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What Does Test-Optional Mean for Students?

Every day for the past two weeks, another college has announced that they will be test-optional for the high school graduating class of 2022. If you have a junior, you’re probably wondering, “should they take the SAT or ACT?” For many students, the answer is, yes – you should at least consider taking the tests. Whether or not the scores should be or will be submitted depends on a variety of factors. 

Test-optional policies are an opportunity for you, your child and your college counselor to decide if and how a standardized test can best support your child’s application. Scores can be withheld if they will not help. However, by not taking the test at all, students may be preemptively eliminating an important asset in your application. Test scores have the potential to show colleges that students are academically prepared and competitive, at a more selective school. They can also help to earn a merit scholarship. 

Here are a few responses to some FAQs: 

What’s going on with test-optional admissions right now?
Test-optional policies are not new. Many colleges were test-optional before COVID, but test-optional announcements are continuing due to the pandemic and massive test cancellations. Test-optional policies are back in the news now as many schools have extended their temporary policies due to the ongoing pandemic.

What does test-optional really mean?
With test-optional policies on the rise, informed college applicants need to understand what test-optional is and what it isn’t. A test-optional policy does not mean that ACT and SAT scores are not considered as part of the admissions decision, only that they are not required to submit an application. In other words: test-optional does not mean test-blind. Test-blind schools do not accept or consider standardized test scores at all. 

How will test-optional colleges look at my application if I do (or don’t) submit scores?
Over five hundred colleges and universities took a pledge through the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, stating that they would not penalize students who did not submit scores. 

What should my 11th Grader do now?
Stay the standardized testing course. If your child is not registered for a test yet, please do so soon and also get a diagnostic evaluation from a test-prep company to decide if the ACT or SAT is best. We recommend: https://www.firateducation.com/

If you have more questions as you start to plan, their tutors are exceptional and can help you to schedule a practice test and provide individualized guidance.

For a full list of test-optional colleges, see the link below: 

http://fairtest.org/university/optional

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