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High College Exam Scores = More Financial Aid and Cheaper Tuition

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 20 million students were anticipated to attend American colleges in fall 2018, which signifies an increase of more than 5 million students since fall 2000. With colleges becoming increasingly more difficult to be admitted into each year, college-bound students and their families are naturally looking for every advantage to stand out in the crowd of applicants. Higher college exam scores on tests such as the SAT and ACT can lead to higher financial aid awards and college merit aid for the student, as well as deeper discounts on tuition.

Although there has been a lot of buzz recently over colleges allowing admission without SAT and ACT test scores, this excerpt from a recent study published by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) confirms that much of the decision-making has remained the same for admissions counselors over the years, stating:

“The factors that admission officers use to evaluate applications from first-time freshmen have remained largely consistent over the past 20 years. Students’ academic achievements—which include grades, strength of curriculum, and admission test scores—constitute the most important factors in the admission decision.”

College-bound students will still see a major benefit in earning higher SAT or ACT test scores, performing well in AP or college-level courses during high school, taking on leadership positions both inside and outside of academic pursuits, and carefully considering colleges before submitting applications to attend. Help from a professional college admissions counselor with everything from selecting schools, to completing the college admissions application and personal essay may prove useful in increasing a student’s chance of college admissions, particularly at selective colleges and universities.

Here are a few additional factors impacting the college admissions process:

  • Social Media – College-bound students should be aware of a growing practice for college admissions personnel to research a student’s online footprint. This includes social media accounts, and even general Google searches of the student to find out more about whether or not the student would prove to be a good fit for the school. In fact, according to this article in The Journal, 40% of admissions officers surveyed admitted to searching an applicant’s social media pages prior to making a college admissions decision. While students should always be encouraged to be true to themselves, college-bound students with active social media accounts may wish to set the accounts to  a private setting, or carefully monitor their social media posts for highly offensive or inappropriate content prior to applying for college admission.
  • Test-optional Campuses – The University of Chicago is a recent addition to a growing number of college campuses allowing students a “test-optional” path to admissions. This means that students may elect to apply without sending SAT or ACT test scores. In many cases, however, students electing to apply under a test-optional path must submit supplemental application materials in order to be considered for admissions. College-bound students seeking a test-optional college admissions pathway will want to understand what supplemental materials, if any, are required so that they may begin preparing the additional application items sooner rather than later.
  • Disciplinary Reviews – There is also a growing trend to “ban the box” asking college applicants to indicate whether or not they were subject to disciplinary action, or have a criminal history, as part of the college application process. Several large public university systems, such as SUNY colleges in New York, have adopted these policies in an effort to increase diversity in the college admissions pool. And the state of Louisiana banned all public colleges in the state from asking about criminal history as part of the application process. This trend may also shape an applicant’s decision when narrowing down college admissions options.

Understanding the college admissions process, and the factors that are taken into consideration when admitting a student to college, can be a huge help in increasing your changes of admission to the college of your choice.  College-bound students and their families can stay ahead of the college admissions curve by remaining up to speed on college admissions trends, and preparing for the SAT and ACT to ensure the tests adequately reflect their skills and abilities, and yields the best financial aid and tuition assistance awards possible.

For SAT and ACT prep options in your area, or to receive a free college admissions profile from a professional college admissions advisor, call Club Z! at 800-434-2582 or fill out our college admissions form online today.

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