5 Ways the SAT Can Help You

The SAT is a standardized test used by many colleges and universities in the United States—including those that are test optional. It’s used for admissions, financial aid, placement, and other purposes. There are many reasons to take this important test. Find out the five ways that the SAT can help you.


1. Doors Open to You.

Although some four-year colleges don’t require an admission test score as part of your application, the test strengthens your college application nearly everywhere. Most U.S. colleges and universities accept the SAT. If you’re not sure which college you want to attend, it’s a good idea to take the test. You can decide later whether or not to submit your scores with your application.

2. It Helps Guide Your Choices.

Many colleges publicize the average SAT score of their admitted students. This allows you to see how your score compares with those of the students at your preferred college. And it allows you to consider other colleges that have similar test─score distributions.

Remember that an average test score is just that─an average. Don't be afraid to apply to a college that seems right for you even if its average score is higher or lower than yours. Talk to your school counselor about whether or not you should submit your scores.

3. You May Qualify for Scholarships.

Some colleges and educational organizations award scholarship money to students based in part on SAT scores.

4. Colleges Can Find You.

By opting in to the Student Search Service™ when you register for the weekend SAT, you can receive free information from colleges and scholarship programs. This can help you to discover a good match. Depending on your school, district, or state, if you take the SAT in school on a school day you can opt-into the Connections(TM) feature of the free BigFuture School mobile app that also allows you to hear from colleges that might be a good match.

5. Strengthen Skills Needed for College.

The SAT is all about the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in college and career. Preparing for the SAT sharpens important skills at the heart of education.

Worried about the cost of taking the test or sending your scores? Fee waivers are available to help eligible students cover these costs─and the cost of applying for college. Learn about fee waivers for the SAT. You’ll also receive unlimited score reports every time you register for the SAT or take it in school on a school day.


What are the benefits of the SAT?

The primary benefit of taking the SAT is that it gives colleges a standardized measure of your academic abilities. With those scores, most colleges and universities can compare students from different schools and backgrounds on a level field. While the SAT isn’t the only factor that colleges consider in the admissions process, it’s a valuable tool that can demonstrate your academic abilities and improve your chances of being admitted to your desired college or university. It’s a more objective measure than extracurricular activities, teacher recommendations, or college application essays.

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Why is the SAT a good indicator of academic success?

The SAT is a good predictor of your performance in college. Many studies have shown that a student's SAT score strongly correlates with college grades and overall academic success. Because the SAT is widely recognized and accepted by colleges and universities throughout the United States, this test provides you with opportunities for scholarships, advanced courses, and admission to selective institutions. Additionally, the SAT is a valuable tool used by admissions offices to predict a student's potential college success.

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What are SAT scores used for?

Although SAT scores are part of your admissions process, these scores can also be used for course placement. Some U.S. colleges and universities rely on the scores to place students in appropriate courses, such as math and writing classes, based on their demonstrated academic skills. Also, SAT scores can be used to help you qualify for scholarships. A high score can increase your chances of being awarded valuable scholarships.

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What’s a good SAT score?

A good score will depend on the specific college or university. Usually, a score above 1200 (out of 1600) is considered competitive, and a score above 1400 is considered excellent. Keep in mind that highly selective schools may require scores in the 1500s or higher. Research the average SAT scores of admitted students at the schools you’re interested in to set your goals for the test.

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Can I retake the SAT?

Yes. You can retake the SAT as many times as you want. Most colleges will only consider your highest scores. With that in mind, you may want to take the test multiple times if you're unsatisfied with your initial score. However, you’ll have to pay additional fees to take the SAT again. Most students take the SAT for the first time in the spring of junior year, and then improve their score when they take it again in the summer or fall of senior year.

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