Test Optional – A Misconception

What do recent admissions policy changes really mean for students? Many U.S. universities have been announcing their new policy to be test optional for the next year or two to accommodate the students who have been unable to take the SAT or ACT tests this fall due to Covid-19 test cancellations.  Please keep in mind that test-optional does not mean test-blind and that taking the test, when possible, and sending in a good score is better than sending in no test results. In the latter case, the chance of being deferred from the early round to the regular round increases, especially given that schools have been online this spring and many final exams have been shortened or eliminate. Therefore, term 2 grades will not be carrying the same weight as in previous years. As well, when SAT and ACT results are not submitted, there will be more scrutiny on other factors such as the rigor of your coursework, your activities, leadership, recommendations, etc. – most of which have not gone unscathed by the Coronavirus situation we are all facing. Keep in mind that many of these now test-optional institutions still welcome and value strong scores in the admissions process, especially the more selective institutions. Here is a very detailed, informative, and data-driven webinar on this topic by one of my colleagues which is absolutely worth watching. It reinforces the fact that non-submitters are admitted to universities at lower rates and receive fewer merit scholarships: https://youtu.be/25G93wC1MYc    

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