Should you submit a test score this cycle even though 95% of schools are test-optional?
I've compiled a list of schools that will require or recommend submitting test scores this cycle. In addition, I've put together a list of what kinds of applicants should consider submitting a test score. Please feel free to comment below and share more names if you have other schools that require or recommend test scores.
List Of Colleges Requiring you to submit ACT/SAT
University Of Georgia
University of Florida
University of South Florida
Florida State University
WestPoint Military Academy
Annapolis Naval Academy
List of Colleges encouraging you to submit ACT/SAT
University of Washington
University of Michigan
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
University of New Mexico
University of Idaho
Who should submit a test score?
1.) Homeschooled applicants -
a.) Why? Because often they do not have the same depth and breadth of transcripts and other data points that other HS applicants have. Therefore, check with the colleges before applying because some colleges require home-schooled students to submit test scores regardless of being test-optional.
2.) International applicants
a.) Why? there may be gaps in their course rigor, ECs, or other academic data points.
b.) Applying as an International student is getting more and more competitive because they are competing with the growing market of other Int'l students and Americans for a limited amount of seats at the same schools. Therefore, check the colleges before applying because some will require test scores regardless of being test-optional
3.) And any HS applicant that doesn't have a complete transcript full of normal or traditional grades like A, B, C, D, F, or 60-100% grades.
a.) Why? Because a good test score shows evidence that that applicant may perform well at college.
4.) If you are applying to a dual degree program that is very difficult like a BS/MD program or the Wharton/Huntsman program or the UPenn School of Nursing.
a.) These programs are typically rigorous and hard to get into therefore you might want to submit a test score.
What is a good test score to submit?
Last year CV suggested that it was a good idea to submit ACT scores up to 3 points less than the 25% percentile and SAT scores up to 60 pts lower than the 25% percentile. So what CV was saying is that if the middle 50% range for College ABC was 1250-1410 for SAT and 26-31 for the ACT, then if you had an 1190 SAT or a 23 ACT score, you should submit it.
I don't think this applies any longer.
This is only my suggestion, not CVs so feel free to comment below.
Since I have shared evidence supporting that overall submitting tests scores improved the chances of getting admitted, I highly recommend doing so regardless of the test-optional policies. Approximately 2/3rds (+/-) of successful admits submitted tests scores last cycle so there is no new information to refute that doing so this cycle would not be as beneficial.
My loose guidelines are the following for different types of applicants.
-BIPOC/Low Income/Marginalized applicants - If you can find a way to sit and take either the ACT/SAT then try to get at least a 25% percentile score to submit. Even if it is right around the low end of the 50% range, submitting one would benefit you. So using that previous example, the low end would be 1250.
-Caucasians/Middle to Upper income - I would recommend that you aim for the middle 50% ACT or SAT score and submit that. So using the previous example, the middle would be 1330.
-Asian - Since the competition is fiercest for Asians (it doesn't matter if you are East Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, or others), I recommend that you aim for the upper 75% of the 50% middle range. So in my previous example the 1410 score. And if you are applying to Ivy's/Elite and their middle is 1500-1560, 34-35 ACT then you want a 1560+ plus SAT or 35+ACT.
This guideline would apply to Int'l students as well. So if your LatinA or Black, then aim for the 25% percentile score, if you are European, Canadian, Australian, NZ, White S.African, then aim for the 50% middle, and if you are from China, S.Korea, Japan, India, Pakistan, then aim for the 75% score.
For those of you that were not CV members last year and are new to the college admissions process, the increase in applications and resulting low acceptance rates were a shock to many HS seniors who thought they had a good chance to get into Top 30 schools. I'm only sharing this as a public service because I think some of you might not be as well informed as others about the possibility of the same thing happening in the next 2 cycles.
It's July, so you should all have plenty of time to prepare for either the ACT or SAT and register for at least 2 test dates before you submit your college applications. Good luck 🤞.
Just wanted to pop in and say this is great post! I always enjoy reading your take on things. Keep up the good work!
To keep this community safe and supportive:
- Be kind and respectful!
- Keep posts relevant to college admissions and high school.
- Don’t ask “chance-me” questions. Use CollegeVine’s chancing instead!