“Test-Optional” is Not For Everyone


As almost every college across the country has, smartly, adjusted their standardized testing requirements for the Class of 2021 (high school, college Class of 2025), students and parents are either jumping for joy at the “test-optional” admission requirement or scratching their heads. 

Are Harvard, Duke and Princeton REALLY not going to consider SATs and ACTs for admission?

Well, that’s what they’re saying and that’s what I want to believe, but there’s a wrinkle that you and your child need to consider.

If your child could have taken a standardized test before spring 2020 or if your child can still take one later in the fall - August (SAT), September (ACT, SAT), October (ACT, SAT), November (SAT), December (ACT, SAT) - I believe some colleges will expect them to have done so. 


Because colleges want as many data points for admission as possible. 

If your child does not submit a standardized test score, there better be a reason. And if a college thinks that your child could have taken it at some point, they may hold that against them. It could be perceived as trying to take advantage of the system.

All things are NOT equal, and the initial premise for going test-optional was really for students who literally could not take the test in the spring and cannot take the test in fall. COVID has disrupted lives in ways that were previously unimaginable, and I’m glad that colleges are showing compassion for those who may have found taking the test a tremendous burden. But that’s not everyone. 

If your school, zip code or privilege suggests that your child could have taken it somewhere, somehow, at some time, they will want your tests.


Because other applicants, peers, competitors, etc will have found a way.

And that’s a good thing! Because now your child has provided an additional data point that many applicants will not have.

My advice is to have your child prepare for a late summer or fall test and still submit as much as they can. 


Because colleges will appreciate the data point, initiative, and perseverance.

Need help? College essay writing is not easy and we know that students and parents have questions about how to approach the process. Thankfully, we’re offering the College Application Action Plan that can help your Class of 2021 child tackle all elements of the personal writing process. Click here, if you’re interested. 

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