COllege Admissions News and ACT / SAT Strategy

Stay current with the latest undergraduate college admissions news and proven ACT and Digital SAT strategies.

Posts about ACT:

End of Test Optional Part 2: Stanford to require ACT or SAT for Fall 2025 applicants

Earlier this spring, we at MyGuru declared that test optional college admission policies were coming to an end for high school students applying to top American universities. As part of the upcoming 2024-25 application cycle beginning this fall, most of the Ivy League and a notable number of elite universities across the United States are once again requiring an ACT or SAT score. Now, Stanford has quietly announced (in a classic Friday news dump) that it too will be reinstating a standardized testing requirement for undergraduate applicants, but beginning in 2025, making this the final test optional application cycle for the Cardinal. This particular decision is important for two reasons:

  1. It pushes the timeframe for application policy changes back a year
  2. It puts Stanford in direct opposition to its California public university rivals

Digital ACT vs. In-Person ACT: Which Is Better?

Since 1959, the ACT has helped high school students demonstrate college readiness and qualify for scholarships. But in February 2024, ACT (which is also the name of the organization that designs and administers the exam) launched its biggest change in years: offering a digital version of the ACT as an optional alternative to the classic pencil and paper exam format.

End of Optional ACTs & SATs

With Harvard and Caltech joining the ranks of selective colleges and universities requiring a standardized test once again as part of the 2024-25 application cycle, MyGuru is more than comfortable asserting that all high schoolers planning to attend college should once again plan to take either the ACT or SAT. While many applicants will see this as a negative (who wants to take a test on a weekend, right!?), this return to standardized testing requirements has been supported by each of the institutions reinstating the exams with data illustrating that test optional policies have actually harmed the at-risk and lower income students that they purportedly were intended to help.

Should I Submit ACT or SAT Scores to Test-Optional Schools?

 If you’re planning to apply to college in the near-future, you’re probably thinking a lot about the SAT and/or the ACT, the two standardized tests colleges have been using to make admissions decisions for generations. And yet, for this current generation of students, the college admissions landscape has a new feature: the ability to apply test-optional. More and more colleges and universities are offering students the option of not submitting either SAT or ACT scores as part of their admissions materials.

SAT/ACT English: A Common Language

writing.jpgAs the ACT has come into its own over the past 10-20 years as a fully recognized college admissions test alongside the SAT, students increasingly weigh both of these exams to assess which one may be better suited for them, sometimes opting for both.  Preferences (and rumors) abound, of course: “There are too many trick questions on the SAT math!” or “I'd take the ACT, but the science section is a deal-breaker!”  While these sentiments may (or may not) be true, depending on the student, what's certainly true is that they contribute heavily towards apprehension over which test to take!  There is, however, one section that is nearly identical on each test, and offers a way to kill two birds with one stone in your college admission exam prep.  That's the grammar/rhetoric section, referred to as the “English” section in the ACT, and the “Writing and Language” section on the SAT. CollegeXpress offers an in-depth analysis of the similarities and differences between the two tests.

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