There are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation out there about college applications and the SAT/ACT. I hear a lot of “I read this on the internet” or “My neighbor told me a story about her friend’s daughter” and on it goes. The misinformation spreads like a game of telephone adding even more confusion to a process that can already feel overwhelming at times. This leads into the story of how I saved a student from hours of prep work and saved her mom the expense that goes along with that investment.
I was talking to a parent last week that wanted to sign up for ACT prep. I was asking initial questions to get background information, understand her daughter’s needs, and help make a plan for her. During this conversation, I asked if her daughter had tried the SAT also or only the ACT. She said that she had and had done much better on the SAT but that the school to which she was applying required the ACT.
The prevailing myth: Schools prefer one test over the other.
This is no longer true but it continues to be shared from one parent to the next. Historically, east coast schools and California schools preferred the SAT and schools in the middle of the country and southern schools preferred the ACT. When I tell a parent that grew up in VA and attended a VA school that their child doesn’t have to take the SAT, the parent has a hard time believing me.
The truth: Schools accept the SAT or ACT for admissions.
To ease parents’ minds, I’ve called admissions offices at various colleges and, as the admissions officer at UVA said to me when asked if the school had a preference between the SAT and ACT, “No and I don’t know of any schools that still do have a preference.
Still don’t believe me?
Don’t take my word for it. Do the research for the colleges to which you plan to apply. Check the college’s website for Admissions Requirements. If you still can’t find the information you need, contact the admissions office. Getting the correct information from the source will put your mind at ease.
In the end, I helped the parent talk through the options and we decided that the student’s SAT score was already strong enough for her #1 school. Problem solved and the student was thrilled to find out that she would never have to take another SAT or ACT in her lifetime.
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