Are Test Optional Schools Permanent?

Are Test Optional Schools Permanent?

Dartmouth College has recently announced they are reinstating their standardized testing requirement for upcoming undergraduate applicants. The reinstated requirement will begin with applicants for Dartmouth’s class of 2029.

Dartmouth is just one of hundreds of colleges that have moved on from their standardized testing requirement amidst the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many students struggled to get to a testing center during this time and may not have felt safe going even if they could potentially get to one.

Now that standardized tests are being offered online and many people feel safer attending in-person events, Dartmouth marks the beginning of a trend back toward mandatory standardized testing/

What Does This Mean For Students?

In the long run, not much has actually changed. The SAT is now being offered digitally at in-person test centers, but other than that, things are largely the same as they were 5 years ago.

High school students will need to submit their standardized test scores to Dartmouth for a chance at admission. Unlike schools with a test-optional policy, applicants who fail to submit their score will not be considered for admission.

What Does The Research Say?

A research study done in 2023 from Harvard University found that SAT and ACT scores are a great predictive tool. Students who score well on these tests are more likely to get good grades in college, graduate, and find higher-paying employment.

While those opposed to test-mandatory universities argue it creates disparities, colleges actually argue the opposite. Dartmouth claims that “SAT/ACTs can be especially helpful in identifying students from less-resourced backgrounds who would succeed at Dartmouth but might otherwise be missed in a test-optional environment."

On top of helping to find potentially overlooked students, the test also serves to save people money. Weeding out those who do poorly on a standardized test serves to discourage people from enrolling if they are highly likely to drop out. 

Concluding Thoughts

College admissions offices deal with thousands of applicants, and it can be difficult to stand out amongst such heavy competition. 

Schools like Dartmouth College are changing their test-optional policies because it encourages students to use their entire toolset. Test-optional colleges have a lot of applicants with one less element to distinguish them from one another. This makes a good SAT or ACT score all the more important when applying.

Whether you intend to apply to a school that is currently test-optional or not, submitting a high standardized test score will help increase your odds of being admitted to your college of choice.

The college process is all about building a case to sell yourself to these institutions. A combination of a good GPA, a strong application, and high standardized test scores are the key to success. For help with the college admissions process, check out more of our website.

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