS Lasko College Prep Program
There’s a recurring question I’m getting asked as recruiting for this summer’s Lasko College Prep Program continues: “Why do students need to prepare for and take the SAT or ACT this fall when so many colleges are going test optional forever, or at least temporarily during the pandemic?” For the 2021-22 admissions cycle, most colleges will continue to offer a test optional policy. Many high school students see this as a free pass and have written the SAT off their To Do lists. So why bother taking the SAT if you don’t have to? There are LOTS of good reasons.
- Taking the SAT can only help; it can’t hurt. If you do well, you send your scores. If you don’t, you don’t send them
- If you do not submit scores, the emphasis on your GPA is even greater. This could be an advantage or disadvantage. You will not have the ability to counter balance lower GPA’s or lackluster activities. The essay becomes even more important.
- SAT scores are often used to determine merit scholarships. Not submitting scores could mean lost money to help pay for college.
- Standardized test scores can be used by colleges for course placement. You may be able to skip introductory courses and complete requirements sooner.
- The SAT score report gives you college readiness feedback. If you score at or above the benchmark, you’re on track to be ready for college when you graduate high school.
- If you are eligible for an SAT fee waiver and take the test, you are eligible to receive 4 college application fee waivers. This can save you lots of money.
- Studying for the SAT helps you improve reading/writing skills and prepares you for long tests you may have to take in the future such as the MCAT, LSAT or GMAT.
The reason colleges are lenient on standardized testing is that they recognize the difficulty some students may have in being able to take the test. Colleges state that they will not hold it against you if you do not submit scores. However, you will be compared to other applicants from your school or town. If two students have similar credentials and one has submitted scores and the other has not, it could appear that the reason that applicant did not submit scores is not that he or she could not take the test, but rather that the scores were not good.
So, take the test! It is one more factor that could make you a better applicant, so give it a shot!
For information about how the JEVS Lasko College Prep Program can provide free SAT test prep and college admissions workshops for rising juniors and seniors in high school this summer, learn more here.