The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is the OG of college entrance exams. Alongside the ACT, the two have long been synonymous with successful college prep. If you don’t take and pass your SAT, then it’s believed that you have a very low chance of being accepted by the college of your choice.
However, that hasn’t been the case for some time.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were many test-optional schools, meaning that an SAT was not a requirement in order to apply or be accepted. In fact, there are many prestigious educational institutes such as Bates, Smith, and Berkeley that don’t actually require an SAT. UCLA made the SAT optional in 2021.
So does this answer the titular question? Can you get into college without taking the SAT?
Yes, you most certainly can. In fact, many students attend college and successfully graduate without taking the SAT. While there are some schools that may still have strict requirements, it’s becoming less and less common. However, that doesn’t mean that the SAT no longer serves a purpose. Instead, it’s quite the opposite.
For students that have been performing well on standardized tests throughout their academic life, the SAT test likely won’t be a tough challenge to overcome. This makes it a great option for improving your chances, essentially giving you extra credit that schools will consider. Even if a school doesn’t explicitly require you to have successfully passed a SAT, you can still use it to your advantage.
In fact, a new elite pathway has been established as a result of COVID. There are some schools that don’t officially require the SAT to be taken, but students are encouraged to send in their schools if they have taken it. Many of the students who are given this option have previously attended private boarding schools and elite institutions that were able to offer the SAT.
A good SAT score can also help students that have decided to take a different academic path. For instance, certain scholarships are only available to students that have taken the SAT and have received good results. While this provides students with more options, it does create issues with diversity and inclusion, which only adds to the SAT’s problematic history on this front.
Students that have access to SAT test preparation or the test itself are generally encouraged to take it. This coincides with many private schools offering preparatory assistance and resources. Unfortunately, larger public schools tend to face issues such as over scheduling, capacity problems, and even availability issues. This means that many students find the SAT to be a waste of time. So, in addition to many colleges dropping the SAT as an entry requirement, more and more students are starting to forgo the test.
So at the end of the day, while the SAT is becoming less of a requirement, its value as a secret weapon is increasing. Click here to take our free Bridge to College Survey to find the best way to leverage your SAT score, or navigate your path to college without one!