SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Meilee D. Bridges

Meilee Bridges earned her PhD and MA in English language and literature from the University of Michigan and graduated summa cum laude from the Honors English Program at Trinity University. A former professor turned professional writer and editor, she is dedicated to supporting the educational goals of students from all backgrounds.

Recent Posts

What Is a Merit-Based Scholarship?

Posted by Meilee D. Bridges | Feb 7, 2023 9:00:00 AM

Financial Aid

There’s no denying it: higher education is pricey. As a college-bound student, you might be concerned about how you and your family can pay for tuition, fees, room, board, and textbooks. The great news is that if you’re a high-achieving student, you might qualify for one or more merit-based scholarships.

But what is a merit scholarship? And how do you qualify for this kind of award? In this article, we’ll answer your questions in detail. We’ll also cover how to find these opportunities and some tips for applying so you can put your best foot forward.

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Is the ACT Optional?

Posted by Meilee D. Bridges | Jan 19, 2023 8:00:00 AM

ACT General Info

As you’re scouring college admission websites, you may have noticed that many universities are going test optional. That may come as a surprise: for decades, standardized exams such as the ACT have been required components of U.S. college admissions. Schools use your test scores—in addition to other parts of your application—to gauge how prepared you are for the rigors of college academics. 

If these tests are such a conventional part of the admissions process, then what does test optional mean? Is the ACT optional? Which portions of the ACT are optional? Who exactly is it optional for, and who is required to take it? And if the ACT isn’t mandatory, are there reasons you should consider taking the test and submitting your scores anyway? 

Let’s dig deep so you can decide whether you should be registering for the ACT as you prepare for the college application process.

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Is the SAT Optional?

Posted by Meilee D. Bridges | Jan 3, 2023 8:00:00 AM

SAT General Info

As you research colleges and universities and consider their admissions requirements, you’ll inevitably notice that many schools require you to submit your SAT scores as part of your application. Admissions staff often consider your standardized test scores to confirm your GPA or to determine whether you demonstrate strengths beyond what your high school transcripts can reveal. And according to the College Board, which administers the SAT, the exam specifically assesses the knowledge you’ve learned in reading, writing, and math—skills that also help measure how prepared you are for college and career.

Given its purpose, it’s no wonder that colleges and universities have been requiring the SAT for decades. But as you peruse school websites and the brochures you collected at college fairs, you might also notice a term pop up when it comes to SAT scores: test optional. But what does test optional mean? Is taking the SAT itself optional, or does it mean submitting your scores is optional? Are standardized tests optional for every applicant or just specific individuals? And is the SAT optional in reality, or are students who submit their scores secretly more likely to be admitted than those who don’t? 

Here’s what you need to know so you can decide whether the SAT should be part of your college application process.

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