ACT versus SAT for admissions and ease


<p>on the collegeboard website, it seems like for the top colleges such as harvard, princeton, cornell, brown and others that the "% who submitted scores" column for the ACT is always less than the "% who submitted scores" column for the SAT. does this mean that those colleges want people who submitted SATs? can someone explain the "% who submitted scores" column" in detail? thanks!</p>

<p>I'm gonna guess that it has to do with the SAT being more common on the coasts, and the ACT more prevalent in the midwest. I doubt theres an appreciable difference in admissions between the two tests.</p>

<p>but wouldn't there be just about as many students in the midwest as in the east coast who apply to those top colleges?</p>

<p>Oh, that is because SAT stands for Superior Applicants Test and ACT of Average College Test.</p>

<p>It's because the SAT is more commonly an East coast thing, and also I know (I'm from the midwest) people around the Midwest seem to do a lot better on the SAT compared the ACT.
I'm taking like going from 25 ACT to 2100. So maybe they only submit SAT because they're just higher.</p>

<p>Not knowing the absolute numbers for those who take the SAT/ACT, I think there are three main reasons:</p>

<p>-SAT is the test taken on the coasts, where the top schools you mentioned are located. I bet if you look at some Big Ten schools, more students would have taken the ACT. </p>

<p>-Also top schools often have a lot of national merit scholars. These students have to take the SAT to qualify for finalist status. So even those in the Midwest who would primarily take the ACT, if they are in contention for national merit, they will take the SAT as well. </p>

<p>-Some top schools, up until a couple years ago, still required the SAT. Thus, parents/college counselors who are more attuned to those times might recommend the SAT over the ACT.</p>

but wouldn't there be just about as many students in the midwest as in the east coast who apply to those top colleges?


With the facts that more people live on the coasts, the coasts have the states with the best primary/secondary education, and even top colleges remain regional in the sense that they draw a lot from their region, not really.</p>

<p>Of course, the College Board has a vested interest in the SAT, and doesn't always use the most up to date information, so who knows if they're right.</p>

<p>thanks! can someone explain the "% who submitted scores" column" in detail? if it means the % of applicants who submitted scores than how come it doesn't add up to 100? for example, harvard's statistics.</p>

<p>Colleges expend hundreds of thousands of dollars to attract applicants. Some take only the SAT, some take only the ACT, some submit both. If you're wondering if any bias against the ACT exists then you should ask yourself to what advantage would it serve the college? none -- since they both are evaluative tools and the colleges know what the scores translate into in terms of their criteria.</p>

<p>Two things --</p>

<p>In the Midwest, more top students are "siphoned off" by the state flagships compared to the east. </p>

<p>In the Midwest, many states require all students to take the ACT, so why bother taking the SAT if you already have an ACT score and the colleges accept both?</p>

<p>My guess is you're trying to ascertain whether one test is "better" than the other to take. They're equal. So take whichever works for you.</p>

<p>I find what you said very interesting blackandyellow, considering when I was in high school (in New Jersey) I read an article about how more and more East Coast students are taking the ACT because they think they'll do better on it.</p>


<p>i've read from a number of sources that some students take the ACT because it's easier. if so, wouldn't some colleges also think it's easier and therefore would prefer the SAT? does this mean that taking the ACT might make you seem lazy? what are people's thoughts on whether or not the ACT is easier? sorry, these questions have been on my mind. thanks!</p>

<p>Depends on the person. I scored much higher (equivalent of 160 points) on the SAT than I did on the ACT.</p>

<p>With each test, only one in four students finish in the 75th percentile or better!!!</p>

<p>Assuming that the overall population of people taking both tests is equivalent, the tests are 'different' neither easier nor harder overall.</p>

<p>Colleges will accept either test and don't view one as better than another. They are different tests. For slower readers, the ACT will be a more difficult test.</p>

<p>I found the SAT much MUCH easier</p>

<p>I actually thought the SAT was easier, but that's just me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I had no idea what was going on in the ACT's science section (but I got a 36 on it...).
I'd just take both. That's what I did and reported both scores. Taking the ACT doesn't make you seem lazy. But maybe taking just the ACT might seem lazy.</p>

<p>From above: "but wouldn't there be just about as many students in the midwest as in the east coast who apply to those top colleges? "</p>

<p>Though the Midwest has students who do apply to the ivies, Midwest students as a group are not enamored with ivies like those in the east. Many here would consider UChicago, Northwestern, Notre Dame, WashU or their own flagship public university a better choice than any ivy, and would feel more crushed by being rejected by one of those than any ivy.</p>

<p>I have seen annual newspaper reports over the years in the Midwest listing where valedictorians and salutatorians of a lot of schools applied and decided to attend and the ivies are hardly mentioned and 95% or more choose a Midwest college. You also have the issue that there are just far more people living in the east and west coast where the SAT is the predominate test taken by high school seniors than there are in the midwest where the ACT predominates.</p>

<p>The real point of interest is how things have changed since the SAT adopted a writing section for its test (2005). Back in the early 2000s the percent of applicants applying to the ivies that took the ACT was usually in the single digits even though the ivies accepted the ACT except Princeton (which accepted it only if you were in a state were you could not take the SAT, which was none) and a couple of other ivies still stated a preference for the SAT. Also the number of high school students per graduating senior class that took the SAT test was usually a few hundred thousand more than the ACT. </p>

<p>Within a year after the SAT test with writing appeared, the remaining colleges that had stated an SAT preference dropped it; by 2008 the few remaining colleges that accepted only the SAT had gone to readily accepting both (CalTech, Harvey Mudd, and Wake Forest were the last hold outs and Wake Forest actually went to requiring no test). The status today is that usually more than 30% of the applicants to an ivy submit ACT, a more than 200% increase over about 8 years ago, likely reflecting that many in the east now take it in lieu of or in addition to the SAT since the ACT is readily accepted. Also, the number of students in any graduating high school class that now take the ACT is close to the same as the number who take the SAT, also partly a reflection that more in the east (and west coast) are taking it in additon to or as an alternative to the SAT. In other words, the OP is looking at current figures showing that about 30% of applicants to high ranked eastern colleges submit ACT and thinks that reflects the college prefers SAT when in fact the percentage of the ACT applicants has greatly increased over the last several years reflecting that colleges have gone to readily accepting both.</p>

<p>@ CMU
I don't know what it is about the ACT. It's pretty easy in my opinion, I never even studied for it. Here in the midwest, more and more are taking the SAT because they do better on it. Maybe it's our public school systems?</p>

<p>ACT is is a lot of reading really quickly. It's easy for fast readers.</p>