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With schools going test optional now due to Coronavirus, are they ACTUALLY test optional?


Are they simply saying test optional to put students at ease? Admissions offices say not submitting a score will not hurt your chances but is that really true?


2 answers

answered on[edited]

I will copy and paste my answer from another question that I feel is very similar. Hopefully this helps you. TLDR is that test-optional gives a boost to people who do submit scores (good ones) but is neutral/no consequence for people who either weren’t able to take the exam or scored poorly. You not submitting a test score will give you a disatvantage especially if you are applying to elite colleges, but for the next 1-2 years (class 2021/2022) the SAT/ACT is going to have less weight anyway ince most colleges want to see what you did during quarantine, i.e. OUTSIDE of school.

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. Test-optional policies were really put into place to give an advantage to the students who take the exam. Sure, by not taking the SAT your chances will be lower than they would be otherwise, but honestly, I think you are fine even without it. Do yourself a favor and take one SAT practice test and see what you score. If you’re not above that below-average or 25th percentile score don’t even bother since it will take you a LOT of time and effort to raise your score and you might not even have time. If you don’t think you can get up to that ideal average or above average score by whenever you’re able to sit for the exam (if you can even still register; there aren’t a lot of seats left) don’t take it. It will look really bad if you submit a lower than ideal test score. Think of it this way- would you rather the college think you are academically not capable of their course load, or be neutral and have no indicator of the SAT? I think you should just see (hypothetically) what your score would be and go from there.

If you don’t submit scores rigor and gpa become more important
answered on[edited]

to paraphrase the previous answer:

submitting a good score will be beneficial to your application and colleges will most likely take that into consideration, but colleges can also determine your acceptance based off a lower score, but scores do have much less of an impact.

so i would say if you have a higher score that you are proud of, go ahead and submit it. but if your score is on the lower side, you have the opportunity to prevent colleges from seeing that weaker part of your app.

good luck!!

These statements - "but colleges can not deny your acceptance based off a lower score" and "know that your score can no longer be a deciding factor"- aren't correct. They're only true if you don't submit the lower score in the first place. If you do submit scores, then colleges will consider them and may base their decision on them. "Test-optional" just means that applicants don't have to submit test scores - not that colleges won't consider scores if submitted by an applicant.
ohhhh i see... ill edit my answer. thank you!!