The majority of admissions officers still count SAT or ACT scores as an important part of evaluating candidates for colleges— but this long-term trend may be starting to change.

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) annually asks admissions officers to rate the relative importance of various parts of students’ records, including counselors’ recommendations, test scores, courses they took, and class rank. In the 2018 survey, 83.1 percent of admissions officers reported that SAT/ACT scores are of “considerable or moderate importance.”

That percentage is high enough that most students considering college still opt to at least one of the tests. For the graduating class of 2018, 2.1 million students took the SAT— an all-time high for the test— while 1.9 million students took the ACT.

Yet the importance of the tests in admissions decision seems to be on a downward trend. Since 2016, there’s been a five-point drop in the percentage of institutions that consider the ACT or SAT test scores of incoming freshmen to carry such importance— from 88% in 2016 to 83% in 2018. And more admissions officers are ranking those tests as carrying “little or no importance”— from 11.8% in 2016 to 16.8% in 2018.

Many families are still opting for college-bound students to take either the SAT or ACT test as part of their college application. Customized tutoring can help, which is why Back to Basics Learning Dynamics offers admissions test preparation packages for both the SAT and ACT that are carefully and individually designed around the needs of each student. Learn more about our test preparation packages here.

But it’s important for students and families to consider that admissions test scores are far from the only important criteria that colleges use to select qualified students. For instance, according to that same NACAC survey, the percentage of colleges attributing “considerable importance” to grades in all courses has jumped from 52 percent in 2007 to 81 percent in 2017!  Back to Basics can also help with 1-on-1 tutoring to help students improve their grades in over 60 subjects. Learn more about our 1-on-1 tutoring services here.

Other factors such as extracurricular activities, demonstrated interest, and the high school’s overall strength of curriculum also play important roles. And as the importance of test scores seems to be shifting downwards, student projects and portfolios may be on the rise.

If you’re interested in learning more about colleges that are re-considering the importance of admissions test scores, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing keeps a list of over 1000 accredited colleges and universities that are test optional, test flexible, or otherwise make admissions decisions without using SAT or ACT scores. Money Magazine recently ranked ten of those top test-optional colleges, and some outstanding colleges are on the list.

Back to Basics is the only call you need to make for 1-on-1 SAT or ACT tutoring. Our in-demand, experienced tutors will provide a completely customized approach focusing on the specific needs of each student.  Students will build and strengthen their knowledge, reduce anxiety, and increase confidence every step of the way towards pursuing their college goals. Contact us today to get started.

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