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Are Test Scores Still Important College Admission Requirements?

By Peterson's Staff updated on Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Admission committees use your SAT and ACT scores in conjunction with other college admission requirements to determine whether you're a good fit for their campus. Just how much your scores matter to admissions officers depends on the school but you can be sure that even if your scores aren't the deciding factor, they are an important piece of the college admission process.

Your grades are key college admission requirements

If you've already looked into college admissions requirements, you've probably already noted that your test scores aren't the sole criteria used to determine your acceptance. (However, they are important to the schools that require them.) Approximately 78 percent of schools consider standardized test scores to be considerably important but they evaluate them in conjunction with your transcripts.

Demonstrated success in advanced placement and honors classes in addition to good test scores tell admission officers that your overall ability to achieve is excellent. If there are noticeable discrepancies between your scores and your grades, it may give cause to the admission committee to examine your history more closely.

Factors such as a perceived "senior slump" or inconsistent grades may make it appear that you didn't work hard over the long haul and that is definitely not the impression that you want to send in the college admissions process! If you're a student with high test scores but low grades or a weak curriculum, you may not find it easy to get into a selective college.

Test scores still important in college admission process

Your scores aren't generally the only deciding factor for getting in, but they do matter more to some colleges than others. The National Association for College Admission Counseling found that larger institutions tend to consider test scores more intently, while small exclusive schools are likely to place equal importance on all aspects of your application, including the scores. There are a few schools that have begun to place less emphasis on test scores, but this isn't the case for the majority of schools.

The SAT and the ACT still remain important variables in the vast majority of college applications so you should continue to take them seriously. Keep that in mind when seeking college admissions assistance; preparing for and doing will on those tests may be a great help. One thing is certain, though — the most selective schools will emphasize your test scores while many two-year and non-selective schools won't.

Other important college admission requirements

Obviously, test scores and grades seem to be the most prominent aspect of your college application. There are a few other college admissions requirements that schools look at to help make a decision, particularly if they're on the fence. Your class rank (which isn't even calculated at roughly 60 percent of high schools), interviews, essays, and recommendation letters are all players and have some influence on the outcome of your college admissions process. You never know which aspects of you or your application will tip the scales in your favor, so you should put your best effort into all of them.

About the Author

Peterson's has more than 40 years of experience in higher education, and the expert staff members here are all ready to leverage their considerable knowledge and experience to help you succeed on your educational journey. We have the information, the know-how, and the tools -- now all we need is you!

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