Taking the SAT in the fall of senior year should be a last ditch effort at improving your score. And if that is why you are taking a fall SAT, more power to you. I hope your score improves. Unfortunately, most of the people taking the SAT in the fall are doing so for the first time.
If you don’t know what you SAT score is going to be, you are not able to put together a reasonable list of colleges. Without a list of colleges you can’t really get started applying. Which means that you are starting to apply after you get your scores, at the earliest, in late October.
This is the time I like to see my students finishing or at least being well through the application process at most colleges. When students don’t have a college list until late October they tend to rush through the process. And rushing through the college application essays is not a good idea.
I work with some of the brightest students in the country and many of them struggle coming up with an essay topic and writing their essays. That is why we start the essay writing process in early summer. With time, the students can reflect on who they are, what they wish to write about, and look at variations on their essays. When a student is rushed in the fall, much of this process is lost.
Another problem with a late test date is the option of applying early to a college may be lost because you just don’t know which college is the best option. Do you really know enough about a college to apply early decision at the last minute. Most likely, no.
The final major problem of waiting until fall to take the SAT is the question of what happens if the day does not go well. What happens if you get sick? What if you just have a bad day and don’t do well on the test? What is you freak out because it is your first time taking the test?
If your October test does not go well then you are looking at the November test. Now you don’t know what your appropriate colleges are going to be until close to December. Early decision? Nope. Early Action? Probably not.
Waiting to test until fall senior year often results in lost options. Colleges that may have been a good choice for you just don’t work out because you don’t know what are the best colleges without a test score.
Do yourself a favor and don’t wait until fall senior year to take the SAT. Getting into the right college for your needs is challenging enough without making it more difficult than you have to.
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