If you’re a junior or senior in high school, you may be asking yourself, “Do AP and SAT scores matter for getting into college?” AP and SAT scores can be one of the deciding factors in your college applications, or they could not matter at all. It really just depends on the college.

Open Acceptance Schools

Checking how selective your potential schools are is the first thing you should do when asking, “Do AP and SAT scores matter for getting into college?”. While schools that only accept around 10 or 20 percent of applicants probably look at everything pretty closely, open acceptance schools don’t. According to  COLLEGEdata , the average college accepts 63.8 percent of applicants. Open acceptance schools, however, will accept almost anyone. Many open acceptance schools are community colleges, but some are four-year universities. As long as you have graduated high school or have your GED, these colleges would love to have you as a student, so they won’t even look at your AP and SAT scores. You might receive college credit, get to skip certain introductory courses, get scholarship money or qualify for honors housing because of your scores, but your acceptance won’t depend on how well or poorly you did on your AP or SAT tests.

“A” for Effort

If you’re really worried about your test scores, you can decide to ask the schools that you’re interested in, “Do AP and SAT scores matter for getting into college?” Many colleges tend to look at your grades and course load more than they look at your test scores. This is because they realize that some students are really smart but are just bad test takers. If you have bad grades and bad test scores, colleges are more likely to look at you unfavorably, but good grades in college preparatory classes indicate that you give your best effort every day. Schools want students that are willing to work hard and make something out of themselves, not lazy geniuses. As long as you aren’t applying to a super selective school, you should be more worried about things that show how much effort you put into your work, such as grades and the difficulty of your classes.

Being Well-Rounded Beats Test Scores

Do AP and SAT scores matter for getting into college? Yes, but so do other things. Colleges and universities love well-rounded students, so if you have to choose between studying for an extra two hours every night to get perfect test scores and joining a baseball or gymnastics team, choose the latter. Also think about volunteering, taking music lessons and being involved in other activities. While tests scores are important, colleges and universities want to have students that will be involved with campus activities, too. They want leaders. Show that you’re able to stick with something by being involved with it for multiple years and accomplishing something. For instance, instead of volunteering with a food pantry for a couple of hours a week, organize a fundraiser or put on an event to raise awareness.

Basically, bad test scores aren’t the end of the world. If you’re asking yourself, “Do AP and SAT scores matter for getting into college?”, your scores do matter, but other things can be more important than your test-taking abilities.

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