Do ACT®/SAT® Scores Really Matter?
Students across the nation spend countless hours studying to take the ACT® or SAT® exam, knowing that the results of these exams heavily influence their prospects in college admissions, and thus, their later professional opportunities. But before stressing too much, it’s crucial that students and their parents understand how much these scores truly matter, and in what situations they matter most.
Types of Schools Relying Heavily on These Scores
First and foremost, it’s important to know that standardized test scores do matter. However, they might not matter as much as most people think. The only real instance in which these test scores actually serve as a strong determinant in getting into a university is when one is applying to very elite schools in which many of the other applicants have similar (or the same) GPAs, extracurricular activities, and recommendations.
Often, Scores Are Only One Determinant
For most students, the schools to which they apply will likely reference their score as a screening mechanism, similar to how employers screen potential employees to ensure that only candidates who meet the basic requirements make it to the next phase. Once it is verified that an applicant’s score is acceptable, other factors play a much greater role in determining how likely they are to be accepted.
Other Things Schools Consider
The biggest factor that colleges consider during admissions is a student’s GPA (grade point average). Unlike standardized tests, which measure performance by taking a snapshot of abilities and knowledge at a given time, a GPA can illustrate long-term hard work, dedication, and discipline.
Another critical element in any college application is the student’s participation in extracurricular activities, especially those that can demonstrate high engagement and teamwork and those that bring value to the community of residence.
The Place of ACT® and SAT® Scores
While the ACT® and SAT® can be critical to gaining college admission, it’s important that students and parents understand that these standardized tests scores are only one element in an overall college application. Admissions departments will consider many other factors in the student’s academic and personal life when making acceptance decisions.
Preparation for These Tests
If either of these tests are in your future, check out this free test prep:
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