Do you have a higher chance at being accepted into a college by submitting the ACT/SAT if that school is test-optional?Answered
If a school is test-optional, would they consider your application more if you send a good test score anyway? Is it a good idea to send a score to a test-optional college?
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In university admissions, ACT/SAT scores are just one component of the application review process. Not having them does not mean that your application will not be considered; however, submitting strong test scores can improve the strength of your application.
Strong ACT/SAT scores can help compensate for potentially weaker portions of your application. For example, if your grades are a bit lower than the mid-50 at colleges you are applying to, strong test scores can prove to the college that you still know the material and are prepared for the rigor of college coursework.
This year has been one of the most competitive years in college admissions thus far, which is why test scores can help distinguish qualified applications. That said, colleges understand that many students do not have scores to submit, so your application will still be reviewed without test scores.
If you have already taken other types of tests (AP tests, IB tests, SAT IIs, etc.), this can also show colleges what you have learned and how academically prepared you are without the need for taking the ACT/SAT or submitting scores.
As far as whether it is a good idea to send a score to a test-optional college, CollegeVine recommends submitting a score if your SAT score falls within 60 points of the 25th percentile or if your ACT score falls within 3 points of the 25th percentile. This is, in part, because CollegeVine predicts slightly lower test score averages (mid-50) this year due to covid. Some students are unable to take the test at all, and some are not able to take it more than once.
I recommend building your school list on CollegeVine and then inputting your test scores on the CollegeVine chancing profile. Then, when you go to look at your school list, CollegeVine will show you your chances of admission at a particular college or university with your test score and then without your test score. This will give you an idea of whether or not your test scores will benefit your in the admissions process or not. If you haven't already taken the SAT or ACT, you can take a practice test and then upload the scores from that to the CollegeVine chancing profile for a rough idea.
As a side note, I want to point out that some universities are test bling (instead of test optional), meaning that the university will not consider test scores even if they are submitted. In this case, having a high or even perfect test score will not benefit you in the admissions process.
For more information from CollegeVine that may be useful, here is a helpful article: https://blog.collegevine.com/test-optional-coronavirus-policies/
It's tempting to decide on your own not to send your test scores to the test-optional schools you're applying to, but before you do, consider why you don't want to send your test scores. Even if a school has gone test-optional, that does not mean all the other expectations have been lowered. In reality, since they have less detail about you to go on, they'll be analyzing other aspects of your application more closely.
This means that whether or not you can submit your scores to a test-optional school varies on the school. Typically, if you have a test score in the 50th percentile or higher than the school’s average admitted student, you should submit your score.
If your scores are below the 50th percentile but your application package is otherwise good, you might consider not submitting them
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