Students looking toward college often consider the SAT or ACT to be a necessary part of the admissions process. But for the student who doesn't want to take a standardized test or who feels her scores do not reflect her academic ability, there are other ways to get into college. Possible avenues include community college, schools that don't require the tests, and taking subject area tests instead.
Consider Community College
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get into college without jumping through the hoops of the traditional admissions process is by spending your first year or two at a community college. Many are open-admission, meaning that anyone can attend. Often students are required only to take a placement test in case remediation is needed. Certain degree programs have higher entry requirements. For example, a nursing major usually requires passing grades in prerequisite science courses prior to admission. Once you have completed your associate degree at the community college, that can be used to gain admission to a four-year university.
For students who feel they have a strong academic portfolio but wish to avoid taking the SAT or ACT, many schools allow applications without these test results. FairTest keeps a list of over 800 four-year universities that admit students without standardized test results. This list is only a starting point, however. Each college has something as a minimum admission requirement, so research the schools you're interested in before you apply.
Withhold Your Scores
If you have already taken the SAT or ACT and the result was lower than you'd hoped, one option is to withhold your scores on your applications. When completing the application, simply leave the self-reported score area blank. You can choose which schools will receive your results when completing the SAT or ACT itself, so you are the gatekeeper of where your scores end up. While withholding scores is not the norm, it may be a viable alternative for students whose standardized test scores do not reflect their academic performance. Research each school's policies first to be clear on what is required for consideration.
Submit Subject Area Tests
If the full SAT is not on your radar or your scores were not what you wanted, the SAT subject area tests may provide an additional method for college admission. Around 160 colleges accept SAT subject area tests rather than the full SAT for admission. Since these tests show your knowledge on subjects such as English, history, mathematics, science and foreign languages, they are often a good predictor of your performance in those subjects at the college level. These tests are offered multiple times throughout the year. Sit for the subjects based on your strengths in your high school coursework.