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Weighing SAT and ACT Scores in College Admissions

A new survey of 350 college-admissions officers by Kaplan Test Prep finds that 18 percent say it can be an advantage for students to submit both an ACT and SAT score, assuming both are strong.

An increasing number of students are taking the college-entrance exams. This year, ACT Inc. reported 1,666,017 took its exam in the class of 2012, slightly surpassing the SAT with 1,664,479. With both organizations, females were more likely than males (by more than 100,000) to take the tests, according to the new SAT Total Group Data Report and the ACT National Profile Report.

Just which test to take is a dilemma for high school students. According to the students enrolled in Kaplan Test Prep SAT and ACT courses, 60 percent intended to take both exams.

About 85 percent of colleges and universities in the admissions officer survey required applicants to submit an ACT or SAT score, about the same as last year, the Kaplan report found.

The National Center for Fair and Open Testing lists nearly 850 four-year colleges where tests scores are optional.

When reviewing potential applicants, surveys by the National Association of College Admissions Counseling consistently finds the top factors are: grades in college-preparatory courses, strength of curriculum, standardized admission test scores, and overall high school grade point average.

The Kaplan survey was conducted by telephone from July to September, polling 350 officers from the nation's 500 schools and using rankings from Barron's and U.S. News & World Report.

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