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Test-Optional Pendulum Swinging?

There are roughly 2,000 test-optional or test-blind colleges and universities presently.

As followers of this blog know, the test-optional movement was already gaining momentum pre-pandemic then it took a big jump during and post-pandemic.

However, there are some indications that the pendulum may be swinging back towards requiring SAT and ACT scores. This recent article from The NY Times offers some pretty salient points as to why colleges may reconsider their test-optional policies. Namely, with no other standardized measurement to compare applicants, colleges may start to re-rely on test scores.

Yes, ACT and SAT test scores correlate to race, income level and education. But so do extracurricular activities, recommendation letters and college essays.

So will we see more schools require test scores in the future? Time will only tell. But the narratives seem to be evolving.

We, at CROSSWALK, remind our clients of the following:

  • More admission opportunities and scholarships go to those who submit test scores. Yes, there is some nuance here but even conservative estimates show that as much as 25% of scholarships go to those who submit test scores.

  • Test-optional is not properly branded. It should be called "submission-optional" so that all students should take an SAT or ACT and then, based on the score, determine if they should exercise their option to submit.

No matter which way the pendulum swings, if a student is considering colleges that are not test-blind, the recommended plan is to:

  1. Take an SAT and/or ACT (practice or official).

  2. See if the score is in the ballpark of the school(s) the student is considering.

  3. Decide to submit the score or decide if they want to spend the time and energy to work improve a score.

Not taking the SAT or ACT because it is branded as "optional" means a student would lose a lever to pull for their college admissions and scholarship chances.

If you need help with your testing lever, contact CROSSWALK.

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