Submitting Test Scores to Test-Optional Schools?
I am going into my senior year of high school. I am wondering if sending in test scores to competitive test-optional schools will help me get accepted? There are some schools going test-optional this year that typically have extremely high average test scores. If my test score doesn't match up to their average students in a usual year, but everything else matches up, maybe simply don't submit my score?
Thanks so much!
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Yes, you have the right idea. The way test-optional policies work is that it benefits the students who submit test scores but also gives a chance to people who either didn’t make the cutoff or couldn’t sit for the exam since now it’s not a requirement for admissions. My recommendation is if you are scoring below in the 25% percentile (below “below average”) then don’t submit your score. Unless you can get your score up to at least a slightly below average test score, then submitting a test score will only hurt you. I.E. for an ivy league like Brown which went test optional this year, I wouldn’t submit any SAT score below like a 1500-1520 because then you will just look under qualified.
If you don't have good ACT/SAT/SAT IIs then don't submit them. How I calculate good test scores going forward is different than most people who use the middle 50%. That only works if the college you are applying to absolutely requires stats. If everyone has to submit a stat, then the college can say that the middle 50% is like 1440/1570, 32/35 because they collect actual scores from everyone. But it can still get muddled up because they might not count students that get accepted but deferred for a semester or a year as in the case of USC, Cornell. Now that every top college is SAT/ACT free (except MIT), we have to look at 2 things. 1.) What is the correct discount rate you give to colleges who have a history of being test-optional because their SAT/ACT are artificially inflated because they only post the results of students submitting scores I'm not a statistician but some people have gone on the record to say that student who does not submit have test scores about 100-125 SAT points lower or 2-3 points lower on the ACT. So if the average is 1510/34 for a school, the students who don't report have scores that more like 1400/31 something like that. Since we know from the current CDS how many students submit SAT/ACT scores you can discount that percentage and get a more accurate avg SAT/ACT score which might be like 1460/33. Schools that are trad.test-optional might be UChicago/Bowdoin. 2.) You can also make the future assumption that since all elite colleges are test-optional (sans MIT) that more students will be applying to reach schools from all categories. So a student in the top 5% might have more reach schools as well as those in top 10%, top 25%, etc. How many more applicants will the Ivys get next cycle is unknown but some people think it could be 10%-15% more. This is good for the Ivys because even with a lower yield rate they will be able to fill their spots without having to go to the waitlist. Now near Ivys and many top 50 colleges will have to rely on waitlist more than previous years. Given the increased test-optional applicants I would assume that one could apply a similar discount to the average SAT/ACT for the Class of 2025. There is no possibility that the middle 50% is going to remain constant or go up as it has been. I anticipate that it will look that way on the future CDS and PRs and announcements however it will be artificially inflated by all the applicants not submitting test scores. So if you are applying to Brown and last year's middle 50% was 1440/1570, I think the Class of 2025 real scores is going to shift downward to 1410-1540 (privately) because perhaps 20% or more will not be submitting test scores. I would caution submitting if your SAT/ACT scores were not above 1410/31 to that kind of school which would be it at the lower 25% bound. If you had a 1460-1490 and a 33/34, you would be in good shape. The caveat is this is only for the 2025 Cycle unless test-optional is extended.