5 months ago
Admissions Advice

Will Selective Schools Be Test-Optional For The Class Of 2024?

Hi! Freshman here. With schools gradually following the test-optional trends throughout the United States, I was wondering if anyone believes if this will be temporary or permanent? Of course, I'm sure some less selective schools could possibly be permanently test-optional, but what about highly selective schools such as the Ivy Leagues?

As a follow up question, if you believe that schools such as the Ivy Leagues could potentially stay test-optional for the class of 2024, do you think still submitting an SAT score would increase my chances of admission? I have been studying for a couple months now (I know it is a bit soon, but I for some reason enjoy it), and I do not want my studying to go to waste. Any thoughts?

Thank you!


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Accepted Answer
5 months ago

It's hard to tell at this moment. For example in the past day, all public universities in Georgia will reinstate the SAT and ACT requirements for the next cycle. I think this will be a common trend among certain public schools because it's always easier to determine admits if the criteria are something they can point to like a test score.

I personally think that many Ivys and Top Elite colleges may keep the test-optional policy in place because of the positive optics and the fact they love having more applicants and lower admit rates without doing very much themselves. It's an all-or-nothing proposition at this point. I say the Top 50 schools are all test-optional, then I think either most of them will remain test-optional or they will all go back to standardized tests as a group. Otherwise, admit rates will be all over the place.

For applicants, it's actually worse in general for all the best schools to be test-optional because regardless of the policy, at least 2/3rd of successful applicants had test scores. In some cases, it was close to 90% of successful admits (MIT REA). The only level playing field that makes sense if all the best schools are test blind. But as long as they are test-optional, the most entitled applicants with $$$ resources and support will find a way to test prep for a 99% percentile score and travel to the test center to take it.

Standardized testing is a Billion dollar business so I don't envision CollegeBoard or ACT.org disappearing anytime soon. Testing and college admissions are like a symbiotic relationship between a host and a parasite. Colleges benefit from standardized testing because it gives them additional data points to support or deny certain applicants and it makes their ratings look good when they have more applicants and lower admit rates.

I think what will happen is that since the RD admit rates are miserably low, more and more applicants will be applying for Early Decision or Early Action because rather than a 3%-6% rate, they will apply when their chances are 8-18% or something like that. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if more elite schools follow UChicago and have multiple early decision tranches like EDI and EDII to push up their yield rates.

This is my prediction for the future of Ivies. Since they are very reluctant to build more dorms and expand their campuses to admit more freshmen, I think they may move to an ED lottery system. So if you want to apply to an Ivy, you rank up to 8 schools in the order of your preference like Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Brown, UPenn, Dartmouth, and Cornell. And the colleges determine who goes where by bidding on the students. All the decisions are binding so if you get picked or matched by Brown, you have to go there and you can't apply to any other schools. I think this is a much better system than everyone applying to 5 to 8 Ivys where some don't get into any and others get into all 8 but they waste 7 spots. And if you don't get matched by any of them, you can still apply to any of them for RD.

Hope you get my point about test scores and that you should continue to study for them and aim for a 99% percentile score.


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