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SAT vs ACT: the beginning of the road to college

Posted: 4:38 PM, Sep 27, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-27 20:38:35Z

As high school juniors begin to start thinking about higher education, they may be wondering if they should be taking the SAT or the ACT.

According to Dean Reinhart, the Associate Director of Admissions at Buffalo State, and Meghan Bauer, Kaplan Test Prep Instructor, students should pick the test that they are the most comfortable with.

"Take the test, or take a practice test at least, and figure out which test works best for you, what you feel most comfortable with, and then put all of your energy into studying for that test," said Bauer.

Schools will accept either test as a measurement of the student's abilities.

"Both tests are tests that are supposed to evaluate a student and where they're at and how they're going to present themselves to colleges," said Reinhart.

Some colleges even let students mix and match scores from different tests. The application process can be intimidating, but, believe it or not, admissions offices are looking to give students their best chance at getting into their schools.

"We will use and utilize whichever score presents that student in the best light," said Reinhart. "We're in the business of trying to admit a student, until the student makes a case for us not to admit that."

Reinhart recommends taking both tests in the spring of the student's junior year, and then retaking the test they did better in during the fall semester of their senior year.

But Reinhart says not to worry too much about the test scores. Yes, they are important, but they are not the only deciding factors to admitting a student.

"Colleges have, in my opinion, recently shifted to where they're going to look at the high school work and how the student has done in that environment, how they've chosen to challenge themselves, the types of courses they've taken, the good college prep curriculum, how they've done in New York State on the regents exams, all of that comes into play," said Reinhart.

The emphasis on test scores has become less intensive over the years and colleges often debate whether or not to make SAT or ACT testing mandatory in the application process.

"I don't think we're ever going to see the elimination of those tests, because it's something that campuses have relied on for years, but I think the actual use of them may be diminished or may be improved as we start to get a better sense of what these test scores may look like," said Reinhart.

Good luck to all the students beginning their endeavors to college!