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Why do colleges require act or sat scores for dual enrolled high school students?

Why do colleges require act or sat scores for dual enrolled high school students?

September 9, 2016

Photo of Leanne RuboskyAn increasing number of middle school and high school students are taking advantage of dual enrollment programs to get a head start on college and save money on college costs down the road. You may have questions as you consider this option for your student, especially when it comes to standardized testing. For today’s post, we welcome Leanne Rubosky, Associate Director of Transfer and High School Student Enrollment. Leanne explains why many colleges – including Cedarville – require middle school and younger high school students to take the ACT or SAT to gain admission to dual enrollment programs.

Photo of pencil on standardized test paperI recall the night before I took my first ACT test. I came into the kitchen with tears in my eyes, the weight of one test score on my mind. A score that determined my entire future college and career path (or so I thought). The night resulted in eating one jar of peanut butter (my 17-year-old self’s comfort food), drinking many cups of tea, and sleeping very little. 

Many years later, I realize that too many calories were consumed that night, along with unwarranted stress. I would have been better served by prayer and an understanding of the overall admissions process.

As more and more high school students are participating in dual credit programs, such as Cedarville’s College Now program, parents have a lot of questions about admission requirements. Cedarville requires all undergrad and high school students to take a standardized test as part of their application process. ACT and SAT tests have been traditionally offered to high school juniors and seniors as a necessary passage to the college application process. 



Dual credit programs are introducing the college experience to a younger audience, who have little to no exposure to the standardized testing process. Parents of younger students have asked me if their middle school or younger high school student is even able to sign up for the standardized tests. To answer this question, there is not an age limit on the ACT or SAT tests. There are additional registration processes for students under the age of 13. If you are questioning if your middle school or younger high school student is ready to take the ACT or SAT test, he or she may not be ready for college courses either. 

College Now admission requirements are the same as Cedarville University’s incoming freshman admission requirements. Standardized tests are an effective evaluation for colleges to determine academic readiness. As I mentioned earlier, dual credit opportunities open college courses to younger populations, yet many young students do not have an abundance of high school level courses. A standardized test assists college admissions teams with a tool to identify the student’s full understanding and knowledge of English, math, reading, and science. If a student meets or exceeds the minimum test scores, we can not only evaluate admissions, but also determine what courses to register the student for. However, the test is only one aspect of the admission process. A 3.0 unweighted GPA in college-preparatory course work through the end of the most recent term prior to enrollment is also required. Cedarville’s admission requirements also focus on the student’s spiritual journey with the applicant’s clear testimony of personal faith in Jesus Christ and evidence of a consistent Christian lifestyle. 

An applicant needs to demonstrate excellence in academic progress to be considered by the University. One item alone is not the deciding factor for admission. If your student is interested in taking college courses while in high school, encourage them to take the ACT or SAT. If their score is not at school minimum requirements, schedule to take the test again. Only the highest test score will be used.

Not sure which test to take? Stay tuned, we will address the differences in the ACT and SAT in a future blog post.

Posted in Admissions College Now