Should You Take the SAT?
You might be 100% certain that you’re going to take the SAT. For example, you’re definitely going to college and you know that you aren’t going to be taking the ACT rather than the SAT. If that’s true, you can skip this section and head to the next one.
If you’re not sure whether to take the SAT, I will give you my professional analysis as a short answer and as a longer answer. First, the short answer:
Q: “Should I take the SAT?”
Now, for my longer answer, I will start with the three reasons you would decide NOT to take the SAT and then talk about those.
- You might NOT take the SAT if you’re definitely not going to college.
- You might NOT take the SAT if you’re definitely going to a college that does not require or use the SAT.
- You might NOT take the SAT if you’re going to take the ACT instead.
Are You Thinking about College?
If you aren’t sure whether you’ll go to college, you aren’t alone. In fact, fewer than 40% of Americans have a college degree. This is partly because some people drop out of college, but it’s also because many people never go, either because they choose not to or because they don’t seem to have a choice.
As you can probably guess from the fact that I have bothered to make this website, I believe that college is a great step for most people and I promote it. But I sympathize with you if you think that college might be overrated, or if you feel that college is too expensive, or if you think that college is not automatically or necessarily right for you, and/or if you dislike the way some college grads might be judgmental of non-college grads. Given that almost half of people who go to college drop out, so you might think, “Why go to the time and trouble, if I’m maybe not going to graduate anyway?” Finally, you might feel certain that you can’t afford college. In my view, those are all valid points and feelings.
I’ll just say this: it’s not that much work to take the SAT and apply to colleges and then decide. With or without a college degree, you’re going to go on and spend decades doing whatever it is you choose to do with your life. Take a couple months now to try your hand at the SAT and college admissions. You might find yourself warming up to college after the SAT and applications. Furthermore, once you have an SAT score and you are learning about college, solutions might start to appear to problems that might seem impossible now (e.g., financial). It works out for a lot of people every year who didn’t completely expect it… maybe you can be and will be one of those people.
“What If My College Doesn’t Require the SAT?”
If you are targeting one or more programs that don’t require or even value the SAT, then, of course, maybe you don’t need to take it. And I think that’s a perfectly correct outcome for a lot of people.
However, I would like to make a point similar to the one above. In the grand scope of things, taking the SAT is not that much work, given the importance of your college-related decisions. Obviously I don’t know enough about your particular situation to question or agree with your choice of college. But I have counseled countless adults on educational matters and been around the block myself (I’m now twice the age of the average college freshman), and one of the regrets I hear most often from people is that they didn’t really consider their options. All too often, people have told me in their own self-evaluations, they made college-related decisions a little too quickly. In other words, maybe you should also be looking at college programs that do require the SAT.
A great way to clear up that question is simply to take the SAT. You might do better than you expected; it happens. In that case, suddenly you might be looking at programs that you’d thought were too competitive for you — and they might be looking at you, and maybe even offering financial aid. Either way, you’ll have given it a shot and made an informed decision.
If You’re Thinking about Taking the ACT
We’re going to talk about the SAT vs. ACT question in a little more detail on an upcoming page. So you may (optionally) mark this unit as complete and click continue below!