We tutor many students each year for the ACT and SAT and frequently advise parents and students on how to get the best results while fitting test preparation into the student’s life. We know standardized tests are an important piece of the college admissions process; however, so are grades, extra-curricular activities, essays, and (not to mention) the student’s social life and overall well-being. Therefore, we have to balance tutoring for standardized tests with everything else.
We have one important strategy that helps students work “smarter, not harder” when preparing for these tests. Pick ONE test.
Two common misconceptions are that colleges prefer either the SAT or ACT and that you have to take both tests. Neither is true!
We hear this so often that I recently told a parent that I would call two universities’ admissions offices, UCLA and UCSB, and ask them directly. I dialed up the universities, and both offices confirmed on the phone that there is no preference!
So, where does this misconception come from? In the past, many East Coast and West Coast schools accepted only the SAT, while Midwest schools preferred the ACT.
On January 25, 2007, Harvey Mudd was the last college in the United States to change their policy and accept both the ACT and SAT. Since then, every college in the United States accepts the ACT or SAT and has no preference as to which test is submitted.
This is why students should choose the test they do better on and prepare for only that one. While many students score the same on both tests, some students will score higher on one or the other and should take advantage of this!
So remember, which test do colleges prefer? The one with the higher score!
Not sure which test is best for your child? Contact us! We’re happy to provide free ACT and SAT diagnostics and recommend which test is a better fit.