Dear Academic Approach Families & Colleagues:

Last week we attended a webinar with James Nondorf, Dean of Admissions, University of Chicago, and Darryl Tiggle, Director of College Counseling, Friends School in Baltimore. We include some relevant Q & A (paraphrased) below:

This year, who should submit scores?

If you took an ACT or SAT, and you feel that it is representative of your academic abilities, submit it. If you have a test in the middle or higher echelon of a school’s range, send the score. If not, do not.

Students use ACT or SAT scores to shape their list, to figure out which schools to apply to. If I haven’t tested, I’m missing that information. How do I know which schools I should be applying to?

Use your high school’s info—what colleges have similar students at your high school gotten into with similar academic profiles through conversations with college counselors. You could use PSAT scores to help narrow. Coursework and academic records/grades are key drivers. Even when colleges have ACT & SAT scores, they rely heavily on GPA—ACT & SAT are a “check-in” on grades.

What components are you weighing more heavily this year? In years past, as many as 80% of students submitted standardized test scores.

In prior years, if you had a poor transcript, a great ACT or SAT score would not save your application. The things that have always made a big impact on admissions committees and have created a compelling case will continue to matter most: grades, essays, how engaged the student is, if the student knows a lot about the school. Yes, these will continue to matter most.

Be well,
Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Founder & CEO