2 years ago
Admissions Advice


I'm a rising senior, and I'm still in the process of deciding whether standardized testing is a good idea for me. I haven't been satisfied with my scores on both the ACT and SAT, but I'm showing small yet steady improvement on both types. Is it worth it for me to submit a score I'm only semi-satisfied with? I'm asking because I have the optimal GPA, resume, and EC situation for top 20 schools, and I'm taking classes and participating in EC programs that I truly love.

I'm interested in some Ivies and other top 20 schools. Do you think that not submitting a test score with these sorts of stats would be okay? Especially with these top tier schools, test-optional does not mean test-blind... unless they are? (Meaning: can colleges reject me and accept another person with identical credentials, just because they have a test score and I don't?) I'm worried that sending in my "eh" scores will wreck my application, but I'm also worried that having one less data point might set off a red flag for AOs.


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3 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

If your score isn't in the middle 50% range, it's not a good idea to submit it. Having a strong test score (in the upper end of the middle 50% or above it) will always help, even if a school is test-optional. Very few schools are test-blind, and as @CameronBameron said, only Caltech in the top 20 is (for 2 years). If a school is deciding between two otherwise-qualified candidates, but one has a test score, and the other doesn't, the student with the test score is more likely to be accepted.

If you have the time and resources to take the SAT or ACT again, it's definitely worth a shot. That said, it has been difficult to get a spot given the current situation. In the end, if you can't test and improve your score, know that many other students are in the same boat. The best thing to do in that case is to focus on what you can control, like writing standout essays.

Hope this helps, and let me know if you have more questions!

2 years ago[edited]

So for top 20s it will depend on the AO seeing the application they might worship the SAT scores or they can worship non SAT scores so it is kinda hit and miss. With that said due to the situation if you don’t submit them they will likely believe you have just missed the testing date so that will likely wipe it out. Also test optional means during admission if they aren’t submitted the AO will pretend like SAT never existed for your application.

To clear something up testblind means the AOs don’t even look at SAT IF submitted.

Depending on your SAT if it is in the mid 50% I’d say submit it. You can find I’m the middle 50% by googling mid 50% school name sat.

Really hope this helps and if you have any questions to my wordy reposence I’ll be happy to answer them. Best of luck!

2 years ago[edited]

If you send an "eh" score it might hurt you. (I'm assuming you think "eh" is missing the 25% to 75% percentile range)

If you send a great score it will most likely help you no matter what the public record states.

Remember only CalTech in the Top 20 is Test Blind, the other 19 schools will look at the scores if you submit them.

It would be politically incorrect for any college official to communicate that different parts of the application be weighted more given their newly adopted Test-Optional policies. Therefore, if you put yourself in the seat of the admissions officer reviewing and deciding on which application to advocate for, a.) the A student with all the checkboxes marked for great ECs, Recommendations, Essays, Rigor, Community service but no test scores or b.) the other student who has the same "apples to apples" checkboxes marked but 1500 SAT score and (2) 750 subject test scores, the latter will get the nod over the former. Why wouldn't they hedge their bets that the test score submitter may perform better? Therefore you should decide for yourself whether you are going to grind for the rest of the summer to be ready for 11 possible dates or not. Only you can make that decision on what to register for and when. Your practice test scores will give you a reasonable level for your score. So if you get 1400-1500s on your SAT, you should get a 1450 +/-75 pts. And if you get a 32-34 on your ACT, you should get a 33 +/- 2 points on the real thing. I just took my 2nd ACT after it was canceled in April and June and I feel a sense of relief. If I don't get my target score, I can still retake it in Sept or Oct. Yes, it's a pain. I had to drive an hour away from my zip code to take it. I had to wear a mask for 4 hours. I had to take it with strangers. But I don't regret being patient for a test date to open up and power through the process.

ACT Test Dates

Saturday, September 12

Sunday, September 13

Saturday, September 19

Saturday, October 10

Saturday, October 1

Saturday, October 24

Sunday, October 25

SAT Test Dates

Saturday, August 29

Saturday, September 26

Saturday, October 3

Saturday, November 7


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