We get it. You hate it when your parents or counselors are nagging you about the SATs/ACTs and application deadlines. You’re stressed enough about it as it is, and honestly, you don’t need more people to tell you what to do. And we’re not going to.
As you approach senior year, we want you to be prepared for the overwhelming tasks of studying for standardized tests, putting together your college application, and maintaining your academic and social activities at school. It’s difficult to forecast everything, and hindsight is 20/20. So, we decided to ask the college users in AdmitSee’s database what they regretted most about their SAT/ACT preparation and their college application in general:
I made a lot of mistakes during my application process that could’ve been avoided had I been more proactive. First, I didn’t study for either the ACT or SAT, and I only took each test once. If I had studied and taken the tests again I would’ve gotten even better grades and stood a better chance of getting into the schools that rejected me. Speaking of rejection, almost all the ivy leagues have a significantly higher acceptance rate for early admission. If I had finished my application in October, I again would’ve stood a better chance of getting accepted to these schools. I was not prepared as much as I should have been, which was a mistake on my part. I cannot stress enough the importance of early preparation and early application.
HeyLei: University of Pennsylvania ‘19
If I were able to go back in time, I would have changed 3 things about my college application process. First, I would have actually studied for the ACTs. When I was younger, I took the ACTs and SATs through a program for gifted students called NUMATS. As a result, I felt comfortable with the ACTs when it was time to take them for real and so decided against studying for them. If I had studied for them, I could definitely have gotten higher scores as there was material that I had learned but forgotten. The second thing I’d do over was my decision to apply to so many colleges. After the 4th college I applied to, I got tired of writing and so my last 6 applications weren’t as strong as they could’ve been. Finally, the third thing I’d redo would be to stick with my non-volunteer/school-related activities for longer. I think this could’ve boosted my application by making me more well rounded.
I was overall satisfied with my application process, however if I were to change one thing, I might have taken the SATs more seriously. At the time, I thought that my grades were reflective enough of my abilities as a student, so I really did not try as hard as I could have for the SATs. In retrospect, I might have tried harder because my score ended up disqualifying me from many big scholarships, such as the UC Regent’s scholarship.
Majordecision: Texas A&M University ‘19
Be sure that you are happy with all of your test score (SAT and ACT) by the end of your junior year. By the time the tests are available again, it will be too late because some colleges open applications as early as August 1. If I could have, I would have taken my ACT one more time just to see what I could’ve gotten. Be aware of all of your deadlines so that you don’t do an entire Honors College application only to find out it was due a month earlier.
Don’t have the same regrets these college students do. Take the stress out of the college application process by bettering preparing yourself for the process.