Test-Optional

Myth vs. Reality

Over the past year, there’s been a lot of talk about colleges becoming Test-Optional. We’re here to dispel the myths.

Test-Optional

Myth vs. Reality

Over the past year, there’s been a lot of talk about colleges becoming Test-Optional. We’re here to dispel the myths.

Myth #1

Test Optional makes the SAT and ACT obsolete.

Reality

Students who submit competitive scores gain a significant advantage over the competition.

No one ever signed up for test prep because they wanted to be average—they did it to get an edge over the competition. In that regard, there has never been a better time to stand out from the crowd.

Between two students with similar GPAs, extracurriculars, and letters of recommendation, the one who submits test scores in the college’s advertised range will always be preferred.

Reality

Students who submit competitive scores gain a significant advantage over the competition.

No one ever signed up for test prep because they wanted to be average; they did it to get an edge over the competition. In that regard, there has been no better time to stand out from the crowd.

Myth #2

Test Optional means colleges do not look at test scores.

Reality

Test-Optional doesn’t mean Test-Blind.

We’ve found that when most parents hear “test-optional” they think “test blind”, which means scores may be submitted, but they will not be reviewed by admissions staff to make an admission decision. Less than 1% of colleges in the country have test-blind policies, and most of these colleges are not selective.

Here’s what test-optional really means—while test scores are not required to apply, any scores that a student submits will be a determining factor in deciding whether to admit the student.

Myth #3

Students who do not submit scores are not disadvantaged in the admissions process.

Reality

No test scores communicates
low test scores

When a student applies without test scores, admissions counselors assume that the student does not have or is not capable of achieving high test scores. This is a reasonable assumption—if a student were capable of submitting high test scores, well, why wouldn’t they?

Colleges like data. Test scores provide colleges more information about a student, and helps them predict whether that student will thrive or falter at their institution. When you withhold this information, they logically assume that you have something to hide.

Myth #4

A high GPA is enough for students to get into college.

Reality

Grade inflation means SAT and ACT scores are more important than ever

High GPAs are a dime a dozen in today’s world, and the COVID pandemic has likely exacerbated grade inflation. Many high schools have sought to protect students’ GPAs with pass/fail policies that made it more difficult to get low grades, and this coming admissions cycle is sure to be rife with artificially high GPAs.

Simply put, a 4.5 GPA from a high school with a rigorous curriculum does not mean the same as a 4.5 from an underachieving school.

Applying to colleges with a strong SAT or ACT score sets apart academically rigorous students from students applying without test scores.

Where does your child stand?

Discover their baseline scores with one of our convenient diagnostic packages.

Where does your child stand?

Discover their baseline scores with one of our convenient diagnostic packages.