On October 20th, Expert Admissions co-hosted a webinar, “Admissions & Testing in a Post-Pandemic World,” to discuss recent trends in college admissions. We answered questions about how test-optional policies have affected admissions, the future of standardized testing, college fit, and more. Keep reading for highlights from the conversation and watch the webinar here.
Standardized Testing: SAT or ACT?
Test-optional policies have been widely adopted during the pandemic. Although a few schools have already started to dial back their test-optional policies, most will likely remain test-optional. There are significant benefits not just to students, but to the colleges and universities as well. As we saw this past year, when schools go test-optional:
- Their average test scores increase (submitted scores are likely to be higher).
- They receive more applications.
- Their admit rates drop.
We reviewed data and statistics from schools that went test-optional last year. While many students were admitted without scores, the trend still seems to be that submitting scores is a significant benefit (when in the right range!). We also discussed how you can decide which test – SAT or ACT – is best for you and what you can do to raise your scores.
For more detailed information on the difference between the SAT and the ACT, read our recent guide here.
Students have more control over the testing and application process than they might think, especially because of self-reporting and superscoring. It’s worth checking the policy of each college you’re applying to, as you can use it to your advantage!
- Self-reporting on the Common App means that you don’t need to send official score reports until afteryou’re admitted – so you enter your test scores on your application.
- Superscoring is the practice of colleges considering the best scores on individual sections across test dates to come up with the highest Composite score (ACT) or total score (SAT).
The importance of demonstrating good college fit in your supplemental essays cannot be overstated. But students often struggle to do that really well. Even students who have visited and fallen in love with a college have a hard time with their supplemental essays. These essays need to be nuanced and personal.
So, it’s not enough to simply say that you have a set of interests and the school has a set of resources. That’s a match, but it doesn’t mean it’s a good fit. Think about why the school should admit you rather than another similarly qualified applicant with the same interests. You have to know what qualities the school is looking for in its applicants and show them in a discreet way that you have those qualities and share their values.
Learn more about demonstrating college fit by reading our advice on researching colleges (and yourself!).