College entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT are designed to measure a student's ability to do college-level work and are required by most four year schools and some two-year schools. These standardized scores give colleges a way to compare students from different educational backgrounds.
Colleges never base their admissions decisions solely on test results. The quality of courses and the grades received are the most important factors. Interviews, recommendations, and extracurricular activities may also play a part in the process. The vast majority of colleges use both academic and non-academic criteria when determining admissions.
Students participating in the AP Program while in high school may be eligible to earn college credit at participating institutions.