will applying to schools that are test-optional without sat/act scores lower my chances of getting in?Answered
i'm in the c/o 2022 and am unable to take the sat because i don't want to risk my or my family's health during covid. will applying to schools without any sat/act/subject tests lower my chances?
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The best way I can use an analogy to describe the opportunity is to use baking a cake in a cake contest. If all schools accept any recipe and then post COVID-19, schools decided to expand their thinking to say "you will not be penalized if you submit a cake that is gluten-free or dairy-free", then you have to decide on how good your ability to bake the best cake is. If traditional cakes have won the contest historically but now all schools are open to different tastes and textures and consistency, then you need to decide if you are going to submit your gluten and dairy-free cake or stick to the normal submission. My other analogy might be easier to comprehend which is that if a typical cake recipe has 15 main ingredients and there is a butter shortage so the schools are saying it's okay to skip the butter because we understand the shortage and you won't be penalized for telling us we are evaluating your cake without butter. The problem is that 99% of colleges never had a test-optional admissions cycle before so they still have the taste of "butter" on their palate. Can we genuinely trust them to be 100% objective to evaluate you without a test score sans butter? I want to believe so but I'm on the fence about this.
For me, failure was not an option so in July and August 2020, I masked up and took my ACT in the middle of the pandemic and during the Oregon fires which the air quality was giving me headaches. I'm not sure I would have been accepted by Columbia University without test scores so I'm glad I had a 35 ACT to submit with my application. Personally, I think if you have a great test score to submit, it can only help you and not hurt you. But if you have no test score to submit then the rest of your application has to be top-notch with no gaps or problem areas. I think super high test scores are like insurance policies for the school where they don't need one, but it's nice to know the person they are admitted to has a high aptitude to perform and increases the probabilities that they will be able to complete college coursework effectively. (At least that's the logic I read from the MIT admissions office).
While your concern is real, I think if you sign up for either the ACT or SAT during June, July, August, or September, you should be able to take one or more test types 2 times and I feel that it will very safe by summer. According to the vaccination model I created, we should be 80%+ single dosed by June 7th and 40-50% of herd immunity by June 7th. If you mask up you should be fine. But make sure you take your practice tests with a mask because that will be more realistic to the real-world setting. You need to feel super chill and comfortable even with the mask on for 4 hours.
Good luck and good luck to all the other juniors that are in the same situation.
I would suggest looking at it more like applying to schools with your SAT/ACT scores will increase your chances. I recommend looking at your chancing profile. But t's understandable not to take the SAT right now. However, if your class of 2022, I think there'll be an opportunity to take the SAT next school year before apps that will be safe, so don't worry too much.
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