The SAT/ACT have been vital parts of college applications for decades, and educators are understandably concerned about making certain their students are ready to take them. Programs such as the SAT School Day have become valuable resources for schools preparing their students for the college application process. However, with classroom time a precious resource, and changes and confusion surrounding the testing and application process, many educators wonder if they should still be preparing their students for the SAT/ACT at all.


In recent years, many colleges, both state and private, have been shifting to what’s known as a test-optional application system. Under this system, while students are welcome to take the SAT/ACT, and their scores will be considered, this is not a necessary part of the application. In addition, the College Board has made many changes to the testing process in recent years, most recently by eliminating the essay portion of the SAT, and the SAT II subject tests. So, in light of this, should schools be preparing students for the SAT/ACT?



While many schools have shifted to the test-optional model, the fact remains that the majority of colleges still require an SAT/ACT score with every application. Furthermore, many lucrative scholarship options are based on SAT/ACT scores, regardless of colleges’ test-optional policies. By preparing students for the SAT/ACT, schools allow them to apply to the broadest possible range of potential colleges and scholarship programs—test-optional or not.


As mentioned above, there have been many changes to the SAT/ACT testing process over the past few years. As schools work to keep up with them, and provide the most up-to-date test prep, remember that students are also working to prepare in the most accurate way possible. Preparation from their school, from educators who have been tracking the changes and alterations in the test process, can make the difference in ensuring that they walk into test day ready for the version of the test that will be set in front of them.


Even in the case of students who do apply to test-optional schools, taking the SAT/ACT can still be a good idea. In fact, it can only help them. While students who are unhappy with their test scores don’t have to submit them in a test-optional application, students who get a score they like are more than welcome to include it in their application. This provides the college with one more favorable aspect to the application, which can only work in the applicant’s favor. Preparing students for the SAT/ACT, even if they’re only interested in test-optional colleges, is giving them one more way to make a favorable impression on their school of choice.

The changes to the testing and application process over recent years do not negate the need for educators to prepare their students for the SAT/ACT—quite the opposite. In a rapidly changing, complex testing and application system that can often leave students confused, schools preparing students for the SAT/ACT is more important than ever.

Speak to our Institutional Partners Team to learn more about how we can bring highly effective SAT/ACT test prep programs to your school!