Test-Optional College Admissions: What Are They and How to Approach
Here's everything you need to know about test-optional college admissions.
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Even amid this test-optional admissions climate, we typically recommend students take at least one administration of the test—if they have adequate time to develop a testing timeline and rigorously prepare for the exam. Most often, sending along more representative information of your child’s abilities as a student helps the admissions office make a better decision on whether to offer acceptance. These tests, while they should not solely define your student’s future, can be a helpful indicator of skill and readiness, which can sometimes help ensure a student will be successful in terms of the difficulty of college coursework. However, if the score you receive will not add value to your child’s application portfolio (it doesn’t fall within or exceed the average scores of a school’s applicant pool), it may not be worth sending.
What other factors are important in a college application?
As certain testing components, such as Subject Tests and SAT Essays, become obsolete, students should be aware that others will begin to take on new significance. The growing availability and popularity of subject-specific AP courses, for example, are now a key metric to demonstrate students’ mastery of certain academic disciplines, as well as rigor in their course sequencing. Plus, sections of the SAT, such as the Reading and Writing & Language portions, as well as personal statement components of the typical college application, are now used to adequately showcase students’ writing skills. It will be important, now more than ever, to more purposefully prepare for and be mindful of these portions of the college application.
However your student proceeds, sending in a holistically representative application that communicates their unique strengths and interests as a student and individual remains most important when applying to college.