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2 months ago
Admissions Advice

are SAT's still needed as part of Application Process.
Answered

On the fence about having our Kid put energy into test that really does nothing. Are schools still requiring these and honestly, are they using them as a cut off tool during application review.

SAT
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4 answers

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Accepted Answer
2 months ago

It never hurts to take the test. Worst case scenario they do bad and you do not include testing in the application process.

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2 months ago[edited]

Let me pose some facts and share some data and let you draw your own conclusions about the relevance of standardized testing in the college admissions process.

-There are over 4000 colleges in the US that offer 4 year degrees and 80% of them are test optional. If colleges didn't care about standardized tests, don't you think they would be all be "test blind" or not consider them at all as part of the college admissions process. Instead only the California UC and CalState system and a few colleges like CalTech are test blind.

-We are nearly 2 1/2 years into the pandemic with test optional policies yet on average more than 50% of applicants still submit either SAT or ACT scores at the Top 150 colleges with test optional policies.

-Historically test optional schools like Bowdoin College which is consistently one of the Top 10 Liberal Arts colleges in the US has been test optional since 1969, perhaps even longer than your chronological age. Yet consistently their applicants, many of which that specifically apply there because of their liberal holistic application process submit test scores. During the last 3 years of application data about 60% submitted SATs and 40% submitted ACTs.

-Data shows that those that typically do not submit standardized test scores come from BIPOC backgrounds whose family has suffered economically from the pandemic. These students are typically lower income students or first generation (whose parents didn't graduate form a 4 year college). In most cases, whether they were domestic or int'l applicants, they didn't have the financial resources to test prep and travel to open test centers in other cities or states or countries where they were still being given.

-Admission data from top colleges in America show that on average a higher number of admits have submitted a standardized test scores, than the number of applicants that submitted one. If there was ZERO benefit or if colleges are agnostic to standardized test scores then the numbers would be identical. So at a place like UPenn, perhaps 63% submit test scores but 76% of admits submitted test scores. You can draw your own conclusions or run your own research but the data doesn't lie. If UPenn didn't care about test scores then, the admit % and the applicant % would be closely correlated. If anything, the data supports that that 1 additional data point does make a difference.

-Colleges are re-writing there test policies now. There are colleges that now are requiring tests scores like MIT. And many other colleges are changing the language on their testing policies to "recommending" applicants submit their test scores. These are colleges like Yale, Georgetown, Syracuse, UPenn, Carnegie Mellon, Rice, UWashington, Tufts, GWU, USNavalAcademy, USMilitary(WestPoint), UofFlorida, GeorgiaTech, FloridaState, Simmons, Galludet, UMich, Purdue, Yeshiva, UWashington, UNebraska, UNewMexico, UIdaho, Quinnipiac.

-What we know about college admissions in 2022 is no one thing can get you into a college and the lack of one attribute can't keep you out of a college. Why? Because colleges use very complicated rubrics to determine who gets in and who doesn't. Plus we know these days that applicants to the best colleges are somewhat self-selecting. So maybe 25% of the pool at Ivys are just shooting their shot and they know that even before they apply that's just a low probability lottery ticket they are buying for $85. But the other 75% all have the aptitude to do the course work. The problem is that only average only 5% of the Ivy 415000 applicants will get admitted. 15000 of the 20000 will matriculate because they will give up their spot to Stanford, MIT or another school that has a more aligned major, better financial aid, or some other factor. I have to believe that the small admit pool triggers the impetus to have a high test score to submit because they need to hedge themselves mentally that they didn't fail to get into because they were inconvenienced to study for and succeed on the exam.

If US colleges has a crystal ball to determine who should be sorted into a college and who shouldn't, the application process would be a simple as scanning your fingerprint. In some countries like China, Japan, S.Korea or Western Europe it is that simple. The best students get into the best schools because the highest standardized test scores determine your college outcome whether you like it or not. But in America, it's a game of survival like the Squid Game. If you are not doubly and triply prepared NOT to get off'd in the first round, you better have a Felix the Cat bag of tricks, and strategy and magic bullets. Every college admissions officer is different and if you apply to 20 colleges, not 1 will read your kids application the same way. So that's why in 2022, kids have an arsenal of talent, skill, character witnesses, course rigor, intellectual vitality, ECs, leadership roles, community service, public records of accomplishments, social media verification to ensure they make it through the rigorous, non-meritocratic process.

Good luck on whatever you decide to do.

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2 months ago

This is a complicated question because some schools don't require and some do. I'd suggest looking into the colleges you want to apply for because a lot of them after Covid made testing optional, but it does sometimes help the application process. They should try it out just for the possible benefits but they don't have to submit it.

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2 months ago

It depends on the type of student your student is. Many colleges are test-optional some are test blind, meaning they don't look at the test at all. A good test score likely won't hurt an application and could boost one if their GPA doesn't reflect their high test score but a poor one may be a deciding factor in rejection. I'd recommend looking at some schools and find out if any they may be interested in require testing.

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