So, You Want to Take the SAT/ACT? What’s Next?

By Alex Vann

Yes, You Should Still Take the ACT/SAT

COVID-19 has created many unknowns for college-bound students, leaving some wondering if they should take the ACT/SAT to begin with. While it is true that a number of four-year institutions have announced that ACT/SAT-optional admissions will continue through fall 2022 (or even 2023), for most students, it’s still a good idea to take the ACT/SAT.  Here’s why:

In some instances, ACT/SAT scores can be used to replace class deficiencies on transcripts or even used instead of placement tests for community college. This is something of particular interest to students applying to University of California, who have stated that “UC will not consider SAT or ACT test scores when making admissions decisions or awarding scholarships. If you choose to submit test scores as part of your application, they may be used as an alternative method of fulfilling minimum requirements for eligibility or for course placement after you enroll.” And many schools, including UCs, accept the essay portion of the ACT/SAT to fulfill Entry-Level Writing requirements.  Even community colleges have these kinds of policies.  If you don’t pass a community college math placement test, you’ll be forced to take a prerequisite course. In that case, taking the ACT/SAT just may save you an entire semester of unnecessary work.

Also, many colleges and universities use ACT/SAT scores to award merit scholarships. And often private scholarships still require ACT/SAT scores as part of the application process. Why miss an opportunity to make college more affordable?

Lastly, not all colleges have waived the standardized testing requirement and we don’t know how long any college will maintain a temporary test-optional policy due to Covid-19. Freshmen and Sophomores should expect and plan on taking the ACT/SAT. And any student should work closely with their counselor to double-check the policies of each school on their college list.

To put it simply: If you decide to skip the ACT/SAT, you are limiting your options.

News and Updates

The ACT will now automatically calculate a “superscore” and report it to colleges.  A superscore is when the highest test scores in sections across multiple sittings are chosen to mix and match individual section scores. This yields a score higher than an ACT or SAT composite score.  In short, it’s a good thing for students who take the exams more than once.  While colleges ultimately have their own policy on superscores, they’ll now be receiving these scores regardless from the ACT.

Lots and lots of tests are still being cancelled.  Here in San Diego, CA, every single test date this month was cancelled. Ultimately, it’s up to the testing location to decide when it’s safe.  It’s their call.  And cancellations are often not immediately reported to the ACT or College Board. There can be lag. This creates frustrations for students, parents, and counselors. For ACT Special Testing, Fusion Academy can usually serve as a location. Unlike other testing centers, we are unlikely to cancel without notice and rescheduling is rather easy.  It’s important to keep your college and post-secondary counselor in the loop regarding your game plan for standardized testing.

Important Dates

Upcoming ACT Test Dates

  • October 23rd (October 1st Late Deadline)
  • December 11th (November 19th Late Deadline)

Upcoming SAT Test Dates

  • October 2nd (September 21st Late Deadline)
  • November 6th (October 26th Late Deadline)
  • December 4th (November 23rd Late Deadline)

How to Sign Up

The sign-up process for both the ACT and SAT is straightforward.  For the ACT, you want to create an account and follow the directions to select a location for one of the available dates.  For the SAT, it’s a similar sign-up process, except you must create an account with College Board.  For students who are diagnosed with a learning difference, and may be eligible for accommodations, you can find more information on the ACT’s accommodations page or the SAT’s students with disabilities page.  Contact your local Fusion about having your student take the ACT with accommodations on campus. And feel free to reach out to one of Fusion’s college and post-secondary counselors for more information on signing up for the ACT or SAT.

Preparing for the Test

It goes without saying that students benefit greatly from ACT and SAT test preparation.  Fusion Academy offers comprehensive tutoring with our teachers/mentors in a one-on-one setting.  This can be a game-changer for student success.  You can find more information about our test prep services here.

About the Author

Regional College and Post-Secondary Counselor

Southern California Region

Alex Vann is the Regional College and Post-Secondary Counselor for the Southern California Region.

Alex Vann began working in education after earning his bachelor’s degree in History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has over ten years of teaching experience, with a background in Special Education and supporting students with emotional, academic, and behavioral challenges. Alex taught English and History alongside being a Post-Secondary Counselor at Fusion Academy Solana Beach for seven years. As Regional College and Post-Secondary Counselor for the Southern California Region, Alex helps guide students and families through the college selection and application process with an understanding that success is defined differently for each student. As a San Diego native, Alex enjoys bodyboarding and relaxing at the beach with his wife and daughter.