Updated: Oct 4, 2022
By: Omar Monsalvo
Many colleges have become ACT/SAT optional or test blind. There are different factors as to why one should submit a score or not. I will break down when a score should be submitted and not.
Test Blind vs Test Optional
When schools are test blind, it means that they will not look at test scores at all when considering admissions. Test blind schools consist mostly of UCs and Cal States. Test-optional schools will look at test scores if submitted. Many would say that if it is optional and that it is okay to not take the SAT/ACT. However, to put it into perspective, straight A's are optional too, but as students, we choose to strive towards that goal. Similarly, if scores are optional we must strive to put our best foot forward and achieve the best score possible. This is the opportunity to stand out from peers.
Submit or Not to Submit
Scores should only be submitted if they are beneficial to the student. For example, a student who has a 4.5 GPA and an ACT score of 25 is applying to Stanford. In this case, it would be better for the student to not submit because the average scores of Stanford students for the ACT in 2019-2020 were 31-35. Test scores should be used to enhance a student’s portfolio and should not be viewed as something mandatory when it can be hurtful to their admission chances.
With that said, scores still are something to consider sending to admissions. According to CBS News, more students are receiving A-average grades, so it is important to submit test scores to stand out from the crowd. SAT/ACT test scores can also determine merit-based scholarships for schools. This is why most often ‘safe schools’ offer better financial aid due to merit scholarships.
It is important to start the college testing process early and the steps needed to take will vary by grade. I recommend taking a mock SAT or ACT to see what you are naturally good at. These can be found online or by signing up with us for a free mock exam and consultation. Whether you decide to hire professionals or self-study, a structured schedule is crucial. Try to dedicate study time when it is the least busy time for you. It is also important to understand which schools are the best fit for you and then determine the needed score.
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