To get straight to the point, they don’t matter. That’s the short answer.
I’m serious. The SAT/ACT scores do NOT matter.
The slightly longer answer is it depends.
Sometimes yes, but mostly no.
The purpose of the SAT/ACT is to predict your successfulness in college. The problem with these standardized tests is that they do not do that. Your test scores are a poor indicator of how well you will do in college. They indicate how well you can take a test.
When (or if) you take this test, keep in mind that as soon as you get on campus (or get your acceptance letter) no one will ever ask you again about the test.
Yea, that’s right. Nobody cares. Honest to goodness, nobody cares. If you don’t believe me ask your parents or any adult who has been through college. Ask them when was the last time someone asked them about the SATs/ACTs.
That’s the short answer. The slightly longer answer is it depends on what school you go to and I’m not talking about college and universities.
I’m talking about which high school you attend.
If you attend a high school with more resources, your score matters less and less. If you take challenging courses like Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or dual credit classes, you score matters even less. If you are in the top 10% and get excellent grades on a regular basis…you can basically dismiss the importance of the test.
If you are involved in the community, do extracurriculars like Science Fair, Whiz Kids, Academic Decathlon, Speech and Debate, athletics, Boy/Girl Scouts, or anything else to show that you can balance school and other responsibilities like a part-time job, your score does not matter.
Some of you might be wondering about scholarships. It’s true that doing well on the ACT/SAT can increase your likelihood of earning financial aid from your score, but take it from a woman who has earned $80,000 in scholarship, there are many ways to earn scholarships and financial aid which I have covered in detail here, here, here, here and here. (By the way, none of my scholarships came from the SAT/ACT.) If you have any more questions about scholarships you can ask them here or in the comments section.
So yes, SAT/ACT don’t matter if you fit into these categories, but what if you don’t? What if you don’t go to a school like this and don’t fit the profile? That’s the kicker. These scores may matter more for you. They’ll play a larger role in your ability to earn admission to a college or university.
There are high schools that simply do not have as many financial resources to offer students as many opportunities. If you attend a school with more limited resources, then your scores will most likely play a significant part in your ability to earn admittance.
It’s not fair, but it’s true.
Regardless of what high school you attend, to bolster your application, you need to show college admission personnel that you are a well-rounded individual. You need to prove why you’re worthy of acceptance. It’s not just about grades. Extracurricular hobbies and community service are involved as well. Colleges are looking for the full package.
So do the SAT/ACT matter? What’s the final verdict?
It still depends on the school you go to and how well-rounded you are as a student.
For me, no. They did not. I used a good old fashion SAT/ACT study prep book I bought at Half Price Bookstore and took the test one time. (I also would not encourage anyone to spend thousands of dollars on prep classes regardless of what school you attend.)
For others, these scores may be crucial. For you, it’ll probably be a balance of many factors.
Regardless if you are planning on taking this test, I encourage you to take it seriously and do your best. If you’re going to invest time and money to take a test then do your best. You do not have to spend a fortune on private lessons and classes. Like I said before, a good old fashion (used) SAT/ACT prep book from Half Priced Bookstores works just as well. Put your all into it so that you know without a shadow of a doubt that you tried your best and can be satisfied with any score you earn.
If you still need more help addressing any anxiety when it comes to these test, feel free to reach out here. If you’re worried about college stuff in general, I can help you figure that out too. Don’t let the SAT/ACT stress you out. They’re not worth it.
Pro tip: If you hate the idea of taking that test then do a semester (summer, fall or spring) at a community college and transfer the following semester. If you’re a transfer student, you don’t have to take the test. Plus community colleges are great! I personally attended Collin Community College the summer before I started at the University of Houston. It was a good call. You can check out the community college sampler here.
What was your experience taking the SAT/ACT? Was it worth it? Share your experience in the comments section! If you need more help figuring the whole college thing out, reach out to me here!