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2 months ago
Admissions Advice

OPTIONAL TEST SCORES
Answered

I AM FROM INDIA AND I AM HAVING FINANCIAL TROUBLE IN GIVING SAT EXAMINATION SO I AM OPTING NOT TO SUBMIT SAT EXAM WILL IT REDUCE MY CHANCES TO GET IN USA COLLEGES, OR MY NATIONAL LEVEL EXAM SUCH AS BOARD EXAMS WILL BALANCE IT.

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5 answers

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Accepted Answer
2 months ago

It will not reduce your chances, however, the test scores can help. You can explain your financial situation and it should not effect you.

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2 months ago[edited]

Whether you are Indian, American or Chinese, or European, not submitting a competitive ACT or SAT test result will reduce your chances for admission to an American college. Last year, students who submitted standardized test scores, in general, were admitted more than those who didn't. On one hand, you had many applicants applying early to MIT and Georgetown with test scores (between 90-93%), and you had about 3/4s applying to Ivys like UPenn, Harvard with test scores, and maybe 56% applying to Duke with a test score. Even though they were optional, most applicants at good schools already had taken the SAT or ACT at least once before the pandemic affected test centers. It's clear that despite the propaganda in higher education that not submitting will not hurt your chances, the evidence point in the opposite direction. When colleges hide behind the term "holistic review", it really only means that they will review your application holistically in the context of whether you are a good fit for them, not if they are a good fit for your stats, academic index, and other attributes. Remember, all college want to get as MANY applicants as possible because it pushes up their demand and lowers their admit rates which make their rankings go up. So what the recruiting team is doing is marketing the heck of the school, but the admissions committee is doing the opposite, they are just cherry-picking the best students out of a bigger, wider, deeper pool. I'm not being cynical, I'm just pointing out that colleges are at the end of the day a business, and most of the best schools are private institutions so they make up their own private rules about who gets in and who doesn't.

I wrote this discussion post about 3 months ago on why you should still submit test scores even though 95% of colleges do not require them.

https://www.collegevine.com/questions/17608/should-you-submit-a-test-score-this-cycle-even-though-95-of-schools-are-test-optional

And this other discussion post on whether submitting test scores improves your chances of getting in based on Class of 2025 admit data

https://www.collegevine.com/questions/17393/does-applying-with-an-act-sat-improve-your-admission-chances

I'm assuming you are applying for financial aid as well and for International students that need a full-tuition or most of their college expenses paid, there are not too many options except to apply to Top Ivys, Elites, and some Top Liberal Arts colleges. You already are aware of that I assume.

You can mention your national level exam in the additional notes of the Common App or Coalition app but keep in mind none of the American colleges require this information and only some of them will actually know any details of what the test involves or what's a good score is for Indians. Therefore don't expect an admissions officer to give you full or partial credit for taking an Indian aptitude test.

You are not only competing with Americans and other students from all over the world but with very well prepared Indians who have taken APs, IBs, perhaps even online college courses as well as having Test scores, so unless your application is complete and has top marks for Grades, Course Rigor, ECs, Essays, Recommendations, now is the time to make any application strategy changes.

Good luck.

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2 months ago

I think it really depends on the college and whether they are test blind or test optional. But if you are having financial trouble, you should be able to explain that in your application.

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2 months ago

No, applying test optional will not reduce your chances, but ultimately it will depend on each institution. I asked the specific colleges I am applying to, and they said that if you couldn't take the SAT or ACT or if you feel like your scores don't reflect you, then don't submit them. Don't stress about it too much, your scores reflect how well you did on one day; your transcript is more valuable because that shows how you have progressed over 4 years, not one day.

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2 months ago

Hi! I honestly thing it is going to vary on the college. You will have to do your research to see if the school is test optional (meaning that it is just not required, but doesn't mean it won't necessarily work against you if you don't submit it), or if they are truly 100% test optional and literally won't count it against you.

Another thought, have you looked into a fee waiver for SAT score submissions? I know that they are a thing in the US, but I'm unsure about internationally. Just a thought! Hope this helps, good luck :)

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