Question: Which do Colleges Prefer, the SAT or ACT?

(The Last of a Three-Part Mini-Series on Standardized Testing for College Admission)

Answer: The one that feels the most comfortable to a student.

The SAT has had some noisy press recently causing some students to lean towards the ACT. While the College Board’s recent announcement of adding an adversity score section has created confusion surrounding the test, it shouldn’t deter students who are comfortable with the SAT’s style.

The adversity score can’t be studied for; it’s assigned to a student based on where they live and what high school they attend, the places they “live and learn.” No amount of practicing or test-prepping can alter that score. In this sense, a student has no control over the metrics of their adversity and this powerlessness can make some students feel frustrated. What a student can control, however, is how much they study for the four other sections of the SAT: Reading, Math, Writing/Language and Essay (Optional).

Whether you’re pro or con this new SAT section, it’s here to stay, at least for now. But maybe the SAT isn’t the best option for your student anyway.

Know thyself. Most students take the PSAT as early as Sophomore Year and are familiar with its sections and timing. They then choose to stick with that test’s format and style, moving on to the SAT in Junior and Senior Year. When I suspect a student could be performing at a higher standardized testing level than what’s indicated by their SAT score, I’ll suggest trying the ACT. Often, they’ll say they’ve never road-tested the ACT, as there’s no PSAT equivalent for the ACT.

Get evaluated for both the SAT and ACT to decide which test is the best fit and then prep for test-day with the “one and done” goal to avoid chronic-tester fatigue syndrome!

For more information about College Counseling and Essay Coaching, please drop me a line at or give me a holler at 917-863-2424. Also, for “news you can use,” please check out my blog, videos and Facebook page.