According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (2015), grades – specifically grades in college preparation classes – are the most important factor in college acceptance. And despite a recent trend towards less rigid testing requirements, ACT and SAT test scores remain a highly-considered factor in the college acceptance decision.
That’s a lot of numbers. The key takeaway is that over half of colleges report that test scores on the ACT or SAT are of “considerable importance” in the admissions decision. Nearly 28% consider the test scores of “moderate importance.”
More competitive colleges will consider all or most of the above factors. At the most selective schools, impressive grades and high test scores are essentially boxes checked for the admission committee to spend time reading the students’ essays or letter of recommendation. The most selective schools also place consideration on a student’s first-generation status, race/ethnicity, and high school attended.
Moderately Selective Colleges
At moderately selective schools, test scores are considered a less heavily weighted part of the review. Essays, recommendations, and the interview may carry more weight, as these schools place greater emphasis on a more holistic, qualitative review of the applicant.
Large Public Universities
Many large public universities simplly don’t have time to give each application a thorough review and must place a heavier emphasis on numbers-based admissions. Consider that UCLA has over 100,000 applications, which requires that the admissions committee review ~1,500 applications per day.
Regardless of where students are applying, they’ll maximize their opportunities if they realize their full potential on standardized tests and submit ACT or SAT scores that make them competitive with others in the applicant pool. If you’re looking to achieve your best on the exams, check out Expert Tips to Master the ACT and SAT.
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