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Not Loving Your SAT Score? Regroup and Consider the ACT

Earning admission to college is more competitive than ever; therefore, don't let a disappointing performance on the SAT slow you down.

Many high school juniors in the Baltimore area must think it’s pretty ironic that Valentine’s Day, a day that is supposed to be filled with warmth and love, is the same day that the College Board releases SAT scores for students who took the dreaded test in January.

Upon logging in and reviewing their scores, a good number of juniors will feel anything but love and warmth. Cold, hard anger is more like it. It’s not unusual for students who try their best in school, take advanced classes, and earn reasonably strong grades to still find themselves outmatched by the SAT. In fact, the SAT has confounded generations of young adults at a time when the stakes couldn’t be higher: the point at which students are about to apply to college.

Yet, the results one earns on the SAT often directly influence one’s chances of admission to colleges, as most colleges and universities require scores from a standardized test such as the SAT in order to be considered for admission.

Traditionally, students living in Maryland and looking ahead to college have only been advised to take the SAT; however, those days are over.

If you find yourself shocked or saddened by your recently received SAT scores, there really is no need to worry.

First, you should, of course, take the SAT again in an attempt to raise your scores. Second, get out of the mindset that the SAT will determine your future; you will determine your future. Third, you need to realize that all colleges in the U.S. that require a standardized test score for admission will look at your score on the SAT or another test, the ACT, as long as you take the ACT with its optional writing section.

If you aren’t loving your SAT score, invest some time and energy into reviewing the structure and content of the ACT because the ACT often rewards students who do well in school but don’t do well on problem solving intensive tests like the SAT.

Actually, there are quite a few differences between the SAT and ACT, many of which high school counselors never discuss with their students. ConvertYourScore.org is a terrific resource to learn about how the SAT and ACT differ and how your score on one test compares to your score on the other.

If colleges you want to attend set a high bar for standardized test scores in order to have a shot at getting in, there is no reason why you shouldn’t take both the SAT and ACT at least once in order to compare how you do on both tests, which will allow you to submit to colleges only the scores from the test that puts you in the best light, and thus gives you the best shot of getting in.

High school juniors have plenty of time to improve upon SAT scores earned this January because there are multiple SAT and ACT test dates remaining before members of the Class of 2014 have to submit test scores to colleges.

To learn more about registering for the SAT and ACT and the tests themselves, visit http://sat.collegeboard.org/ and http://www.actstudent.org/. Good luck!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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