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5 Reasons Why You Should Still Consider Taking the SAT/ACT Despite Test-Optional Policies

In recent years, the college admissions landscape has witnessed significant changes. With the adoption of test-optional policies by many colleges and universities, you can now choose whether or not to submit your standardized test scores. Columbia University's decision to go permanently test-optional made headlines as the first Ivy League school to do so. Partially in response to this trend, the College Board is set to introduce a digital version of the SAT next year. As a result, students and their families are now faced with navigating this new terrain as they make crucial decisions about which schools to apply to and whether or not to submit their test scores.

Despite the shift toward test-optional admissions, here are 5 compelling reasons why you should still consider taking the SAT/ACT.

1. Many Schools Still Require or Consider SAT/ACT Scores for Admissions

Despite the recent shift towards test-optional policies, many colleges and universities - especially the more selective ones - still require test scores as part of their admissions process. In fact, several schools that went test-optional during the pandemic, such as MIT and Georgetown, have recently reinstated the SAT/ACT requirement. Similarly, Purdue University has announced its intention to return to requiring test scores for future admissions.

Even if a school is test-optional, some may still encourage applicants to submit their scores, as strong test scores can boost an applicant's chances of admission. For example, Emerson College advises that "students who feel that their standardized test scores will be beneficial to the review process are encouraged to submit their scores as part of the application process." Other schools, like the University of Iowa, may request additional academic information from applicants who do not submit standardized test scores, such as transcripts or a personal statement.

2. Scholarships and Financial Aid Programs May Require SAT/ACT Scores

Scholarships and financial aid programs may require SAT/ACT scores, so taking the test could open up more opportunities for financial aid and make college more affordable.

Here are a few scholarship programs that require or consider SAT/ACT scores as part of their application process:

  • National Merit Scholarship Program (PSAT)

  • The Gates Scholarship

  • Dell Scholars Program

  • Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

  • QuestBridge National College Match Program

Schools that offer merit-based scholarships may also require SAT scores, even if they have a test-optional