Is Test Stress Worth It Anymore?

Do colleges even care about standardized testing anymore? Will high scores still help your chances of admissions next year entering college or would they no longer be viewed as valuably as they used to? I am still trying to figure out whether it is worth getting high test scores or not for the colleges I am applying for like Lafayette, Purdue, Fordham, Holy Cross, etc. Can taking the SAT or ACT help my chances of admissions since I had a few slip-ups frosh and soph year? This year I am taking 3 online APs and one in person AP and should raise my GPA above a 3.4 on a 5.0 scale weighted but I figured it would be a good idea to get some advice from you guys. Any help is appreciated! I should also mention I attend a private Catholic high school and have great ECs and essays to write about.

A high score is a data point in your favor. If you don’t submit a score, the other factors take on more weight, but it won’t be held against you. A 3.4/5.0 could probably use some help, even more so if you are going for a STEM program.

I doubt Purdue will be test optional next cycle. They almost didn’t go TO this year.

With a lower GPA, high test scores will help you.

A weighted 3.4 on a 5.0 scale might be low for some of your choices. You’ll be competing with students who have higher GPAs and 3-4 years of all the core courses. Great ECs and high test scores don’t make up for a low GPA or missing core classes, but as long as you have financial and academic safeties it’s fine to add some reaches to your list. If they aren’t requiring test scores, make sure you supply what they do want.

All my core courses are filled. I made sure of that.

Filling the core is a great start. Have you calculated your current unweighted GPA with just your core courses? That’s the GPA that matters. You need to know what it is now and the maximum it could be after junior year when you start applying to colleges.

It might be helpful for you to read some college Common Data Sets to see how your weighted 3.1/5.0 (~2.5 unweighted) compares to accepted students. Search College Name Common Data Set to find their latest. Section C lists the minimum number of courses they expect in each core subject, the unweighted GPA range of enrolled freshmen, and how they rank the importance of test scores, GPA, and several other categories.

Colleges where your unweighted GPA is comparable to the average GPA of enrolled students are a match. At Fordham, fewer than 1% of the students who enrolled last year had an unweighted GPA below 3.0. Their average was 3.64 unweighted. At Lafayette it was 6%. Their average was 3.52. I think that makes both of them reaches. If the CDS doesn’t list the GPA information check the range of their test scores. A school whose mid-50% is 28-32 is probably more highly selectivity than one whose mid-50% is 20-24.

Don’t forget that college is about learning. Getting in is only one small piece. You have to be able to do well once you get there. Are you applying to Rutgers? You need to have a couple of safeties on your list. One of their campuses might be a good choice.

Yes, high test scores will generally help you.