Further Updates in Testing: Part 2

Part Two of our Further Updates in Testing is here! Keep on reading to learn more facts and news reports, so that you can navigate applications and testing as informed and prepared as possible.


Testing Optional Makes Popular Colleges Even More Competitive

Obviously, testing optional practices are a boon to students worried about how their test scores will affect their overall application. However, every good thing comes with a price. Historically selective colleges will continue to be selective with an even larger applicant pool. Students who wouldn’t have applied in the past because of poor standardized testing skills will happily apply now, adding their varied applications and strengths to the competition. Many popular colleges reached record high levels of applicants in 2020, with no increase of available spots.


Sending Scores MAY Lead to a Likelier Admission

This is part causation and large part correlation. Admissions offices almost ubiquitously keep the statistics of test vs non test admissions private, making it hard to truly pin down how much of a difference test scores make. However, of the ones that have kindly released this information, colleges clearly give an obvious edge to students with scores. This might be because colleges put more stock into those standardized scores than other metrics, but there is likely the simple component that high test scorers also tend to be high academic achievers in general.


Score Necessity Changes By Location ( Both by ‘Where You Are’ and ‘Where You Want To Be”)

“Test Optional” is basically useless as a phrase without context. You should always look at the trends of the academic environment you have and the academic environment you want to be in to really understand if your situation is test optional. That is to say, if everyone at your school is taking standardized tests, it may look a little strange to admissions offices if you don’t. They may have questions. Do most applicants send scores to your target colleges, and, if so, what is the average score?

Lastly, try to sort out how your target colleges truly feel about “test optional.” Some were test optional before the pandemic and can be trusted to truly mean optional! Others became test optional during the pandemic but have promised to continue test optional practices for the future. These are also pretty safe bets! Still some colleges will use pointed language like “recommended” or “plus factor,” and may even avoid committing to remaining test optional in the future. These colleges should likely be applied to with scores.


As always we hope that these news updates are helpful and that you feel more prepared to tackle your standardized test journey. Keep an eye out for Further Updates in Testing: Part 3, our last installment.

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