What does “Test Optional” really mean?

In this New York Times article, schools who go test optional see an increase in average scores – thus a higher ranking in U.S. News and World Report’s all important annual ranking.

Colleges get more applications (and application fees). They look more selective when they get more applications because their admission percentage goes down.

Even with all that said, I am still in favor of test optional admissions policies. If a student has high GPA that shows years of hard work at a rigorous school, that student has demonstrated the ability to succeed in college.

I have never seen a student with super high test scores and a low GPA (though David has – he had a student achieve a perfect score twice, but have less than a 2.0. That student was not admitted to any selective schools). I have seen many students with above average GPA’s and only slightly above average test scores. For those students, a test optional admissions program may be just the ticket.

I’d like to see some research on the impact of not submitting scores on financial aid. I would also like to see how those students with true economic need fair at a selective college. What is the retention rate?

Still 80% of applications at test optional schools are submitted with ACT/SAT scores. From what I’ve read the rule of thumb for admissions is a GPA of at least 3.4.


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