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Does Test Optional Really Mean Optional?

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a change in the way college admissions applications are processed. With quarantine being enforced, most colleges had no choice but to go test optional in their admissions process. This meant, for the first time, students didn’t have to submit a standardized test score to apply for college. After the pandemic ended, many universities chose to keep their test optional policy. For the 2023

admissions year, nearly 2,000 colleges and universities were test optional, including all 8 ivy league schools.

But, is test optional really an optional part of the application?

When it comes to admissions for top universities, test scores matter. Students typically only submit their scores if they feel it is competitive and would add value to their application. This automatically highlights the students that have higher test scores and gives them a boost. At this point, most students have the opportunity to take a standardized test through their high school. If they chose not to submit their score, admissions assumes this is because the score was lower. Let's take an example of two students below:

Student A: 3.97 GPA, 36 ACT Score, Student Body President, Founder and Leader of Robotics Club, Volunteered 100 hours during school year

Student B: 4.0 GPA, Student Ambassador, President of Science Olympiad Chapter, Creator of School Recycling Program

While Student A and B have similar activities and interests, Student A’s perfect score on the ACT automatically draws the eye. While your score is not expected to be perfect to be competitive, submitting something you are proud of is still important in setting you apart from the rest of the applicants.

However, if your standardized test score is not on par with the school’s acceptance average, submitting your score might not be the right answer. Instead, focus on increasing your score until it is competitive so your application can gain a boost as well. Top Tutors for Us can help with this. Contact us if you are interested in increasing your standardized test score to be competitive in the test optional world. We supply excellent Black tutors so you can learn from someone who looks like you and has experienced what you have.

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