Test-Optional Schools: What’s the Deal?
Do you dread standardized tests? If so, you may be intrigued by the possibility of avoiding the tests and applying to colleges that are test-optional. Should you worry that this will put you at a disadvantage?
In truth, a growing number of prestigious schools are becoming test-optional. These institutions don’t view the SAT® or ACT® as necessarily being the best predictor of academic success in college. They realize that your high school performance says a lot more about your aptitude, hard work, and intellect than a one-time test score.
Of course, if you choose not to submit your scores, you must recognize that the remaining facets of your application will all hold more weight. Your GPA becomes of utmost importance and your high school transcript will be heavily scrutinized. The rigor of your classwork is now the central barometer against which you’ll be measured.
Additionally, you should know that some colleges which are SAT/ACT optional may still ask you to submit other test scores. These could range from AP® or IB exams to SAT subject tests. Alternatively, you might be required to send in an academic essay, research project or portfolio in place of SATs/ACTs. You’ll want to make sure you have a strong sample on hand.
We must also mention that declining to submit your test scores could have an impact on your financial aid. Yes, many colleges say that they consider all applicants for merit aid. And that’s likely true. Nonetheless, some programs still reserve the biggest awards for students who have sent in their results.
Ultimately, if your test scores are on the weaker side, it still makes sense not to submit. And fear not – you won’t be hurting your chances of admissions. After all, you want your application to put you in the best possible light and truly reflect your academic capabilities.
SAT and AP are trademarks registered by the College Board; ACT is a registered trademark of ACT, Inc.
Princeton Review, April 22nd, 2020