a year ago
Admissions Advice

What to do if our school doesn't offer ACT or SAT exams?

Hi, I'm from the Philippines and unfortunately our school doesn't offer ACT or SAT exams. What can I do to help me have more chances of getting into universities in the states?

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
a year ago

If you are applying this cycle and even the following cycle, I'm happy to let you know that the top 400+ American colleges have either made the requirement for standardized testing completely optional or completely void (as in the case of CalTech). This means they have all banded together because of COVID-19 and said that any applicant who applies without a test score will NOT be penalized for not having a score. This applies to MIT, all the 8 Ivy League schools, and every elite and near Ivy school in America. Some college systems like the UC system test-optional however they are moving to TEST BLIND (they won't be looked at) until they implemented their own proprietary testing system.

Specifically, this means that if a college uses 50 data points to evaluate your application and test scores is one or two of them, they will be evaluated on the other 48 or 49 data points. Keep in mind that some of the hardest colleges like Harvard might use 225 data points.

The conclusion is that this year and next, application reviewers will defer to other very valuable data points like GRADES, ECs (extracurriculars), ESSAYS, COURSE RIGOR (the level of coursework difficulty you challenged yourself with), and to some lesser degree, RECOMMENDATIONS and CLASS RANK. If you apply to the hardest colleges to get into, they will want some evidence of intellectual curiosity or vitality which is your own personal academic journey to learn or master something not taught in your high school.

Go to CollegeBoard or ACT.Org to find the list of SAT or ACT test locations in your country.

For the Philippines, there are between 9 and 14 test centers depending on which date you sign up for.


For the ACT you have to fill out a profile first, to get the location of Test centers in the Philippines.


As an international student, you will always have more hurdles to go through and I will list them briefly:

-Less financial aid because very few institutions have aid set aside specifically for Int'l Students. Therefore it's important if you require financial aid to do your research and homework upfront before you create a list of colleges to apply to.

-More difficult barriers to entry which is sometimes not disclosed in the admissions stats. For example, getting into MIT is harder for Int'l student by a factor of 2 or 3. (Evidenced by their yearly Class profiles which are public on their website).

-You need to have excellent English language, writing, and comprehension skills so be prepared to take and submit a high TOEFL or IELTS English test score. Some colleges accept Duolingo but not all.

-Many very good to excellent colleges are not NEED BLIND but NEED AWARE when evaluating Int'l Students. This means students who can pay the tuition, room, and board is given the upper hand to being admitted versus those that state they will apply for financial aid.

Good luck

a year ago

First of all, what universities are you trying to get in to? Then I can answer your question.


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