Due to COVID-19, many ACT and SAT test dates have been canceled. In light of these cancelations, many colleges and universities, such as the University of California system, Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and Trinity University in Texas, have decided to make test scores an optional part of their applications. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still prepare and take them.
Why should you still take the ACT or SAT if some schools don’t require scores?
Because scores may be optional, submitting your test scores is a great way for you to shine. Preparing for and taking the ACT and SAT shows your dedication to the college application process, and, if your scores are solid, they will likely add to your overall application.
Additionally, schools benefit from seeing your scores because scores are the only standardized measure schools have to compare students. That’s not to say there aren’t other important components of the college application; indeed there are. However, as it pertains to academic aptitude, many universities still consider ACT and SAT scores to be a reliable comparative measure. What about GPA, you may ask? Grading is vastly different from school to school, even from teacher to teacher, so comparing GPAs is not always a fair comparison. As an example, some schools use a 95-100 scale for the letter grade A, whereas others use a 90-100 scale. A student’s GPA at a school that uses a 95-100 scale should not be compared to a student’s GPA at a school that uses a 90-100 scale because the measures used to determine GPA are vastly different.
On top of positioning yourself as a better candidate, taking the ACT and SAT also helps strengthen important skills that will serve you well in the long run. Test preparation helps you develop and improve problem solving, time management, and critical thinking skills. And, if your school year has been affected by the pandemic, you might benefit from the extra science, reading, math, and vocabulary practice.