In the seeming neverending quest for college admissions, Juniors (and parents) fret over taking or not taking the SAT or ACT, wondering if the test score (or absence of) will be a strategic blunder, as in the reason for being denied admissions. However, with guidance, students and their families can reason a choice without reducing opportunities for admissions.
First, know the difference between test-optional, test-flexible, test-free, and test-blind admissions policies.
- With test optional policies, students have the choice to submit an SAT or ACT.
- Under test flexible policies, admissions officers “prefer” students to submit an SAT or ACT score, yet will consider any applicant, regardless if an SAT or ACT score is included.
- Test-blind and test free admissions policies are similar, in that admissions officers will NOT consider any SAT or ACT scores in their evaluations. However, with test free policies, admissions officers want to make clear that students are not expected to have taken an SAT or ACT.
Second, as some college admissions officers are reinstating requirements to submit an SAT or ACT score, students should review each college’s admissions website for the most recent guidance. At a few notable colleges, MIT, University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgetown, University of Tennessee, and Purdue, students will be required to submit SAT or ACT scores for Fall 2024 admissions.
Conversely, Ivy League colleges, like Harvard, Cornell, and Columbia, will continue practicing test-optional admissions through Fall 2024. Admissions officers at the remaining five Ivy League colleges, University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Dartmouth, Yale, and Princeton have yet to announce their Fall 2024 testing policies.
Third, students can reflect if a test score will add information useful to an admissions officer, based on their confidence in taking standardized tests.
Lastly, many university admissions officers also adjusted merit scholarship evaluations so students are no longer required to submit an SAT or ACT score. Thus, applicants should check each admissions website to confirm how they’ll be considered for any merit scholarships offered.
Jill is a twenty year veteran educator and consultant, who collaboratively advises clients about their pressing educational and college admissions decisions. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org