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What you should know about the SAT/ACT Posted on:Wednesday, November 14th, 2012


For those of you fretting over the SAT’s and ACT’s right now I wanted to offer you a more comforting perspective.  Yes, these tests are generally required among most universities and it is important for you to be prepared and confident going into them, but research shows that the SAT is not the best predictor of success in a student’s freshman year of college, and admissions counselors are well aware of this.

The leading indicator of success in college is high school GPA and the academic rigor of a student’s coursework.  To be exact, research found that the SAT only predicts between 3 and 15% of freshmen year grades, so if that’s the case than why all of the hype over the SAT’s anyway?  Especially when you consider that overall SAT scores for students have drastically declined since 2006, most notably in the reading section.  College Boards most recent report showed that only 57% of test takers scored high enough to indicate success in college. This means that roughly 40% of students today are not prepared to enter college, which begs an entirely different discussion.

As a rule, the SAT’s serve as a general measure of what students should know nationwide as there are some obvious differences in academic rigor of schools.  But here’s something you may not know.  Part of the hype of the SAT’s and ACT’s is inextricably tied to college ranking.  Many colleges will purchase lists from College Board of students with high scores on the SAT’s, which they will then use for aggressive marketing tactics. This allows schools to target high-performing students to maintain rankings, but it also helps in another way.  The more students who apply to a college, who can then be rejected, the higher the school’s ranking.

So as we approach the final test date of the year, like I said, study your pants off.  I’ve even listed some links below that can help you.  But remember, the SAT’s exist to serve multiple purposes, and chances are it will not be the absolute deal breaker for you as far as getting into college.  Be sure that your academic course work and GPA are solid, and that you have a killer personal statement to add dimension to your application, and you should be fine.

If you’re still worried, check out the list below of schools who have opted out of the SAT—meaning they do not require the SAT or ACT for admissions.  I provide a full list in my book.  Please note, that Cal States are listed, but you must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order for the SAT requirement to be waived.

AlabamaStateUniversity AlbanyStateUniversity(GA)
AlbertusMagnusCollege(CT) AlbionCollege(MI)
AllenUniversity(SC) AntiochCollege(OH)
ArkansasBaptistCollege ArtCenterCollegeof Design (CA)
AtlanticUnionCollege(MA) AustinPeayStateUniversity(TN)
BakerCollegeofFlint(MI) BardCollege(NY)
Bates College (ME) BellevueUniversity(NE)
Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (MA) BenningtonCollege(VT)
BerkleeCollegeof Music (MA) BethanyCollege(CA)
Black HillsStateUniversity(SD) BostonArchitectural College
Boston Conservatory BowdoinCollege(ME)
Brigham Young University–Hawaii BurlingtonCollege(VT)
CaliforniaCollegeof the Arts California Institute of the Arts
CaliforniaStateUniversity–EastBay CaliforniaStateUniversity–Los Angeles
California State University–Sacramento California State University–San Marcos
California State University–Stanislaus CalumetCollegeofSt. Joseph(IN)
CazenoviaCollege(NY) ChadronStateCollege (NE)


Helpful SAT Prep Links:






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