Why is the ACT/SAT So Important?

Why is the SAT important? Why is the ACT important?

Flickr user Johannes Ahlmann

You hear about the ACT and SAT exams so much during your high school years that you may be wondering “What is the big deal?” However, the ACT/SAT are so important to your education, during high school and college, as well as potentially affecting your future career. Why is the SAT important? Why is the ACT important too?

Here are just three reasons why the ACT and SAT are such a big deal:

A Must For College Applications

It’s no secret that most college applications require you to submit your SAT or ACT score (or both if you choose to), making taking the exam an absolute must. In addition to it being a requirement, colleges and universities receive thousands of applications every year. Some schools receive over 75,000! The scores on the SAT and ACT allow them to narrow down the playing field and make decisions on acceptance.

This also makes your individual score extremely important. The schools that are receiving 75,000 applications don’t have time to read every document, transcript, or essay. A low score may automatically count against you.

Qualify for Scholarships

In addition to your college applications, your SAT and ACT scores can be used to apply to more scholarships. These are sometimes merit based scholarships, granted directly from your choice of college during the application process. Others may be from local, state, or regional programs where your grades, academic achievements, and score affect your eligibility.

You may also want to take the PSAT if you are a junior in high school. You are automatically entered into the scholarship program from National Merit to potentially be a National Merit Scholar, the hosts of the practice exam. Make sure to check scholarship databases and with your high school guidance counselor to see if there are any other awards you may qualify for with your SAT, PSAT, PreACT, or ACT score.

Goes Beyond the GPA

Sadly, after your first two years, it can be rather difficult to change or boost your GPA, especially if it was lower than you would have liked during your freshman and sophomore years. Even with good grades in the final years of high school, the damage may have been done and often, your senior year classes doesn’t have a factor into the GPA the colleges see.

Your ACT or SAT score offers you another opportunity to show the college or university how far you’ve come academically, even if your GPA is a little lower than expect or want. It’s your opportunity to show you can work under pressure, study hard, and perform well. This is a major reason why you should study and be prepared on test day.

Studying and taking the ACT or SAT exams can be an extremely daunting task. However, it’s good to remember that they are extremely important to your future. Your colleges will look to them during the early application process to see if you’re a strong fit at their school. If you feel you could improve upon the score after your first attempt, try to retake the exam after more practice. A high ACT or SAT score will pay you back!

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!

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