Let’s start with the question that may be at the forefront of many students’ minds: how many times to I have to suffer through four hours of high-stakes multiple choice? Unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be) there is no upper limit. Although the University of Pittsburgh website recommends that students take the test once in the spring of their junior year and once in the fall of their senior year, admissions counselors at both Penn State and Gettysburg said that they do not care how many times students take the test--whichever test they choose.
Which brings us to another common dilemma: SAT or ACT? To answer this question, use the guidelines listed on the website of each school you are interested in applying to. If the website lists both, rest assured that there’s no unspoken preference for one test over the other (don’t worry, we asked). Students should take whichever test they’re more comfortable with, or they can try both.
If you’ve already submitted your application but want to take the test again, don’t worry. Gettysburg, Penn State, and UPenn counselors all said that they will look at all scores submitted by the deadlines posted on their respective websites, even if they already looked at a student’s application. Deadlines can vary, however, and the deadline for the application and the deadline for the last eligible test date may be different. Gettysburg and Penn State counselors both said they would look at any scores submitted prior to the posted application deadline. UPenn, on the other hand, has separate deadlines for applications and test scores, both of which can be found on the website.
We found the admissions counselors to be a very friendly and helpful bunch.Again, remember that they want to admit you, and they want to make your application process as smooth as possible. So if you’re still not sure, or if you have a question about standardized testing that wasn’t addressed here, just ask!