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How Much Do SAT/ACT Scores REALLY Matter?

Update: The UC System (California Universities) just announced they could be scrapping the SAT/ACT requirement. This is more evidence that test scores no longer matter as much as the college essay. Colleges want to know who you are, not how you score on an exam. But SATs still matter at many schools, so check out the debate below...

(Hyperlinked text to The Atlantic article by Jeffrey Selingo.)

(Article by education writer Steve Cohen).

So. Who's right?

Both! ... Okay, how's that possible?

If you read the articles, The Atlantic is talking about top tier schools, who have more resources to pick through applications. They're not just looking for kids who can take tests, but kids who have a real passion, which will turn them into world leaders someday. That can only be found in an applicant's resume and essays (and interview, but that's less important. I'll post about that soon!)

The Forbes piece is talking about colleges in general. Their opinion is that more kids are applying to more schools, so understaffed admissions departments need to use scores to weed people out quickly.

They are both right. And we know The Atlantic isn't pulling our leg because they have quotes from Ivy League admissions officers, saying that scores aren't weighted as much these days. Some top colleges are doing away with SAT scores altogether.

The moral of the story?

First off, the college essay and your application as a whole matters most, since colleges want to know who you are and how you will fit into life on campus. But, there are some things to keep in mind about test scores...

If you're going for the top, focus your application on something that will make you a rockstar applicant. A leader. Nationally ranked. Clearly successful, passionate, and dedicated.

But if you're applying to your local state school, your focus might be more on test scores. Sorry!

But... there's a catch!!

... Most people applying to top schools have amazing SATs and ACTs anyway, so top schools can't use scores to narrow down the crowd. All the applicants look the same when you only look at their amazing scores. So, the sad, heartbreaking truth is... you need to take the test. For both the Ivy League and the mid-range schools, those scores are still important, it's just that other things, such as essays, have become extra important at top schools. Does that make sense?

So, how are you setting yourself apart? What's your "brand" as a student? How are you a leader, not a follower? Comment below or email me!


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