So..., the SAT's... The SAT's are the epitome of the product of a capitalistic society. If I could have applied to colleges without having to take the SAT, sign me up! Fortunately, for the class of 2021 you don't need to take the SAT's for some (perhaps a majority) of colleges this application season. Here is a link that lays out all of the colleges that are resorting to a test-optional or no-test option this application cycle.
IF YOU HAVE A +1450 DO NOT READ THIS, YOU WILL ONLY WASTE YOUR TIME, I WOULD RECOMMEND READING THE OTHER MINI GUIDES, YOU ARE FINE.
Briefly, why do I say that "the SAT's are the epitome of the product of a capitalistic society?" Well, the SAT favors students who are fortunate enough to have a quality and consecutive education that adequately delivers the material seen on the SAT. While, it inadvertently works against students who come from low-income families that need to work twice as hard, say, they don't have access to all the AP classes another school may offer. Some schools don't even offer AP, and AP is largely aligned with the SAT curriculum, so if you are taking AP classes good for you, but more on the subject later. Don't let this discourage you, however, if you're not performing well enough, whether you're from a slightly-competitive public high school or substandard charter school, like I.
SCORES ARE NOT THE WHOLE STORY
At any rate, the SAT's. I took the SAT three times! The first time I got a 1100, yes really. You can imagine that when I saw this I was majorly disappointed — to say the least. Before taking the SAT's I was thinking about "top-tier" schools like Emory, UC Berkeley, UCLA, even Brown, for example. But after receiving my scores I felt subpar and discouraged from even applying to state school. If you're reading this and have a score you are not happy with, you are making the right decision by researching all the possibilities and experiences. However, don't spend eight hours a day like I did.
After receiving this score, I watched countless YouTube videos of "HOW I GOT INTO HARVARD WITH A 1100" or something along those lines. But the unfortunate truth, for the optimum chances of even being considered by these colleges you need a decent score. And by a decent score I mean anywhere from a 1050-1400. But don't think a 1050 will suffice, unfortunately, in only some instances this will do if you are EXTRAORDINARY, I mean, you're all extraordinary but you know what I mean, like the cured-cancer-and-world-hunger-type.
Aim for the highest score possible!!! If you are ambitious enough you can do it!
HOW TO STUDY
I will only go over this briefly, KHAN ACADEMY KHAN ACADEMY KHAN ACADEMY. I purchased way too many supplemental study guides that I never opened. Trust me, you do NOT need to buy that $20 grammar workbook. Consistent studying from Khan Academy will go a LONG way.
Do not obsess over your score like I did. I took it a last time and got a 1300 super-score. I thought I had missed all my chances of ever getting into a school like UC Berkeley, but it just goes to show that scores are not everything. And I am sure, if you write better than average essays they will look your way!