Over 900 colleges have committed to a test-optional policy for reviewing applications, adding to the crazy of COVID!

What does test-optional mean?

Test-optional means that you decide if you will include ACT or SAT test scores with your application or not.

This is not the same test-blind, which means that even if you submit test scores, the admissions committee will not look at them when evaluating applications. 

To submit, or not to submit?

When deciding whether to submit standardized test scores, look at the schools on your list

  • What is the range of test scores for admitted students? 
  • Do your scores fall in the upper range? 

If so, submitting strong test scores will only help your application. 

If not, then you’re better off focusing on the other areas of your application. 

If you decide to apply to a test-optional college without submitting scores, then you need to know that admissions officers will shine a brighter light on other areas of your application. 

What test-optional schools are looking for

You’ll want to polish these parts of your application to make it top notch:

Your Transcript

Without scores, your transcript is going to be scrutinized even more closely. 

You’ll want to take all of your core classes at the highest level you can, especially in Junior and Senior year.

In addition, choose electives that get you excited about learning-it will show in your grades! 

Your Essay

A very well-written essay (and supplemental essays) will help you stand out if you can let your personality shine through. 

  • Choose a topic that allows you to tell your unique story in an engaging way. 
  • Use specific examples from your own life that will show why you’re a good fit for the school
  • In your tone, style and the details you choose to include, demonstrate what only you can bring to their campus.

Your Letters of Recommendation

This is another opportunity for you to shine in the absence of test scores!

Aim to make a genuine connection with teachers and counselors throughout your high school career.

Let them see your initiative and enthusiasm so that they can personally attest to your growth, leadership and the strength of your academic record.

Over 900 colleges have committed to a test-optional policy for reviewing applications, adding to the crazy of COVID.

Your Activities

Choose which of your extra-curricular activities best highlight your strengths. 

A solid description of your activities should provide insight into your most meaningful community involvement, in and out of school.

Highlight any activities where you showed:

  • Initiative
  • Leadership
  • Collaborative spirit
  • Depth and length of commitment

This will help the admissions committee to see you as someone they want on the student body!

For an application that shines, with or without test scores, focus on the parts of the admissions process you can control. Carefully plan your next steps. And reach out if you need help!

If you’re unsure of next steps, please contact me for a free chat!

For high school juniors who are ready to take that next step, we start our group coaching program on March 2nd. Register by February 27th and be application ready by the fall!