Is the SAT still as important as it used to be? If so, how?


Our counselors answered:

Is the SAT still as important as it used to be? If so, how?

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

It is not the number one ticket to college admissions

SAT is used alone with other accomplishments subjected to different applicant pools. SAT is also normally used for scholarships. the studen'ts GPA is the single most important evidence alone with the curriculum selection and challenges of the courses.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Is the SAT still as important as it used to be? If so, how?

The SAT (along with the ACT) is still pretty important when it comes to college admissions. However, there is a growing list of colleges (many of them highly selective) which are now test optional. "Test optional" means that they do not require students to submit their standardized test scores. For a list of schools which are currently test optional, go to Some of the most selective test optional schools include Bowdoin College and Smith College.

Megan Dorsey
SAT Prep & College Advisor College Prep LLC

For Most Students, It’s as Important as Ever!

In the 20 years I have worked in the field of test prep, I’ve frequently heard speculation that the SAT is going away. For good or bad, the SAT is still an important part of the college admission process. There are more selective schools (as opposed to open-admission schools) joining the test-optional movement every year. But unless your entire college list is made up of these institutions, your scores still matter for general college admission, admission to honors programs, and scholarship applications. For most students, SAT scores are still important, so take some steps to maximize your scores.

Helen Cella

Is the SAT still as important as it used to be? If so, how?

More and more schools are not requiring them

Jolyn Brand
Owner & CEO Brand College Consulting

Yes, test scores are still very important!

Especially in larger colleges, an applicant's test scores are still very crucial. If a student didn't do as well as he hoped for, some colleges will overlook that with a great GPA and overall well-rounded application (activities, community service, sports, etc). But, for most students, the higher those test scores, the better!

Nicholas Umphrey

SAT relevance

I have my own personal opinions about the SAT (and ACT for that matter) and what it measures and how it applies to college success. All assessments measure something and they provide data and numbers so that colleges can attempt to gauge a student's collegiate potential. However, there are exceptions to every rule. Almost all educators cannot get through college without learning about Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Theory. Gardner believes that eight abilities meet these criteria: Spatial, Linguistic, Logical-mathematical, Bodily-kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Naturalistic. I am a big believer in this theory and as a school counselor, I can apply these types to individual students. The SAT and ACT only measure a couple of these. They are, I will admit, important aptitudes to have when entering college. My issue with standardized tests is that it convinces kids they are not smart enough for college. For example, an artistic student may have great spatial and kinesthetic intelligence in creating art, but the SAT may convince them to forget about university and join the Navy. In essence, the SAT allows colleges to compare a student from Bangor, Maine with a student from San Diego, CA with hard data and numbers. However, if you look at these two hypothetical students one may have a 3.0 average and good recommendations, while the other may have a 2.0 and luke-warm recommendations. Guess which student admissions counselors will choose? The SAT measures potential, but grades and your established track record as a student and person will prove to be most crucial to your admission decision..

Rana Slosberg
Owner Slosberg College Solutions LLC

SAT importance

The SAT or ACT scores are generally a very important part of the application. However, they are not as important as they used to be because now over 850 four year colleges have gone test-optional. For a list of these colleges, see

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

The Importance of the SAT: What Does the Institution Need?

Nothing induces greater fear in the heart of a college applicant than the SATs and yet increasingly they are less about the applicant than they are about the school and its interests. The SAT has lost its primacy as its one time monopoly like status has faded as ACT has become increasingly popular and accepted. Too, the clear evidence that focused test preparation and courses can improve scores makes it less reliable as a predictor of college performance. Now more than ever before the value of the SAT lies in the way it can be marketed by schools as a testament to the strength of their student body. In the end while they remain a singular part of the process their true importance varies widely.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Is the SAT still as important as it used to be? If so, how?

The SAT is still required for admission to a number of schools. Depending on the institution, more or less weight may be given to your score. Research continues to demonstrate there are issues with standardized tests, that can't be ignored. For this reason, the list of test optional schools continues to grow (see At some schools, SAT scores may factor in to merit aid awards.

Annie Reznik
Counselor/CEO College Guidance Coach

Is the SAT still as important as it used to be? If so, how?

In some ways, the SAT is as important as ever. It still represents just one of two tools (ACT being the other) college admission offices can use to academically compare students from different high schools. The void created by the absence of any universality with regards to course offerings, requirements, and grading in high schools is still filled reasonably well through standardized tests. However, most colleges and universities conduct full-file, holistic review processes in which the SAT (or ACT) is just one factor among many in determining admission offers. One sign that points to the SAT's diminished value in the admissions landscape: an increasing number of schools enable students to opt out of submitting standardized test scores. Fair Test ( maintains a complete list of schools that have optional test score policies.