Post by Jean Haskins

It seems like every day, we hear about another college or university going “test optional”.  When we first started hearing about it, we honestly didn’t think much of it.

It wasn’t until we heard about the University of Chicago, currently ranked #6 in National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, going test optional that we really started to get curious.

Questions to Ask Yourself when a College says they are “Test Optional”

What was causing this?

Why were colleges and universities adopting this policy?

What will they use to replace the test?

Is the decision driven by altruistic motives or is there something to be gained by those adopting this policy?

What We Discovered

As our team dove farther and farther into this, we realized that while those questions were important, there is one that we all felt was more important than any other – WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR STUDENTS PREPARING FOR COLLEGE?

It’s important to understand that colleges and universities didn’t get together and unilaterally agree on what “test optional” means.  “Test optional” means something different for nearly every college and university across the country.

A recent article we came across pointed out that a large number of these schools actually do require students to submit test scores if certain criteria, which varies from school to school, are not met.

Admissions is More Selective

Another important point is that while these schools have adopted this test optional policy, many of them have become more selective than they were prior to the shift.  The University of Chicago’s class of 2023 SAT average went UP by almost 15 points and has the highest standardized test scores in the school’s history!

The Moral of the Story?

Always read the fine print for every college you’re interested in attending! You should be checking your options and aiming for what they require. Work smarter and not harder. You want to ensure you’re not wasting your high school career and investing time towards something that won’t get you where you want to go.

What is one thing you are doing now towards your college admissions? Tell us more in the comments below!