Why You Need To Take A College Entrance Exam During Test-Optional

Why You Need To Take A College Entrance Exam During Test-Optional

The Rise In Test-Optional Schools

Test-optional is the term used to describe universities and colleges that don’t require a college entrance exam for admission. While an ACT or SAT score was a staple in higher education for decades, many schools are moving away from these exams as a requirement for entry.

Student’s applying for test-optional schools have the option of sending in their test score or leaving it anonymous. 

While test-optional schools are not entirely new, the 2020 pandemic stirred a major increase in the number of schools using the system. Many students had their test-taking abilities affected by the sudden shifts in everyday classes, so many colleges made the jump to test-optional.

Why Submit Your Test Score

The biggest thing to consider when deciding to submit your test score or not is the end goal. The purpose of an entrance exam is to help students build a case for themselves. This means taking a variety of aspects and using them to sell yourself to a college.

College admissions offices only know what you tell them, so the more information your give them, the more things they have to go off of.

Test-optional does not mean test-blind. Students whose gpa and academic standing may be on the border of acceptance can get the extra push they need from a good ACT score. This score takes some of the emphasis off of a student's other attributes and spreads the load.

If you intend to apply to a highly contested college that has a lot of applicants, a high SAT or ACT score can be a great way to set yourself apart. 

A good rule of thumb is to try and obtain a score at the level of the last incoming class for the school you are applying for. You can usually find the average test scores for accepted students on the website for a university. 

This is especially true if you find the last class held an average gpa higher than yours. Your entrance exam score may be the extra piece to get you into this school.

Holistic Application

Choosing to submit your test-score to a test-optional school is all about building a case. You will want to take some time to create a holistic application that accurately represents your skillset. 

Alongside your test score, this application should include your gpa, your courses, your extracurriculars, outside interests, and any specific reasoning for partaking in these various activities.

You will also need to write a personal essay to not only demonstrate your strongest attributes, but to show off your writing skills.

Lastly, you will want to make sure your letter of recommendation comes from the right source. While many different individuals may be able to write you a compelling letter, you will want your source to be from an area in which you are lacking.

If you feel your mathematics grades are a bit on the low side, it can be helpful to get a letter of recommendation from one of your math teachers to reassure the admissions office. This extra validation can help sell your overall versatility. 

By taking the time to put this package together, you will have more pieces to give to the admissions office at your school of choice. This means that they will take a closer look at your credentials, effectively increasing your chances of getting accepted.

Yes, this will take a little more time and effort than simply choosing to avoid the test altogether, but the effort will be worth it. After all, submitting your test score is going to increase your chances of getting into your school of choice, so you will thank yourself in the long run.

Concluding Thoughts

Regardless of your current academic standing, choosing to send in your college entrance exam can only help you. Sending in your test score when applying to a college is going to give you a better chance at acceptance and make you applicable to more scholarship opportunities. 

Of course, you will want to make sure you score highly on your SAT or ACT exam. A low-scoring exam will yield many of the same detriments as not sending in your score at all.

This is why The College Review offers a variety of tutoring programs to help you get the scores you want. We specialize in walking you through the college process and helping to guide you along the way.

If you or someone you know wants to get into an elusive school, a high score on your college entrance exam is the best first step!

Back to blog