Why? If you wait to take the SAT until fall of senior year you have to wait until you get your results to decide where to apply. This would be toward the end of October. If you don’t know what colleges are good options until late October of senior year you will have more limited time to decide where to apply to and then apply.
This last minute approach to college applications is particularly a problem if you are thinking about applying early decision or early action to a college. Many of the early decision applications are due November 1. Similarly, many applications for BS/MD programs are due November 1.
So, when should you take the SAT? I generally recommend that students take the SAT twice in the spring of junior year. If you have adequately prepared for the SAT you shouldn’t need to take the test more than twice.
By completing the SAT by the end of junior year, you have the summer before senior year to finalize your college list and start working on the appropriate applications. This gives you the time to prepare for early applications if you decide to apply for one of these programs.
Careful planning on when to take the test is also important if you are planning on taking the SAT Subject Tests.
Next week I will discuss when you should start preparing for the SAT.