Understanding Test Optional, Test Blind, and Test Flexible Admissions Policies

How should you apply?

What is Test Optional?

If you’ve found yourself confused about the new college admissions testing landscape, you are not alone.

Here’s what A+ recommends for all students:

  • Take a diagnostic SAT and ACT! You have nothing to lose by taking practice tests to see how you may score. A+ offers every student one free diagnostic SAT and ACT. 
  • Be open and honest about your goals. Depending on the colleges you are interested in and the career you are looking to pursue, applying without scores may be a fit for you.
  • Read up on your college choices carefully! See what their requirements and recommendations are.
  • Remember that recently updated “average test scores” for colleges will be altered now that we are a year into the test optional landscape. Published test score ranges are most likely higher than they were before the pandemic, as students with lower scores are simply not submitting them. 

Keep in mind:

  • Colleges and universities that are test optional are most likely receiving more applications than they did before the pandemic. Without scores, and among so many applicants, it can be even more challenging for you to stand out. 
  • If you are an athlete, you may be required to submit scores even if the school is test optional.

So, what does “test optional” mean?

Test Optional colleges will consider SAT and ACT scores as a part of your application, but they do not require them. It is completely up to you whether you chose to submit scores or not. If you submit scores, the college will consider them as a part of your application for acceptance. If you’ve done well on the SAT or ACT, it will absolutely benefit your application to submit them. In fact, if you and another student look similar on paper, test scores could be the deciding factor on admittance.

On the other hand, if your score is below the range of scores the college or university is looking for, it may benefit you to not submit scores and instead look at adding to your application in other ways. 

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