How to Get into College Without Ever Taking a SAT Exam

The debate about SAT exams as a gauge of aptitude has been raging. The list of colleges and universities dropping the admissions requirement of this particular exam continues to grow longer each year.

Also, the number of prospective applicants that are treating the testing process as an optional exercise is expanding. What alternatives exist for students who choose to opt out of the SAT?

Find a college Without SAT Requirements

The application requirements for college admissions are far more extensive than just the SAT. The list may include other items, such as:

  • Official application
  • Personal essay
  • Teacher recommendations

Each college has its own set of requirements and procedures. In fact, some don’t require submission of a SAT score. The number of these colleges is indeed growing. Some colleges completely ignore the exam scores totally and others use the score for course placement purposes.

What California Colleges Do NOT Require SAT Exams?

Whether a school does or does not require an SAT exam is not an indication of the school’s prestige or quality.  With that said, it is advisable that if you choose not to submit an SAT score with your application, ensure that the rest of your application is very strong.

Take an Alternative Standardized Test

The SAT may be the most well known standardized exam, but it is certainly not the only one. Many colleges also accept the ACT in place of or as well as the SAT. Some colleges do not have a preference as to which test a student must submit. A student can, therefore, take the ACT and submit the score in place of the SAT exam.

Fact: Students who excel in Math, Science, English, and Reading will find the ACT more manageable as compared to the SAT. The two exams are quite different, while the SAT is designed to test your verbal and reasoning aptitude, the ACT tests your achievement in core high school subjects.

Start at a Community College

Most community colleges do not require SAT or ACT scores, but they have students take a placement test in math and English. Attending a community college places students on a ‘2+2’ plan: two years at community college and then transfer to a four-year school. This route is beneficial for several reasons: avoiding test scores, saving money, and improving a student’s academic record. Enrolling in a community college can enable a student to improve their overall GPA, consequently giving them more options for the four-year college.  The vast majority of community colleges have partnerships with states schools that make it easy to make the switch.

Compensate with Other Strengths

If you decide not to submit your SAT scores, you will need to prove yourself in other ways. For instance, achieving excellent grades in challenging high school classes is crucial. Many test-optional schools may also ask for:

  • Graded papers
  • Additional essays
  • Interviews with admission officers
  • A strong academic essay
  • Letters of recommendation
  • A clear demonstration of interest

Remember even without the test scores, colleges will only admit those students who they think will succeed academically. You must make up for the absence of the SAT.

A recent article on ABC news, ‘Do SAT Scores Really Predict Success?’ showed that “the correlation between SAT scores and first-year college grades is not overwhelming and that only 10-20% of the variation in first-year GPA is explained by SAT scores”.

Do not allow low SAT scores derail your quest for a college education. More studies indicate that students who earn top SAT scores do not necessarily perform better when they enroll in college. Visit California College Bound for more information on college education.

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