Why should I take the ACT/SAT?

It's important that TJ students take either the ACT or SAT to improve their college applications.

It’s important that TJ students take either the ACT or SAT to improve their college applications.

Jordan Kreft, Editor-in-Chief

There are a lot of things expected of high school students: passing classes, getting enough credits to graduate, state testing, and much more. However, the most notorious expectation is college admission tests such as the ACT and SAT.

The ACT and SAT are standardized tests used to measure college readiness in the United States. The ACT and SAT are very similar tests, the key difference being that the ACT includes a science section whereas the SAT does not.

ACT and SAT scores are extremely important when applying for college. The scores you receive overall and for individual subjects show colleges the potential you have.

Colleges and universities get thousands of applications, so they aren’t going to read every letter of recommendation or every essay. Instead, these scores show that you should go to their school and deserve to have your application thoroughly looked over.

“Admission tests apply a common standard to everyone,” a CollegeBoard article explained, “This helps collegesĀ evaluate and compare the preparation of students who go to different high schools.”

Admission tests are a crucial part of the college application process. However, at TJ, students aren’t required to take the ACT or SAT to graduate.

Despite this, it is highly encouraged that students do take at least one of the tests to give them an extra edge when applying to colleges.

This year is an interesting year for college applications as many universities have waived ACT and SAT scores due to COVID-19. Testing was canceled or postponed in many areas due to COVID-19 safety guidelines. In response to this, many universities waived ACT and SAT scores to make applications fair to the students who weren’t able to test.

“With many high schools closed or teaching remotely for the rest of the academic year,” explained a New York Times article, “a growing number of colleges and universities are waiving standardized test requirements amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

While ACT and SAT scores are optional for many universities, it is still important to take either test at least once.

As more students waive their tests, having these scores can make you stand out among other students. Students that waive testing will have to compensate with a stronger application.

“Many scholarships have an ACT component which means you have to have a specific score to qualify,” explained Mrs. Busch, TAG coordinator at TJ. “So, if you take the ACT your junior year you can see if your score qualifies for these scholarships. Hypothetically, if you needed a 25 and you had a 23, it’s really easy to go up two points, and then you can take it again your senior year to make those points.”

By testing, you have a strong backing to your application that many students won’t have. You won’t have to provide as much extra material as you provide test scores. You’re also able to apply for scholarships and aid that can drastically reduce your tuition. Overall, your application could be easier if you take the ACT or SAT.

While the decision is ultimately up to you, look into testing to see if it’s something you could benefit from. Even if you don’t do well, it doesn’t hurt to have scores backing you up to set you apart from other students.