In what situations should I consider going test-optional for elite colleges?
I'm a rising senior and have not done the SAT yet. I live in El Salvador, and or now the only sure test date is in October and I want to apply early to an elite college.
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I suggest that if your SAT score ends up being around the average or higher than the average SAT score for that school, you submit it. If not, it would be better not to submit it!
In terms of elite colleges, the only ones that are fully SAT/ACT test optional are UChig/University of Chicago, Cornell, and the University of California UC system (UCLA, UCBerkeley, etc..). I agree that you should prepare for and take the test just in case but if you don’t hit at least a 1500 you should not submit it. These schools, while they don’t require standardized tests for admissions, still want to see that you take the test, so if you do well and submit it it will give you an admissions boost.
Because many colleges are going test-optional due to the pandemic, it really is up to you. I've learned that the UC system including schools like UPenn, UChicago, Harvard, Cornell, and other schools, has waived that requirement (you can find a more extensive list online). I would suggest you take the test in October, and see what your results are. If you don't think that those scores accurately represent your academic abilities, then I would recommend you to not submit them. However, they do provide more insight into your profile. I've searched that also most schools will accept October submissions for early decisions, such as the Ivy-League schools. Hope this helps!
The only schools that are elite that are test optional are the U California system with UCLA and Berkeley included. All of the other top 25 or so as of this moment are not test optional but is playing on waiting and seeing. I believe more concrete info is going to be announced by July. So going test optional is not really a good idea for elite schools.
But many schools are test optional and if you go to CommonApp you can do the Find My College search and select test optional. And research from there.
You more or less need SAT or ACT for top 25 schools but some schools are test flexible such as Drake which offers two paths in admissions replacing tests with an interview.
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