If a college or university has a test-optional policy, they don’t require every student who applies to submit SAT or ACT scores.
This might make you wonder if taking the SAT is worth your time. Here are three reasons why it is.
- Most U.S. colleges still require SAT or ACT scores.
Every college accepts test scores, and if you don’t take a college entrance exam, you’re severely limiting where you can apply. Wouldn’t you rather take the SAT and find out your first-choice college doesn’t require test scores, than not take the SAT and find out that it does?
- You can qualify for scholarships.
You need a minimum SAT or ACT score to be eligible for many academic scholarships. And at some colleges, the only criteria for certain scholarships is a minimum SAT/ACT score and GPA. If you don’t take a college entrance exam, you take yourself out of the running for hundreds of thousands of dollars that could make college more affordable.
The College Board Opportunity Scholarships don’t even require a minimum SAT score to earn a shot at $1,000. You just need to take the SAT and get 100 points higher than you did on the PSAT/NMSQT or a previous SAT. Do that, and you’ll also be on your way to qualifying for a $40,000 scholarship.
- A high SAT score can offset a low GPA.
If you don’t take a college entrance exam, colleges will have less information about your academic performance. If you have a low GPA but do well on the SAT, you’re letting colleges know you have the potential to succeed in college-level classes.
To get your best SAT score, try Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy before you take the test. It’s free, it’s online, and research shows that just 6-8 hours of Official SAT Practice could lead to an average score increase of 90 points.
Even if you only apply to colleges that don’t require test scores, there’s no downside to taking the SAT. It gives you more opportunities to earn scholarships, and it’s a great way to show colleges what you know and what you can do.