The Test Score Dilemma

Students currently applying to colleges are in an unusual situation, a scenario past applicants have only dreamed of.  Most colleges are not requiring ACT or SAT test scores.  The inability to access testing as a result of COVID-19 has forced colleges typically requiring test scores to take a more holistic approach to evaluating college applications and adopt a new test optional admissions policy.  So what should students who took college admissions tests prior to COVID do?  

Since not all colleges have decided to go test optional, start by checking to see what the test policy is for each college to which your child plans to apply.  This should also include looking at test requirements for different majors.  For example, Georgetown still requires SAT or ACT scores but in lieu of SAT Subject Tests, are willing to accept AP test scores.  The Fashion Institute of Technology does not require SAT scores for admissions but requires them upon acceptance.  Also check on specific majors such as nursing and engineering which may also have testing requirements.  

If the colleges on your child’s list do not require any test scores, how do you decide whether or not to submit scores?  Look at the average test scores for each college, if your child’s test score meets or exceeds the average test score of students accepted, then you should submit test scores.  If the test scores are lower than scores of students accepted in previous years, it is best to go test optional.  If you are on the fence, rather than leaving it to the toss of a coin, call the admissions office and present your situation.  

Some states are still offering opportunities for students to take the SAT and ACT.  Given the pandemic, as a family you and your future college student will need to decide if testing is a possibility.  If your child applied early action, you may be thinking why do we need scores now?  Scores can still be used for regular decision deadlines which typically fall in January.  Scores may also be useful if for some reason, your child is deferred from early action. Colleges that defer students are looking for additional information to support a student’s application such as mid-year grades or standardized test scores.  Regardless of whether or not testing is an option, now is a great time to remind your teen who is in their final year of high school that senioritis is not an option, grades carry just as much weight during senior year.

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