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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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Test Optional Policies—at a Disadvantage?

I've noticed that a lot of colleges went test-optional recently. If I choose not to submit my test scores, will I be at a disadvantage compared to those who do submit scores? Would appreciate experiences and opinions!

6 months ago

It's an understandable concern, but rest assured that colleges that have adopted test-optional policies are genuinely trying to reduce the importance of standardized test scores in the admissions process and provide equal opportunities for all applicants.

When a college states that they're test-optional, it means they will review your application without penalizing you for not submitting test scores. Admissions officers understand that some students may not have access to standardized testing due to the pandemic or other circumstances, and they will primarily focus on the other aspects of your application. This could include your GPA, curriculum rigor, extracurricular involvement, essays, and letters of recommendation.

However, if you feel that your test scores are a strong part of your profile and could positively contribute to your application, you can still choose to submit them. But if your scores aren't what you hoped for or aren't representative of your academic abilities, then it's totally fine to leave them out.

Ultimately, the decision to submit test scores in a test-optional scenario depends on your personal circumstances and how competitive your application is as a whole. For example, if your SAT score is within or above the middle 50% range for your target schools, it might be advantageous to submit it. Conversely, if your score falls below this range, you probably won't be at a disadvantage by not submitting it.

So, don't worry too much about being at a disadvantage when applying to test-optional schools. Focus on showcasing your strengths and accomplishments through other parts of your application and making sure that all other components (like essays and extracurriculars) are as strong as possible.

6 months ago

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