3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Test optional

If I apply test optional and someone else applies with a test score, is the score used to their advantage as a tiebreaker

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3 answers

3 years ago[edited]

The short answer is yes but not always. In general, applicants who submitted test scores last cycle had a clear advantage over those who didn't submit test scores. This is evidenced by the documented published stats I collected from various colleges.

Read these 2 CollegeVine Discussion posts:



Let's say there are 2 applicants from India for the most part they are very similar in stats, ECs, Essays, Recommendations, course rigor, intellectual vitality but 1 has high test scores and the other applied test-optional. It is less risky for the college to accept the applicant with test scores because they have shown that they can study for a test and achievability a threshold standard for say reading, writing, math, science. It doesn't mean that that student is smarter or will be more successful. But it ensures that that student will have great chances of keeping up with the course load and graduating on time.

If these 2 students' files go to the admissions committee for a vote, then 1 will get in and 1 will not. Each committee has a different amount of people, at some schools it might be 12 and at others 20. At committee, financial aid might come up at a college that is need-aware. So let's say the student with the test score comes from a middle-class family and needs $45,000 per year to attend the school but the student without the test score comes from a wealthy family and they can pay full tuition, room, and board. Depending on the college's goals and agenda, they just might do the opposite and accept the applicant who can pay full fare. So you see, it's not something someone can give a yes or no answer with any certainty. I will say if both applicants share the same common denominators across all attributes except tests scores, then the test submitter has an advantage.

I hope this makes sense to you.

3 years ago

From the virtual programs I had with many colleges, I'll say no, colleges read your test-optional application as though there is nothing like tests that should be added to applications.

3 years ago

Yes mostly. In most cases, if your test scores are within their range you should submit them. You can calculate your chances with and without your scores. Hope this is helpful!

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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