Standardized Test Scores

A test-optional admissions policy means some applicants can choose not to submit SAT or ACT scores. The rules vary from college to college. You can usually find a college’s rules on its website.

However, colleges can have special conditions like:

  • Some test-optional colleges require scores if students are out of state or international, are declaring certain majors, or are applying for scholarships from the college.
  • Some colleges may determine your test-optional eligibility using an index calculated from your GPA and SAT or ACT scores.

Why Some Colleges Become Test Optional

Test-optional colleges have decided that factors other than test scores are stronger predictors of a student’s potential to succeed in college. Admission staffs also know that test scores can be significantly improved through coaching, and that not all students have access to such help.

How Do These Schools Evaluate Applications?

Like almost all colleges, test-optional schools consider a student’s high school academic record to be most important. Other factors that may be critical include writing samples, personal interviews, letters of recommendation, and evidence of commitment to service or work outside of school.


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