Students waiting to test should continue to prepare, though in a modified fashion. Continue to review relevant prep materials, though clearly with less intensity than if you were preparing for June. Students will have more time to prepare for the next official test, and research shows that students who put in more time preparing for these tests end up with higher scores.
Each subsequent test date should allow a larger portion of students across the country to complete their admissions tests. June was always going to be tough. The July ACT should allow more students to test, and the August SAT should accommodate even more students. By the fall, the vast majority of high schools and colleges in most markets across the country will likely have students on campus. At that time, administering these tests should be significantly easier. Continue to plan for your best testing outcome, even if you’ll have to wait longer than initially anticipated.
Important article via Applerouth on the move to test-optional at many schools. This mirrors what we have been discussing with clients. In short, test scores can and will still matter for most clients. Read the full article here–and some highlights:
While test scores are no longer required to complete an application, the vast majority of test-optional schools still welcome test scores and value strong scores in the admissions process.
Test-optional admissions policies were already on the rise before COVID-19 led to test cancellations this spring. For many colleges, adopting a test-optional admissions policy can be beneficial. Test-optional schools tend to see the following changes in their admissions patterns:
An increased number of applicants, resulting in a lower (i.e., more selective) acceptance rates;
Fewer low-scoring students report their scores, inflating the average test score for admitted students.
Whether you are looking at a school that is temporarily test-optional for the coming year or one that has a permanent test-optional policy in place, the same wisdom applies: test-optional does not mean test-blind. Sometimes students think that if a school is test-optional, test scores will no longer play a major role in admissions. This is a misconception.
Test-optional admission opens a lane for students who do not test as well or have limited access to testing and supportive resources, like test prep, while continuing to value strong test scores. There are effectively two admissions tracks with slightly different criteria. Students who do not submit scores will be evaluated on the rest of their application, including grades and extracurricular involvement, but they lack the additional evidence that test scores can provide in a competitive admissions environment.
As we move toward a landscape with more test-optional schools, be careful not to conflate test-optional with test-blind. Testing continues to play an important role for many students applying to test-optional schools and will do so for the foreseeable future. It’s only natural: in the midst of heavy competition, applicants will take every opportunity to distinguish themselves.
Fellow IECA member Cigus Vanni is the master of lists. He created many that he shares with fellow IEC’s, and one sheds light on that almost no colleges continue to require or recommend the writing portion of the SAT or ACT. The biggest exception is the UC system, which still requires it.
Here’s his list as of 6/27:
Abilene Christian University (TX) – recommend
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (NY) – recommend
Augsburg College (MN) – recommend (note: Augsburg is a test-optional school)
Berry College (GA) – require ACT, neither require nor recommend SAT
College of Charleston (SC) – recommend
Duke University (NC) – recommend
Eastern Illinois University – recommend ACT; neither require nor recommend SAT
Manhattan College (NY) – recommend; used for placement in writing courses, not for admission to school
Martin Luther College (MN) – require ACT, neither require nor recommend SAT
Michigan State University – recommend
Montana State University – recommend; used for placement in writing courses, not for admission to school
Oregon State University – recommend SAT; neither require nor recommend ACT
Rhode Island College – require ACT, neither require nor recommend SAT
Saint Anselm College (NH) – recommend (note: Saint Anselm is a test optional school)
Saint Norbert College (WI) – recommend
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania – recommend
Soka University of America (CA) – require
State University of New York at Buffalo – recommend
Texas State University – recommend ACT
United States Military Academy (NY) – require
University of California Berkeley – require
University of California Davis – require
University of California Irvine – require
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) – require
University of California Merced – require
University of California Riverside – require
University of California San Diego – require
University of California Santa Barbara – require
University of California Santa Cruz – require
University of Evansville (IN) – require (note: Evansville is a test optional school)
University of Mary Hardin Baylor (TX) – require
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities – recommend
University of Montana – recommend
University of Montana Western – require ACT, recommend SAT
VanderCook College of Music (IL) – require
Webb Institute of Naval Architecture (NY) – recommend
NOTE: All information current with the updating of this list on June 26, 2019. Be sure to check with each college to which you apply before you register for any standardized test as requirements can change.
Video number four just posted on filling out the Testing section of the Common Application. If you have specific questions as you watch it/fill out your Common App, feel free to shoot me an email or reach out via the link at the end of the video.
I also suggest joining our new Facebook group, Conquer the Common Application!!! We hope this group becomes a place where students, parents, and counselors can ask questions, share advice, and ultimately, get filling out the Common App right. Not everyone’s Testing section will look the same because not everyone takes the same tests or reports test scores at all, but it can be nice to see a sample. If you join the group, you can also access a PDF of a completed Testing section.
Please share this post with students or that helps students fill out the Common Application. Enjoy!
*Stay in the know! Subscribe for college admissions news, tips, and advice*
Great post by the team at Applerouth! All juniors (and sophomores who want to get ahead) should give it a read!
It’s the start of a new year, and with the new year, new questions that need answering, especially those related to finances. If you are a junior who will meet with your college counselor in the next few weeks to begin the college admissions journey, you will want the SAT or ACT tests to be on your radar this spring. If you have already taken an SAT or ACT at least once and are wondering if you should try again, or if you have yet to sit the official test, helpful information awaits.
In 2017, the SAT will be offered this semester on January 21st, March 11th, May 6th, and June 3rd. This is the last year for the January SAT date and the first year for an August SAT administered this summer on August 26th. The ACT will be offered on February 11th, April 8th, and June 10th.
In determining which test(s) you should take, there are a few considerations to make in order to ensure that you position yourself to get your highest score. Most importantly, you will want to prepare adequately. Take a practice test at the College Board or ACT website, evaluate the scores you receive, and begin preparing for the content, strategies, and timing pressures that you will encounter on the test. Ideally, you will devote at least a month of daily practice, with a few timed practice tests, to give your first test a solid performance.
Not only is preparation essential, but you will also need to consider your own schedule. Do you have an important robotics competition that would prevent you from taking the February ACT? What are your spring break plans? Is finals week sufficiently stressful to preclude you from taking the June SAT? Look at your academic and extracurricular calendars, and discuss a potential date with your family to see if there are any conflicts.
Finally, if you are planning on taking the SAT, you might be considering taking an SAT Subject Test or two to submit to colleges. Those tests take place on the same day as the SAT and, while you may take up to three SAT Subject Tests on any one test day, you cannot take both the SAT and a Subject Test. Typically, students will take SAT Subject Tests around May or June in order to coincide with AP Exams, since both tests are content-heavy. If you were planning on taking the SAT as well, you will want to consider how to organize your calendar to accommodate both tests.
Maybe you took the SAT or ACT this past year and are wondering if or when you should take the test again. Taking the SAT or ACT test is an investment of time and energy, not to mention money. Is it worth spending another Saturday morning in a high school classroom, working on math problems and reading passages? In most cases, an extra test is worth the extra effort when accompanied by a few necessary steps.
In order for a student to do her best on any number of SAT or ACT tests, preparation is paramount, no matter how many times you have taken the test previously. A student may take the test a dozen times, but you will likely get the same score if you have not devoted considerable time to understanding the test format, building mastery with the content, and practicing the testing strategies.
Often, when you take the test the first time, you might feel considerable anxiety. Once you make it out of the testing center and realize that an SAT or ACT test is totally doable, you might perform better on the second test, simply because much of the burden of anxiety has lifted. You know what the proctor will say; you know how to pace yourself for each section; you can manage the various demands placed on you. Sometimes, it may take an additional test for a student to overcome the effects of those stressors.
Of course, it might be that you don’t need to take the test an additional time. You adequately prepared, felt that you performed your best on each of the test dates, and have the scores that put you in a competitive position with your colleges. In that case, you can focus your attention on other aspects of your application – boosting your GPA, contributing more to extracurriculars, arranging those teacher recommendations – or taking a well-deserved break.
Each student’s history of test preparation and test performance will differ; however, there are abundant opportunities this spring either to prepare for and take the test for the first time, or to shoot for one final test to achieve your highest result.
PSAT scores are now available online for counselors and will open to students on Monday. Compass Prep has prepared a number of resources that can help with interpretation, provide context, and illuminate where to go from here. I suggest checking them out!