Unless you are the best chess player in the world or an Olympic gold medalist, the four-year colleges you apply to will likely take a close look at your ACT or SAT scores. Admissions departments want a complete picture of you and will consider many factors when making their decision, but test scores are among the most important components of any application. Other key elements are GPA, difficulty of course load, essays, letters of recommendation, and extra-curricular activities.
Why are test scores so important?
ACT and SAT scores give colleges a standard by which to measure and compare every applicant.
That’s why they’re called “standardized tests.” It might be hard for an admissions representative to decide whether one student’s mission trip to Costa Rica should carry more weight than another person’s stint on the local Youth Board, but it’s easy to measure the difference between a 2330 and a 1760 on the SAT.
How high do my test scores need to be?
The national average for the ACT is approximately 21, and for the SAT it hovers around 1500. Many colleges accept students with scores close to these averages, but selective schools usually accept students with higher scores.
The higher your SAT or ACT scores, the more competitive your application will be and the more college options you will have. A high score can also make you eligible for scholarships. However, every school has different expectations. To find out whether your scores make you a likely candidate for admission at a particular college, check their website for admissions data.
If you’ve done some research and feel your SAT or ACT scores are lower than you would like, take steps to improve them. Buy a study guide, follow the curriculum, take practice tests, and then retake the official test. If you want help with preparation, ask your high school counselor for suggestions, check out online options, find a prep class, or consider working with a tutor. If you’re not sure which test you’re best suited for, visitwww.collegeboard.com and www.act.org to learn about the differences between the ACT and SAT. Like it or not, SAT and ACT scores are important, and you’ll never regret making every effort to do the best you can.
The College Blueprint offers comprehensive ACT and SAT preparation programs that are personalized for each student. Trained tutors provide private, one-on-one instruction, and students take full-length practice tests with evaluations. For more information, please call The College Blueprint at (949) 856-1221.