Does applying Test-Optional hinder chances for scholarships ?
I am planning on applying to Universities which are highly competitive for the major I have opted for (Computer Science). My GPA and Extra-curriculars are above the general level of students who apply to these universities ( As indicated by Collegevine's assessment). But, I wish to go to these universities with a decent scholarship. So is applying test-optional okay? or does that give a negative impact on the admissions officer? Or should I write the SAT and include the score anyway?
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Often, merit scholarships vs financial aid are determined by a variety of the institution cutoffs which may include ACT or SAT test scores besides your transcripts, recommendations, and scholarship essays. Therefore test Scores Might Be Required for Merit Scholarships. Since many test-optional colleges look at test scores when awarding merit scholarships, so not submitting them might put you at a disadvantage. Be sure to confirm all scholarship requirements before applying.
I would suggest that you independently research merit scholarships and their stats. For instance schools like William & Mary, Washington & Lee, and others publish their various scholarships and their stats. Sometimes its straightforward other times you have to make an educated guess.
In conclusion, a college may use a Test Score, may not use a Test Score, or only use a Test Score on say the most generous and coveted Merit awards.
@matchakombucha gave a great response, but I just wanted to add a couple more points!
- A student with a good test score is likely to be accepted over one without, if their profiles are very similar. According to our data in previous years, students who applied to a test-optional school who submitted scores above the 25th percentile were accepted at about 2x the rate of students who applied without submitting scores (this is for students with similar profiles otherwise).
Adcoms have said that it really won't disadvantage you this year, but just think of the human aspect. If it came down to 2 similar students, and one had a test score, you have more evidence that one is likely to succeed. It's always ideal to have a test score.
- For scholarships, the same ideas apply. If you can take the SAT/ACT, it will only benefit you, if you can get a score close to the middle 50%. This year, we actually recommend submitting even if you're 60 points under the 25th percentile on the SAT, and 3 points below the 25th percentile for the ACT. This is because students have had fewer chances to test, so average scores are lower.
More info is in this post: https://blog.collegevine.com/test-optional-coronavirus-policies/
Best of luck!
Many college reps have said that test-optional truly means optional this year and that it will not impact your ability to receive admission or scholarships to their institution. However, this is a general statement and you should further research your individual schools. Plus, if your current SAT score (if you have one) falls within the range or is even a bit below for the average SAT of admitted applicants, you should consider submitting it because it may actually be a very competitive score during this crazy year. Additionally, if you do not have a score and have a chance to take the test (I think public schools must offer a free SAT every year), you should take it because who knows your score may end up being one of the stronger parts of your application.