Aim Higher: The Achieve Blog

College admissions is a long game. Plant the seeds for admissions early! What your kids choose to do in middle and even elementary school matters!


Part I: SAT and ACT Testing

Coming soon:
Part II: AP Testing
Part III: Teacher recommendations
Part IV: Extracurriculars

If you take away one idea from this post, it’s this:

  • All students should still take the SAT or ACT.
    • Good SAT and ACT scores still help you get in to test-optional colleges.
    • Colleges may soon require tests again.
    • Students have more college options, but need to carefully choose where to send scores.

But have faith: strong students who are poor test takers can take advantage of test-optional admissions.

If you like more in depth info, read on:

College Admissions Times are A-changin’! 

Unless you live under a rock in a remote bog, you’ve heard that most colleges have gone test-optional or test-blind. 

Some of you might think students don’t need to worry about SAT and ACT scores since most colleges are test-optional.

The sad fact is that strong SAT and ACT scores are still important.

Questions? We’ve got answers:

Are the SAT and ACT Still Relevant?

Yes. Their importance has diminished, at least temporarily, but they are still important tools that most colleges use to decide who to admit.

Is This a Permanent Change?

In short, we don’t know for sure.

But lots of colleges are considering requiring testing again for class of 2023 or 2024 students.

Is There a Universal Policy on Testing?

Definitely not. Every college sets its own testing policy, and these requirements change.

Some Colleges are Test-optional, Some are Test-blind. What does that mean?

Test optional colleges don’t require standardized test scores, but they will consider them if you submit scores. 

  • Strong scores definitely improve chances of admission and help you to stand out from an increasingly large crowd as application numbers soar.

Test-blind schools won’t look at SAT and ACT scores even if you submit them. 

  • The University of California is the largest and most notable university system to go test-blind, and they’ve just announced this is a permanent change.

Can Strong Students Who are Poor Test-Takers Get Into Good Colleges?

Absolutely, and they actually have a better shot now than ever before because of test-optional policies.

Over the next three posts, we will be discussing three concrete things students can do to maximize their opportunities for getting in to great colleges!

Should All Kids Still Take the SAT and ACT?

Yes. If kids can take a standardized test without undue risk, they should definitely plan to take the SAT or ACT. Here’s why:

  • Even “poor test-takers” can drastically improve SAT and ACT scores.
  • Good scores will still help you get in to test-optional colleges.
    • Kids with high SAT or ACT scores get into college at higher rates than those who don’t submit scores.
  • Some scholarships still depend on test scores.
  • If kids plan to play college sports, coaches may need to see test scores for recruiting.
  • It is likely that many schools will again require tests in the next couple of years.

To learn how to maximize chances of admission, be sure to read our next three posts on The Changing College Admissions Landscape.

And as always, Aim Higher!

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