SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth End Test-Optional — Will Other Schools Follow?


In February 2024, Dartmouth and Yale — two Ivy League universities — announced that they were returning to their previous policies of requiring SAT or ACT test scores as part of their admissions processes.

Brown followed suit in March 2024, announcing their decision to return to requiring standardized tests as well.  

For the past few years these schools have been “test optional,” meaning students could choose to send test scores, but they weren’t required for admission. This signals a major shift in the college admissions landscape as other U.S. universities weigh if they should follow suit. 

So how does this change impact students applying to Brown, Yale, or Dartmouth? And does this signal a larger trend in the admissions landscape? 

Let’s find out. 

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Complete List: Colleges With No Application Fee (Updated)

Trying to save money on college applications? Good news! There are actually quite a few colleges that allow you to apply for free. In this article, I'll provide some general information about application fees along with a comprehensive list of all the schools that offer free applications.

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When's the Last ACT/SAT for Regular Admissions Deadlines?

If you have been putting off the ACT/SAT or are hoping to retake one, you need to know when you can take your last test so that your scores will arrive at your schools in time. In other words, when is the very latest you can take the SAT or ACT for your college applications?

Read on to find out when you can still take the SAT or ACT—and when you'd be too late. You might be surprised by how little time you have!

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How to Get Into Stanford (by an Accepted Student)

Many students want to get into Stanford, one of the most prestigious undergraduate institutions in the United States. While getting into Stanford is very tough, there are definite rules to Stanford admissions. Using these rules to your advantage will greatly increase your chances of getting in.

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Early Decision Schools: Complete List of ED Colleges

Did you know that early decision isn't necessarily early? "Binding decision" might be a better name for it, since some schools now offer "early" decision deadlines in January as well as in November.

Either way, applying early decision is a big commitment. If you apply this way, you should be totally sure you want to attend that school. Let's review the pros and cons of early decision and look at all the schools that currently offer early decision admission.

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Complete List: Colleges With Rolling Admissions

Deadlines are stressful—so why not get rid of them? Well, some colleges do just that. Rather than having a fixed application deadline, these schools open up a period of time for you to submit your application.

Rolling admission doesn't mean you won't have any timeline, though. This guide will go over what rolling admission means as you apply to college and also provide you with a complete list of colleges with rolling admissions.

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How to Become a National Merit Semifinalist

Every October, about 1.6 million juniors across the country take the PSAT. Those who score in the top 1% achieve the distinction of National Merit Semifinalist. Most of these students move on to become National Merit Finalists, with some winning scholarship money for college.

Being named a National Merit Semifinalist is a huge achievement along the path to college. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to become a National Merit Semifinalist.

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What Colleges Should I Apply To? Making a College List

With more than 5,000 colleges to choose from across the country, you might be asking yourself, "What colleges should I apply to?" How do you narrow thousands of schools down to just 10? The best way to streamline your college list is to divide it roughly equally between safety schools, match schools, and reach schools.

This guide will go over exactly what these terms mean and how to choose the best schools for you. Before taking you through the process step by step, though, let's review the research process as a whole.

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How to Win a National Merit Scholarship

Being named a Scholar is the highest academic recognition you can achieve from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It is a national distinction that puts you at the pinnacle of academic achievement.

To become a Scholar, you need to first become a Finalist. But not all Finalists win scholarships: only about 8,000 of 15,000 students win this award. In this article, we'll talk about what scholarships are available through the NMSC and what you need to do to get one.

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International Students and the SAT/ACT: Complete Guide

Are you an international student aiming to attend college in the United States? Colleges are looking for students with language skills and global competencies more than ever, so you already have several strong assets to draw on in your college applications.

One requirement for your applications to most universities is the SAT or ACT. Let's go over the information you need to know about deciding between the SAT and ACT, registering for the tests, and preparing to achieve a high score.

But first, why are the SAT and ACT important for going to college in the US?

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The 99 Demonstrated Interest Colleges: Complete List

If you’re working on your college applications, you may have heard about “demonstrated interest,” and that colleges use it to decide who they’ll admit to their school. But what does that really mean? And does it matter to every school you’re applying to? The truth is, demonstrated interest can be an important part of the application review process, but only at certain schools.

To make things easier for you, we’ll explain what demonstrated interest is, why it matters to schools, and how you can use it to your advantage. Plus, we’ve created a list of all the colleges that consider demonstrated interest to be important! So read on to see how your top-schools feel about demonstrated interest.

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Is Early Decision Binding?

If you’ve been thinking about college applications, you might also be thinking about applying early. You’ve likely heard that early action applications are an option and that there are benefits to applying early. And if you’ve done some checking, you’ll notice that some schools offer early action, some offer early decision, and some offer both.

While early action means you apply early and hear the college’s decision early, some confusion exists around early decision. So let’s clear that up now.

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What Is a Personal Statement? Everything You Need to Know About the College Essay

In addition to standardized test scores and transcripts, a personal statement or essay is a required part of many college applications. The personal statement can be one of the most stressful parts of the application process because it's the most open ended.

In this guide, I'll answer the question, "What is a personal statement?" I'll talk through common college essay topics and what makes for an effective personal statement.

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The 5 UC Application Tips You Need to Get Into University of California

If you're applying to one or more of the UC schools, you want to make sure you get the application right. This step-by-step guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the UC application, from the time you decide to apply to a UC school to when you submit the final piece of the application.

Keep reading to learn when the most important UC application deadline is, which documents you need to submit to complete your application, if you need a separate application for each UC school, and how you can make sure every part of your application sets you apart from the crowd.

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Which Colleges Superscore the SAT?

Your SAT scores are an important part of your application, especially as the applicant pool gets bigger and more competitive every year. So how can you make sure colleges will consider your very best scores?

This article will discuss the colleges that superscore the SAT. After giving you a list of every college that superscores the SAT, I'll talk about how you can use this information strategically as you prepare to apply to college. To start, let's briefly review what "superscoring" means.

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