ic S/general/checkmark circled Thanks for subscribing! Be on the lookout for our next newsletter.
ic S/general/checkmark circled College is saved to My Colleges.

Get Advice & Insights

Articles / Admissions / SAT's and Admission for Post-High School Applicant

May 26, 2020

SAT's and Admission for Post-High School Applicant

Question: I was a pretty good student in high school but with hardly any motivation. I didn't really think about going to college. I just wanted to work and make money. I graduated with a 3.4 gpa, but I never took the SAT. Now that I've tried the work world, I realize that without college I'll have a hard time being successful. I have two colleges in mind, but they both require the SAT. Is there any way to take the SAT after graduation, or are their other tests I could use for admissions to these colleges? Thanks!

You can certainly take the SAT after you’ve graduated from high school. Chances are, you will have to go back into a high school building to do soâ€"maybe even you own old schoolâ€"but there are test sites all over the world, so you will have lots of options, even if you’ve moved away from home.


You are wise to consider college, and you should take the SAT even if you missed the chance to do it at a more traditional time. Most colleges and universities do require them, and, while some may grant slack for those who are already out of school, many do not. Taking the SAT's is one of those thingsâ€"sort of like getting braces or chicken poxâ€"that only gets worse the further you are from childhood!

For all the registration information you need (dates, costs, test sites, practice questions, etc.) go to www.collegeboard.com. You'll see "Register for the SAT" right on the home page.

Alternatively, you can try the ACT, which is accepted by most every college that requires the SAT. Some students find this test more low-key or "user friendly" ... maybe just because there seems to be less hype surrounding it. See http://www.actstudent.org/ If you check out info about BOTH tests, you may decide that one is more comfortable--or convenient--for you.

You don't say how old you are--if you're recently out of high school or it's been a while since you graduated--but, in either case, colleges welcome "non-traditional students," so don't worry that your belated start will be held against you. In fact, when it's time to fill out applications, be sure to explain your situation in an essay or supplemental letter. Admission committees will want to hear your story, and they often find that "older" students are more focused and motivated than traditional-aged ones.

Moreover, if you're 24 or older and require financial aid, you can apply as an "independent student" so that your own income and assets--but not your parents--will be used to determine your likely aid awards.

Good luck to you as you take this big step.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

A-Z College Forums

Browse the College Forums
C1E9D4E7-C4C9-4B28-8946-8F441A6D62B3

Find Your Best Fit

Find your best fit college and track your favorite colleges.