What does "test-optional" mean?
To understand what COVID-19-related “test-optional” policies mean, it’s important to understand what they do not mean for college and university admissions offices that adopt such policies.
- They do not mean that the ACT and SAT have been eliminated or banned.
- They do not mean that students cannot submit their ACT and/or SAT scores with their applications.
- They do not mean that students shouldn’t submit their ACT and/or SAT scores if they believe their scores indicate strong academic ability.
- They do not mean that admissions committees will not consider the ACT and/or SAT scores of students who choose to submit them, and thus do not mean that scores won’t confer an advantage in the admissions process.
Schools that have adopted test-optional policies for the coming admissions year have created dedicated web pages to clarify what they mean for prospective applicants. Cornell University.
Cornell overall has not planned to adopt a test-optional admission policy permanently. As appears to be true at test-optional colleges and universities, we anticipate that many students who will have had reasonable and uninterrupted opportunities to take the ACT and/or SAT during 2020 administrations will continue to submit results, and those results will continue to demonstrate preparation for college-level work.
Tufts University a three-year pilot of test-optional admissions.
Standardized Testing: Beginning with students applying for fall 2021 admission, applicants have a choice about whether or not to submit SAT or ACT scores to be considered for undergraduate admission to Tufts University. If applicants would like us to consider their exam results as one component of their candidacy, we will do so in a nuanced and contextual way. If students choose not to submit exam results, we will evaluate their candidacy in a nuanced and contextual way without scores. Our holistic, committee-based approach to application review provides us with the flexibility to evaluate academic and extracurricular accomplishments within a student’s individual context.
Academic scholarship awards, which have long been tied to academic standing and standardized test results, among other applicant attributes. Texas Tech explains:
Due to the decision made by the College Board and ACT to suspend the availability of testing during the COVID-19 virus pandemic, prospective students applying for admission to Texas Tech University for the Fall 2020 term will not be required to submit an ACT or SAT score. Applicants who have completed all other application requirements, will be given special consideration for admission through a holistic review.
A student who has previously taken an ACT or SAT and has a score is strongly encouraged to submit them to us for evaluation. We also strongly recommend that all students have a standardized test on file prior to enrollment. Without a standardized test, a student will not be considered for scholarships. Lack of an SAT or ACT score may also affect meeting Texas Success Initiative exemptions and course placement.
Given this current situation students are advised to prepare and continue to take SAT or ACT. Without either exam they may lose the opportunity to highlight their skills, compete for scholarship dollars, and enhance their overall admissions profiles. Test-optional does not mean Test-blind.