SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

What Do Colleges Look For in Admissions? Why Are the SAT/ACT Important?

 

Applying to college soon? Curious about what colleges are looking for in applicants, especially when it comes to SAT or ACT scores? Not sure how you stack up against other applicants at your dream school? 

If you feel like you have more questions than answers about what colleges look for in admissions, you're note alone. The college admissions process can be very confusing, and it's easy to feel lost and frustrated. In this article, we'll tell you what colleges look for in admissions and how to make your application the best it can be. We'll cover: 

  • What colleges look for in applicants 
  • Why SAT and ACT test scores are important 
  • How understanding college admissions criteria can help your own college admissions process


Let's dive in! 

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Is Harvard Test Optional? Testing Policies for Top Colleges

If you want to get accepted to any college in the U.S., you need to know its admissions requirements. That includes whether you’ll have to submit SAT or ACT scores! Many colleges have adopted test optional admissions policies over the past several years…but what about top schools? Is Harvard test optional? Are Ivy League schools test optional?

We know all the changes can be confusing, but we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll walk you through Harvard’s current testing policies and the testing policies at top 25 universities. We’ll also explain whether test scores still matter at test optional schools and how to make decisions about standardized testing. 

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive in. 

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College Waitlist: What Are Your Chances of Getting In?

Getting waitlisted at a college certainly isn't a bad thing—your application was good enough to not get rejected!—but it's definitely an uncomfortable place to be. After all, when you're on the college waitlist, you don't know whether you'll be admitted or not, and that alone is anxiety-inducing.

Luckily, there are many things you can do to increase your odds of getting off a waitlist. In this article, we explain how the college waitlist works, what steps to take if you've been waitlisted, and how to raise your college waitlist chances so you can attend your dream school.

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Can You Use ChatGPT for Your College Essay?

ChatGPT has become a popular topic of conversation since its official launch in November 2022. The artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot can be used for all sorts of things, like having conversations, answering questions, and even crafting complete pieces of writing.

If you’re applying for college, you might be wondering about ChatGPT college admissions’ potential.  Should you use a ChatGPT college essay in your application?

By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll know much more about ChatGPT, including how students can use it responsibly and if it’s a good idea to use ChatGPT on college essays. We’ll answer all your questions, like:

  • What is ChatGPT and why are schools talking about it?
  • What are the good and bad aspects of ChatGPT?
  • Should you use ChatGPT for college essays and applications?
  • Can colleges detect ChatGPT?
  • Are there other tools and strategies that students can use, instead?

We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started!

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How to Find the Best College Admissions Counselors

You may have heard of admissions consultants from your teachers, high school counselors, friends, or family. Or you may have done a web search on college admissions and noticed several results that included links to consultants, making you wonder…

What are college admissions consultants? These are professionals, usually from the education field, who work with you to help you achieve your college admissions goals. Whether you have Ivy League dreams, are interested in a major university, or want to stick close to home at a small college, college admissions consultants cater their assistance to your unique needs.

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The 51 Most Expensive Colleges in the United States

College is a costly investment. For the 2022-2023 academic year, the College Board reported that the average annual budget was $27,940 for an in-state public college and $57,570 for a private college. These are the averages, but just how much are the most expensive colleges in the US? Which ones have the most expensive college tuition?

Here, I'll give you a list of the 51 most expensive colleges in the US. I'll first explain why they're so pricey and then go over how you can attend one regardless of your financial situation.

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Best College Acceptance Calculator: Learn Your Admission Chances

Anyone who’s applied to college remembers the fear of getting that dreaded rejection letter. (For the record, I got two—and they both stung. A lot.) But what if you could calculate your chances of college acceptance before you applied? 

The good news is that you can! Our college acceptance calculator uses your GPA and SAT/ACT score to estimate your likelihood of getting accepted to a particular school. But aside from GPA and test scores, what other critical factors affect your chance of admission? Read on to learn what schools look for during the admission process as well as how you can raise your chance of acceptance by submitting a strong application.

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How to Write About Extracurriculars on College Applications

One of the trickiest parts of the Common App is understanding how to make the most of the extracurricular activity section. You might have a ton of activities—or not very many—and be wondering how you should write about your activities to impress college admissions readers.

If you’ve felt stumped by what you’re supposed to do in this section and how to make the most of your very limited space, read on.

In this guide we'll talk about:  

But before we get into that, you may be wondering...

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Ivy Day 2024: What Is It, When Is It, and What to Do Next

If you've applied or are currently applying to Ivy League schools, you've likely heard the phrase "Ivy Day." Ivy Day, or Ivy Admissions Day, is when all the Ivy League schools announce their admissions decisions for regular decision first-year applicants. This year, Ivy Day is March 28, 2024. 

Keep reading to learn more about what to expect on Ivy Day, how to predict future Ivy Day dates, and what to do with your admissions decision(s) once Ivy Day is over.

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How to Get Into Yale: 4 Expert Admissions Tips

Yale is one of the most competitive schools on the planet to get into. If you're wondering how to make your application stand out from the crowd, you're in the right place.

In this article, we'll go over everything you need to know about how to get into Yale, including how hard it really is to get into Yale, what Yale is looking for in its students, what test scores and grades you need, and how to ace your Yale application essays.

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SUNY Application Tips: How to Apply, Deadlines, and More

The State University of New York system of colleges—commonly known as SUNY—encompasses some 64 different campuses throughout New York. These campuses include research universities, community colleges, and even specific programs housed at other universities like Cornell.

Though this means that students who want to attend SUNY schools have plenty of choices, it also means that the SUNY application can feel something like a maze of options. Which school do you need? Which application should you fill out? Are you applying to one school or many?

If you're thinking of attending one of these 64 schools and need assistance filling out the SUNY application, this guide is here to help. We'll be covering admissions requirements, which schools require supplemental essays, and some helpful information for filling out your application.

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College Transfer Acceptance Rates: Which Schools Accept the Most Students?

Transferring from one school to another is a wise or even necessary choice for many students, but it's not without obstacles. College transfer acceptance rates are actually lower than freshman acceptance rates, meaning competition is higher.

This might sound like it's cause for alarm, but, like applying as a freshman, it just means you need to be prepared.

If you need or want to transfer but aren't sure where to go, check out some of the colleges with the best transfer acceptance rates.

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How to Get Into UC Berkeley: 4 Steps to a Stellar Application

Wondering how to get into UC Berkeley? Getting accepted to Berkeley can be tough. How hard is it to get into Berkeley? In 2022-2023, Berkeley's acceptance rate was 15%.

This makes UC Berkeley a "strongly competitive school": it's not quite as ultra-competitive as Ivy League schools, but you'll need to have a strong application across the board in order to get accepted. In the rest of this guide, we'll explain:

  • The UC Berkeley admissions requirements, when and how you should apply
  • Exactly what Berkeley looks at when they review your application
By the end of this article, you'll understand how you can create the strongest application to maximize your chances of getting into Berkeley.
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What Are the Ivy League Schools' Acceptance Rates for 2022?

The eight schools in the Ivy League are among the most well-known and selective universities both within the US and in the world at large. Because of this, Ivy League (and similarly selective non-Ivy) schools have tens of thousands of students from whom to choose their class of 2026.

But what are Ivy League schools' acceptance rates, and how have those rates changed over time? In this analysis, we'll look at Ivy League admissions, from the number of applicants to the number of students who ultimately end up attending.

In addition to the eight Ivy League schools (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, UPenn, and Yale), we'll also consider eight equally selective non-Ivy League national universities: Caltech, Duke, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Northwestern, Stanford, UChicago, and Vanderbilt.

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Do You Need ACT Scores to Transfer Colleges? A Guide

One of the most complicated parts of transferring colleges is determining what the requirements are, especially when it comes to standardized tests. Unfortunately, there's no simple answer to the question of whether you need to take the ACT as a transfer student, but this guide will walk you through how different school policies vary and explain how much SAT and ACT scores count when applying as a transfer.

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