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Test-Optional through 2023…

As I build lists for my 2024 grads, I’ve been for waiting for the verdict on test score requirements, particularly from colleges that did three year pilot programs beginning in 2020. While most colleges are test optional and likely will remain that way, we don’t know for sure when the policy isn’t stated on their websites. It’s likely that colleges will not reveal policies until the new year. That throws yet another stressful “unknown” into list building.

I have a few students who do not plan to take a standardized test. Do they really have to worry about this? Well over 1000 colleges, including some of the most selective liberal arts colleges in the US, became test-optional long before the pandemic. There are reams of studies on whether test results are an accurate predictor of college success, and the belief of the education community at large is that they are not. So there are plenty of schools for students to apply to…it’s just that they may have their hearts set on schools which may end their test-optional policies.

Students who choose to test also face some difficult choices. Since nearly every college except for the Florida and Georgia publics, Georgetown, MIT, and the University of Tennessee became test-optional, submitted test scores have skewed higher. I feel badly advising students to not submit SAT scores in the 1400’s, but when I know that these scores are below a college’s 50% percentile, those scores will not help their odds of admission. We strategize, school by school, on where to submit, and where not.

I look forward to getting some answers. Which colleges will return to requiring test scores and which will remain test optional? When I find out, I’ll spread the word.



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