Test Optional

UnknownMore than 800 colleges and universities do not require standardized tests to make their admissions decision. Many schools have adopted this policy for students who feel their scores are not representative of their ability or academic potential. If you’re happy with your scores you can still choose to submit them so they can be reviewed as part of your application.

Applicants who are non-US citizens and applicants who are not permanent residents may still be required to submit SATs or ACTs and may also be required to provide TOEFL or IELTS results. Make sure to check individual school requirements.

Schools that offer a test optional policy may place greater emphasis on other components of your application including:

  • Your high school transcript
  • An interview with an admissions rep
  • A graded assignment from high school

Juniors and seniors, save high school work you’re proud of— your finished papers can play a very important role in your college application process should you choose to go test optional.

There are reasons to save your best work regardless of whether or not you choose to go test optional.

  • Some colleges that require standardized tests also ask for writing samples with their application supplements.
  • Whether you’re applying to a specific program at the time of admission or after you’ve enrolled, samples of your work may be required.
  • If you’re currently involved in a special program like science research, it’s a good idea to keep your work organized and accessible. You may decide to forward a copy of one of your best research papers to admissions or a department head along with your application.
  • Many internship and work opportunities also request a writing sample. Until you have college level work to submit, you’ll want to know where that A+ paper of yours resides.
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