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Test Scores and College Admissions

How important are standardized test scores in the college admissions process?

If you are preparing for an upcoming ACT or SAT test date or have taken the tests but didn’t get the score you were hoping for, you may be concerned about the weight placed on these exams. Before you get too stressed, you should know that colleges don’t always consider ACT/SAT scores as the deciding factor.

Colleges consider the whole package. While some colleges put added weight on your ACT or SAT scores, you should remember that most schools evaluate applicants in a variety of areas, including GPA, class rank, essays, high school curriculum and recommendations. Since many admissions departments make an effort to evaluate the entire student, one bad test day is not going to ruin your chances at success. Shine in other areas and colleges will take notice. Colleges look at the whole package so let them see your strengths.

Still stressed? Well, let your anxiety motivate you to do better! Here are some ways to improve your test scores, as well as your overall college application:
Set goals and start early. Many colleges have an acceptable range of ACT and SAT test scores so try to set your goals accordingly.

Get some help. There are a variety of ways to study and improve your next test score. Use prep books, online practice exams and SAT/ACT prep classes as studying aids. Talk to your high school guidance counselor for other recommendations and resources.

Try and try again. If you didn’t score as high as you were expecting, take the tests again! You can pay to take the exams as many times as you like, so remember to start testing early and plan around upcoming test dates. If you think you can improve, don’t let the exam cost set you back. It’s important to get the best ACT or SAT score you can for both college admissions reasons and scholarships.


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