APPLYING TEST OPTIONAL? GOOD NEWS…AND A REALITY CHECK
Now, we have a new digital, adaptive SAT. There is a great deal of information about it at this link from Compass https://www.compassprep.com/digital_sat/ and in my students' standardized testing file in the Less College Stress system. I hope that students find this new test comfortable to take, but everyone should try it out to see if they prefer using pencil and paper vs. testing on the computer. (That hadn't occurred to me, but I heard it from two students.) I can always provide free practice tests for my students; they receive diagnostic results back that show their strong areas and where they may need extra help.
The ACT is unchanged--for now. I still encourage all students to test, helping them understand that their test scores may be helpful at some colleges and not at others. We pick and choose where it's beneficial to submit them based on data and information I've gotten from admissions offices.
Fortunately, roughly 80% of colleges are officially test optional. Despite this, test scores remain a factor in admissions at most highly selective universities. Admissions officers report that there is a decrease in the importance of test scores overall and expect this trend to continue (though an excellent test score still makes a difference).
However, without standardized test scores as a metric for evaluation, highly selective colleges must focus more on an applicant’s academic accomplishment (choosing the highest rigor and earning A's), intellectual curiosity, and commitment to social good.
*A survey by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) noted that competitive colleges “have many applicants with similarly high grades and test scores, and therefore tend to consider a broader range of factors, including positive character traits and a commitment to improving their communities.”
Colleges are eager to admit students who engage in activities that show a commitment to the common good. Looking for ways to serve others that resonate with you? Ask me for ideas.