Fall can be a stressful time for seniors.
This is the time of year for submitting college applications.
One of the many things that colleges require on their applications is an SAT or ACT score.
Although some colleges have recently made submitting standardized test scores optional, they are still few and far between.
The vast majority of colleges still require a score.
Most high school students take these tests in the spring of their junior year, but there is still time for seniors to take a fall test before the college application deadline.
There are two test dates in the fall ‒ the ACT on September 10 and the SAT on October 1.
There is also the option of taking the ACT on October 22, but that is cutting it close to the November 1 college application deadline.
Seniors might not get their results back before then.
In order to qualify for scholarships and honors, many colleges require their applications be submitted by November 1.
That can vary from college to college, so make sure to check the deadlines for all of the colleges you are applying for.
Some of the colleges that have the November 1 deadline are Indiana University, Purdue University, and Butler University.
This isn’t to say that after November 1, retaking a standardized test is impossible.
Many colleges will accept scores after submitting applications, and even after acceptance.
However, scores taken after this time will not affect whether a student is accepted or not, or help them earn scholarships, so it is still important to take these tests before submitting applications.
Omar Almakki, a senior, has a lot of experience with these tests.
He has taken the old SAT twice, the new SAT once, the ACT twice, and three SAT Subject Tests ‒‒ for a total of eight tests.
He took his first SAT in seventh grade and his first ACT in eighth grade.
He says that since his first test, his scores have had an 83 percent increase.
The key to success, he says, is to practice.
“It helps a lot more than one might expect,” Almakki said. “There's lots of resources online, and when one signs up for the test you can order practice books, which are really nice. It helps to prepare you when you see the kind of questions being prepared. Also, as always for any test, make sure you're well rested the night before.”
Almakki says he views the tests as a necessary evil.
He mentions that a student could have a 4.0 GPA, but had never taken any honors or AP classes.
On the other hand, a student with a 3.5 GPA could have taken all honors and AP classes, but based on GPA they are the “weaker student.”
“Although they suck to take, I think they are helpful for colleges to determine where one stands in comparison to every other student in the nation,” said Almakki.
On the other hand, Emma Smith, a senior, has only taken a standardized test once.
“I decided to only take the SAT because most of the colleges I have looked into only need either the SAT or the ACT,” Smith said. “I figured the SAT would be recognized more widely so I chose to take that over the ACT.”
She took the SAT in March and was satisfied enough with her score, so she decided not to retake it.
“Standardized testing is also fairly pricey,” said Smith.
The SAT costs $43, and with the essay portion it costs $54.50. The ACT costs $39.50, and with the essay portion it costs $56.50.
Registering for these tests late makes them even more expensive, and sending your scores to over three colleges costs money as well.
All in all, there is no certain number of tests that a senior must take ‒ it is totally up to them and what they feel comfortable with.
Just be sure to know what your college requires, and don’t let that application due date creep up on you.