How to Avoid the SAT

Remember high school? And that awful Saturday you had to spend sweating it out in a classroom full of your fellow students, each of you clutching two No. 2 pencils and your scientific calculator? Yes, the SAT nightmare was very real, and if you’re considering a return to college as an adult that nightmare could begin to feel very real again.

As an adult, there are many obstacles to continuing your education and pursuing a bachelor’s degree. One of the biggest can be the overwhelming process of applying to college. On top of the essays, and personal statements, and transcripts, the dreaded request for SAT (or Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores may be one of the reasons you’ve been hesitant to take the plunge and apply for the online degree program you’ve been considering. While standardized testing has certainly not fallen by the wayside, the importance of standardized tests for college admissions has decreased in recent years.

Some four-year colleges have chosen to make SAT or ACT (American College Testing) scores optional for new applicants. The reasons for this are numerous, but often boil down to schools not being sure how test scores equate to future academic performance as well as concerns that there is discrimination in the way the tests are written, administered, and scored. This new skepticism of standardized testing can be very good news for adult students looking to return to college. Even if you took the SAT or ACT while still in high school, colleges tend to only accept those scores for a few years after they were taken. And if you thought the SAT was daunting at seventeen when all that algebra was fresh in your mind, the thought of taking it at twenty-seven can be more than a little intimidating!

Beyond changes in requirements for standardized test scores at many four year schools, there’s the often-overlooked fact that most community colleges, junior colleges, and two-year degree schools never required them to begin with. That’s right. If you go the community college route and earn an AA before transferring to a four-year school, you can avoid the SAT altogether.

Following the example of many community colleges, some online four-year degree programs have forgone the standardized test requirement as well. When programs are geared specifically toward making a college degree more accessible to adults who already have careers and other life obligations, clearing any obstacles from the application process also becomes a priority.

Before you apply to any online degree program you’re considering, be sure to look over the application requirements carefully. Is a standardized test score optional with your application? Reach out to someone in admissions and ask what the requirements are, and ask if there are alternatives for returning adult students. Or consider earning a two-year degree at a community college where you’re unlikely to find a standardized testing requirement.