Decisions, decisions. What color should I dye my hair? Should I wear board shorts to the beach? In-N-Out Burger or Chipotle? And should I take the SAT or the ACT, or both? Here's our advice:
- DO take at least one test. A number of schools are going test-optional, but chances are that you have a list that includes colleges that require tests. Taking the tests allows you to see how well you do and decide on an application strategy.
- Take a diagnostic SAT/diagnostic ACT first. Arbor Bridge and Revolution Prep are two test prep companies that offer free ACT diagnostic tests. For a free SAT diagnostic, visit Khan Academy.
- After the diagnostics, pick a test and stick with it. If you do equally well on both, go with the ACT because it allows you the option of avoiding subject tests. (There are still a few schools that require the subject tests even if you take the ACT - if you apply to one of those schools, take your subject tests and don't worry - you have a strong ACT!)
- Write, write, write - take the writing portion of your preferred test. It gives you more options.
BTW, we recommend red for the hair, no on the board shorts, and In-N-Out Burger, definitely.
Anna Ivey is one of the founders of Inline. An experienced admissions consultant and a frequently cited media expert on the topic of college admissions, she is also co-author of the book How to Prepare a Standout College Application. Learn more about Anna's background here.