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Test-optional: what does this mean for US college applicants?

If you're currently considering US college applications, you may have seen that many colleges have currently decided to adopt a “test-optional” policy regarding college entrance exams.

Most still encourage students to submit their scores when they can, but they don’t require all students to do so.

Why is this?

The colleges recognise that many students will have found it difficult to reach a test center over the past 18 months, because of all the disruptions caused by Covid-19.

Colleges do not want any students to be unfairly disadvantaged just because they were prevented from reaching a test center, hence making the SAT and ACT tests 'optional'. But if you can include an SAT or ACT score as part of your application, many college admissions offices would still be happy to see it.

What does this mean for you?

It means that when you apply to a test-optional college, it is not compulsory for you to need to declare a test score.

That said, you are making a competitive application along with many other students around the world, and so any elements you can add to an application to strengthen it will be worthwhile. Many students are therefore still opting to take the SAT and ACT tests and offering their scores as part of their college applications.


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