Plan for College
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Five Things To Know About Entrance Exams
Exam scores aren't everything to colleges
Colleges and universities use entrance exams as one way to determine whether you're college-ready, but not all schools require such tests. Find out your chosen college's policy regarding exams, and then consider the caveats offered below.
- Most four-year colleges do require entrance exams. Four-year schools want a more comprehensive picture of your academic potential, including your verbal, math, and critical thinking skills. The SAT or ACT can help fill in that picture.
- Entrance exams are just one thing colleges consider. Colleges consider an assortment of thing in the admissions process besides exams, including grades, letters of recommendation, the academic difficulty of your high school coursework, and any volunteer and extracurricular activities.
- You aren't just a test score. You also aren't just a grade or the recommendation letters you provide for a college application. These things are just measures of your abilities and preparation, and not you as a person.
- High scores can earn you scholarships for college. Score high enough on the PSAT and you qualify for the National Merit Scholar Program, which might earn you a scholarship, that is, money for college you don't have to pay back. Other scholarships use the SAT score as part of their eligibility criteria.
- You can connect to a college through the SAT or ACT. In completing the SAT or ACT, you have the option to allow colleges you're interested in know your score. Some schools use this information to reach out to students and invite them to apply.