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    SAT or ACT? How About Neither?

    Posted November 2, 2023, 10:00 am by BeMo

    Should you take the SAT or ACT? We at BeMo say that you should take neither. You can avoid taking these ridiculous and outdated standardized tests. Not writing the SAT or ACT will not hurt your college acceptance chances if you approach your applications right – and we will teach you how to do just that!

    Why Should You Still Take the SAT or ACT?

    There are only 2 reasons why you may still consider undergoing these torturous tests: 

    One of the reasons you might still plan to take the SAT or ACT may be that your top-choice college requires one of the test scores. Firstly, most prestigious colleges in the world like Harvard and Princeton have finally come to the realization that standardized tests are stupid. They are not indicative of anything but your ability to sit through a really long test. They do not assess the most important qualities in a student, like intrinsic motivation, curiosity, and potential. So, if you are thinking of writing the SAT or the ACT because your top-choice college still lists this as a requirement – reach out to them. Ask them if this is a non-negotiable requirement. 

    Obviously, do not reach out in a way that makes the admissions think you just want to skip the test. Reach out and demonstrate that you have worthy accomplishments and skills that will outweigh even the perfect SAT or ACT score. For example, if you have a great GPA, then inquire if your grades will be enough to showcase your academic abilities. Or if you completed IB or AP courses, ask if these will be enough to demonstrate your academic preparedness. Most colleges will gladly accept these as proof of academic achievement instead.

    Another reason you might consider taking the SAT or ACT is that you want to make sure that you are the perfect candidate and you check off all the boxes. I totally understand you – it’s one of these situations where you just do not want any reasons for an admissions committee to remove you from the applicant pool.

    Why You Should Consider Skipping the SAT or ACT

    But we got to tell you that this approach to college applications only sets you back. We totally understand your desire to be a good little student who follows all the rules, but you will not get far with this mindset. Just think about this: millions of students write the SAT or ACT and get good scores. So if you write the SAT or ACT and get a good score, you’ll just be another student with a good score. It will not help you stand out, it will not showcase your originality and uniqueness. You will simply be “following the rules” for the sake of following rules. 

    But you know the #1 rule of admissions, right? You have to stand out. SAT and ACT, even with a perfect score, do not make you stand out. Especially, when you apply to colleges that make these tests optional. Just put yourself in the shoes of an admissions officer. Will you remember someone with a really high SAT score or someone who does stand-up comedy  or someone who writes an extraordinary college admissions essay in poetry format?

    You need to think outside of the box when you apply to college. Especially Ivy Leagues and other prestigious programs. Nobody is impressed with high SATs or ACT scores anymore. You need to be memorable and unique. 

    How You Can Make Your College Application Stand Out

    Instead of wasting time and effort and money on SAT and ACT prep, spend your time on making sure that you are a unique and memorable applicant. There are many ways to do this and your approach will depend on your skills and experiences. But here are some of the ways to stand out in a college application that will greatly outweigh taking the SAT or the ACT:

    The first approach is to participate in an extracurricular that will blow away the competition. Now, don’t go thinking that you have to solve world hunger to stand. Dedicate your time to a cause or an activity that truly matters to you. It does not have to be prestigious or “trendy”. The point is to show excellence, dedication, and growth in the activity you choose, whether it’s a sport, dance, or knitting.

    You might be wondering how knitting can blow away the competition? Just consider the patience, the manual dexterity, and the attention to detail knitting requires. Or if you choose to sell your knitting, you can showcase your entrepreneurial spirit in your college. The possibilities are endless, really. The point is that instead of wasting time on SAT or ACT, use this time to achieve excellence in something you love to do. This will make you stand out, not a high SAT score. 

    If You Skip the SAT or ACT, Make Your College Essay Shine!

    Another way to stand out in college applications and avoid the SAT or ACT is to prepare admissions essays that totally surprise and wow the reader. Now, your experiences and achievements matter, but your essays are not just about which experiences and accomplishments you have got under your belt, it’s about how you tell your story. 

    By reading your essay, the reader should really get to know you and want to meet you. After reading your essay, the admissions committee should want to invite you to a college interview, if these are hosted. How do you achieve this? Dare to be different! If your school essay prompts do not require strict structure, consider writing your essay in verse. Many schools actually encourage creativity, such as Stanford University, who asks you to write a letter to your future roommate – use this opportunity to really come alive on paper! 

    There are other ways you can avoid writing the SAT or the ACT and get accepted to your top choice college, such as really strong recommendation letters or activities sections. I think you now see that avoiding these tests actually plays to your favor – you can dedicate your time and effort to more honorable activities that will help you get in. So save yourself time, stress, and money by avoiding these tests altogether. 

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    BeMo is one of the most sought-after academic consulting firms in the world famous for helping applicants with admissions to highly competitive programs and its staunch advocacy for fair admissions.