GO THE EXTRA MILE AND TAKE THE SAT/ACT

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Photo: Novartis AG/Flickr

Photo: Novartis AG/Flickr

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Photo: Novartis AG/Flickr

Photo: Novartis AG/Flickr

ATTENTION: college freshman, you now have a major relief! You do not have to study for the SAT/ACT and be stressed out over making the college you want to go to. You are now in college after all of your hard work in high school, congratulations!

For high school students to apply to most colleges, they would have to take the SAT and ACT in order for the application to be completed. According to the Farmingdale Observer, starting in the spring of 2016, the College Board will introduce a redesign SAT exam in order to help students do well on the test. The major changes include using relevant words in context, focusing more on math that matters most and no penalty for wrong answers. The SAT however still occupies most of your day unlike taking the ACT where it only takes five hours. According to Newsday, over 800 colleges in the nation have the SAT and ACT optional to apply to their college which leads to the student deciding whether or not to take the test.

“Applying to college is similar to creating a puzzle,” said Karen Vahey, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. “The more pieces of the puzzle you submit, the greater the picture of who you are emerges in the eyes of the admission committee. Test scores are just one of many pieces to a puzzle.”

“When students don’t want to take the SAT/ACT I like to reinforce that the test can only help them,” said Mrs. Erin Royce, director of the guidance department at St. Dominic’s high school in Oyster Bay. “If they do well, they have the option of sending their scores to the schools they are applying to as an excellent representation of themselves. If they take the tests and do not do well, then they simply don’t send their scores and apply to test-optional schools. In other words, why not try!”

Encouraging students to try is easier said than done. In high school, there is always a percentage of students who want to take the test and students that do not. From an admissions standpoint, it is there job to encourage students to take the test because it will show that they will go the extra mile in not only applying to college but in life as well.

“Before my arrival at NYIT, I served as the Director of Enrollment at Sarah Lawrence College which is a test-optional school,” said Vahey. “For us at Sarah Lawrence, being test-optional spoke to our pedagogy – we valued what we called, ‘conference work,’ the culmination of a semester of research and writing, rather than mid-terms and final exams. So it made sense to allow students to supplement their application for admission with essays and research papers rather than test scores. What I found interesting was that half of our applicants at Sarah Lawrence still chose to submit their test results. They were proud of their scores, and felt the results would complement the other pieces of their application for admission.”

With 800 colleges in the nation declaring the test optional, will NYIT make it 801?

“At this time, we will continue to require SAT or ACT scores from our applicants for undergraduate admission,” said Vahey.

In 2016, we may see some changes at NYIT regarding the admissions game. In terms of a college standpoint, acceptance rates may increase because taking away the pressure of the SAT/ACT allows a student to fully concentrate on their school work and not let one test determine the rest of their lives.

“I believe that more colleges will go test optional and that students will have to rely more on curriculum based tests such as SAT subject tests and AP exams,” said Royce.

However, change is in the air and who knows what college is going to next join the list. Recently, according to Newsday, Hofstra University is allowing the SAT/ACT optional to apply to the college which was a two year process.

“Test-optional is nothing new in admissions – the practice has been in place for more than a decade at some institutions,” said Vahey. “College-bound students still need to do their due diligence to find the school that is the right fit for them.”

“I am not sure if any of us in admissions have found the, ‘secret sauce’ in terms of the methods we use to review applications. I am sure that we, as professionals, are committed to finding students who are the best fit for our respective institutions.”

Until they find out the, “secret sauce,” it is important for students to still study hard for these tests because it is important to show more to the college that you want to attend. When you go the extra mile in your studies, you will see a light at the end of the tunnel knowing that you have done well. Don’t be a follower and not take the test, be a leader, take the test and secure your future.

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