4 months ago
Admissions Advice

Should I take the SAT if I took the ACT?

I'm a junior with 16 APs, a 1490 PSAT, a 35 ACT, and some extracurriculars that (hopefully) can make me competitive for the T10. I did some research and found that taking both the SAT and ACT can give colleges more information about me, but a lot of other people say that taking both is unnecessary, especially after the revamp in 2016, because both tests are now more similar. Should I take the SAT to boost my chances?

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
4 months ago[edited]

I have a different take on your dilemma.

First, of all congrats on your 1490 and 35 scores, and wow!, 16 APs and you are only a junior? There are not many APs left to take unless you are doing a 2nd or 3rd language.

Like yourself, I targeted the Ivys, Stanford, MIT, UChicago, and submitted my 35 only. My thought process was that a 35 is equivalent to a 1530-1560 SAT score and there are no colleges in the US that require that except MIT/Caltech and since I'm not a STEM major candidate, a 35 would satisfy the testing threshold of every college in the US. Plus none of the schools in the T10 is going to give you a merit scholarship based on your PSAT score anyway so taking the SAT to get 1550 doesn't really help because being a Merit Sch. finalist doesn't help you with the T10 schools since there is no merit aid. (If you are curious, I applied ED to Columbia and that's where I'll be going).

Therefore I would only take the SAT if you are applying to other colleges that a.) give out merit aid based on SAT scores and b.) give out merit aid based on being a Merit Scholarship Finalist. I can think of a couple of really good schools that do that like UVA, William & Mary, USC, etc but these are not T10 schools. So having a high SAT might come in handy if you are applying and wanted to hedge your bets with target or safety schools say T20-T30 schools.

Your chances to get into a T10 will not be affected by a 2nd test score because even at Harvard, the testing threshold is 33+ACT, 1500 SAT, and you need all the other criteria ranked on their scorecard at least a 2 (either a 2+, 2, or 2-) to be a viable candidate, same with Stanford. Only 1% of admits haven an academic score of 1 at Harvard or Stanford, and 99% of admits can't get to that level unless they are done some remarkable research on their own that is published and recognized. So while there are a lot of people who think they need a 1550 or 35 to attend a T10 school, it really depends on how strong the rest of your application is and your overall achievements. If you have some Bs or some weak ECs, then a high test score could help validate you, but once you have a 33+ or 1500+, you don't get cut from the potential list, unless you have an obvious weak area in your file. Also, due to the high amount of Asian and East Asian applicants with high test scores, if you fall into that demographic, you do need to apply and submit high test scores because that's, unfortunately, the plight of a smart Asian student these days.

Hope that is helpful.

4 months ago

I wouldn't. It wastes money and tons of times you could be spending doing much more important things. If you were to take it, you would need at least a 1520, which would take a lot of studying and time.


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