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Navigating ACT/SAT in a Test-Optional Landscape

What is a “test-optional” college admissions policy? It’s actually quite simple. A test-optional policy means that you don’t have to submit your standardized test scores in order to be considered for admission into the school. This can be an attractive option for students who want to avoid the stress of taking tests or who feel that their standardized test scores do not accurately reflect their academic abilities. In this blog post, we will discuss what criteria colleges use when making decisions about submitting scores, as well as some strategies for submitting scores if you choose to do so.

There are a few different reasons why a college might choose to adopt a test-optional policy. First, they may believe that standardized tests are not an accurate measure of a student’s academic abilities. Second, they may want to increase diversity on their campus. They do so by making the admissions process more accessible to students from different backgrounds. And finally, they may want to reduce the amount of stress associated with the college admissions process. Check out Fairest Test to learn about test-optional admissions.

Criteria Colleges Use

When deciding whether or not to submit your standardized test scores, it’s important to understand the criteria that colleges use when making their decisions. Each school is different, but there are a few general guidelines that you can keep in mind. First, schools will generally only consider your scores if they are high enough to improve your chances of admission. So, if your test scores are lower than your grades and other accomplishments, it’s likely that the school will not consider them. Second, schools will also take into account how well you have done in courses that are similar to the content on the standardized tests. So, if you have taken challenging courses and done well in them, the school may still consider your application even if your test scores are not as high as they could be.

Strategies to Improve Your Chances

If you do decide to submit your standardized test scores, there are a few strategies that you can use to improve your chances of admission. First, you will want to get a baseline practice score for your ACT or SAT. Based off of that create a strategic test prep plan. College admissions committees generally place more weight on a student’s highest score.  It’s wise to prepare in a way where you can get the best results possible. Second, ensure that your scores align with the rest of your application. If your grades and other accomplishments are significantly higher than your test scores, the school may wonder why that is. Finally, make sure to research the specific policies of the schools you’re interested in. It’s essential to be aware of those before you apply.  We encourage students to look at the Common Data set to get information disclosed directly from the College or University.

The bottom line is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether or not to submit your standardized test scores. The decision depends on a variety of factors, including the specific policies of the schools you’re interested in and your academic strengths and weaknesses. However, by keeping these general guidelines in mind, you can make an informed decision that will improve your chances of getting into the school of your choice.

For more information about test prep support reach out to Bill Hutson at Mindfish Test Prep.  The college admission process is stressful, let Laura Barr and her team help, Tell Us About Your Story.