Test-Optional Policies Influence Whether Students Prepare for SAT(R) / ACT(R) Tests
KD College Prep has found that students are struggling to make SAT testing decisions as colleges continue to adapt their admissions policies with the pandemic coming to an end. Some colleges have returned to requiring test scores, while most schools consider scores only if the student chooses to submit them.
A test-optional admissions policy typically means that a college does not require a SAT(R) or ACT(R) test score for general admittance. However, most test-optional colleges will still consider test scores if a student chooses to send them.
The shift away from test-required admissions resulted in soaring application numbers in recent years. Columbia University saw a 51 percent increase in applications in 2022, while Harvard University received a 41 percent increase.
Some colleges have returned to requiring test scores once again for first-year admission. For the 2022-2023 application cycle, schools like MIT, Georgetown University, and Georgia Tech announced that they would restore the test score requirement.
In a written statement, MIT Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services Stu Schmill said that research showed that test scores help “better assess the academic preparedness of all applicants, and also help us identify socioeconomically disadvantaged students who lack access to advanced coursework or other enrichment opportunities that would otherwise demonstrate their readiness for MIT”.
Other colleges have extended test-optional policies through the 2023-2024 admissions cycle. However, phrases like “test-optional, but test recommended” and “tests considered but not required” have appeared on many college admissions websites, which indicate what test-optional really means for applicants.
In some cases, submitting a test score may increase a student’s chances of admittance to a test-optional college. For example, in 2021 Emory University admitted a greater percentage of students who submitted test scores than those who did not.
In contrast, a few colleges do not review test scores at all during the admissions process. Many categorize these colleges as “test blind.” This category includes some well-known names like the University of Chicago and all University of California schools.
As admissions at the nation’s most respected institutions grow more competitive, it is not uncommon for students to apply to up to 7-10 colleges. For most, the college list includes at least one test-optional or test-required college.
KD College Prep has researched these test-optional policies at colleges and universities to provide effective student counseling services. They guide students through the difficult decision-making process of whether or not to take the SAT and ACT tests in light of the changing test-optional policies.
“Any student with competitive college goals (or even somewhat ambitious, yet undetermined, goals) should follow a plan that will prepare them for the most favorable college application possible at each target school. To be safe and fully prepared, that would include a competitive test score, along with your best grades, activities, and accomplishments” said David Dillard, CEO of KD College Prep.
SAT(R) is a trademark registered and/or owned by the College Board. ACT(R) is the registered trademark of ACT, Inc. All university names and/or marks are owned by their respective institutions. KD College Prep has no affiliation with these institutions and KD College Prep is not approved or endorsed by them.
CONTACT: Name: David Dillard Organization: KD College Prep Address: 621 TX 121 Suite 450 Coppell, TX 75019, United States Phone: (972) 906-8825
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