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Why SAT/ACT Test Prep May Still Matter for "Test-Optional" Colleges

Both students and parents have heard since COVID appeared in 2019 that many colleges and universities are saying that “applications are test-optional,” i.e., SAT or ACT test scores are not required to apply to a college or university. However, we believe that this statement does not reveal the whole picture.

Pat Whitehouse is an Educational Consultant. Pat is degreed in math and English and has taught both in public and private high schools for about seventeen years. In 1986, she left teaching in the classroom and started her tutorial service. In 1988, she created her SAT Prep Course.

The course is five, two-hour sessions, covering both math and English. In the past 34 years, Pat has prepped over 2500 students for the SAT/ACT and has had students attend major universities from the east coast to the west coast, many earning major scholarships.

Because of the “test-optional” ruling, the increase in applications to major universities has been phenomenal. Pat believes that if an admissions officer had two applications in front of him or her, and that both applications had similar GPA's, course content, extra-curricular and leadership activities listed, the application with an added SAT/ACT score would certainly be seen as more complete. Another valid reason for taking a test was to be able to post the scores on a scholarship application, which many scholarships require. Many programs at esteemed universities also require SAT/ACT scores. Also, sports programs often require an ACT/SAT score to participate in the sport.

​Almost every day one might be able to pick up a newspaper, look at the Wall Street Journal, or look onto a Google site and read an article stating that many universities/colleges are going back to requiring scores on applications. To parents and students, Pat strongly encourages prepping and taking an ACT/SAT test sometime in the summer before the junior year or by spring of the junior year because most early applications start at the first of the senior year.

Contact Pat Whitehouse:



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