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Do I Need to Take the SAT or ACT?

Many colleges require test scores but many are also going test-optional. One expert weighs in on whether or not you need to take standardized tests.

Silhouette of person sitting at desk with laptopRhiannon Schade
Director of College Counseling
Collegewise of Millburn

Short answer: probably. Most colleges do use standardized test scores (either the ACT or SAT) as part of their admission evaluation process. There are, however, 950+ colleges that are able to make decisions on their applicants without the use of test scores. You can find the list of test-optional and test-flexible colleges at fairtest.org. However, it is important to note that these schools vary greatly in the way they implement their test-optional and test-flexible policies, so be sure to check their admission requirements to make sure you know what is expected of applicants. For example, one thing to double-check is whether or not the test-optional colleges on your list award merit scholarships to applicants who do not send in test scores. If you would like to avoid taking the SAT or ACT altogether, it’s also worth considering that you may change your mind and want to apply to a school that does require scores. So you may want to take one of the tests just in case.

If you’re worried about your SAT or ACT scores, check out our article What Are Test–Optional Colleges All About? to learn more about your options.

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