What is a Test-Optional College?

What is a Test-Optional College?

A Test-Optional College or University has an admissions policy that doesn’t require students to submit their SAT or ACT scores as part of the application process. 

Keep in mind this doesn’t mean that the school is not interested in academic performance. In most cases, the college would like to see the scores, but if you do not supply them, it doesn’t factor into your admission review. 

Test-Optional Colleges & Universities

Although some colleges will not require an applicant to submit their test scores, a recent survey showed that close to 80% of student applications still included test results.

Whether you choose to submit your results depends on how you feel the rest of your academic record stands up. Before making a decision, be sure to read through all of the admission requirements. Knowing the needs will help you understand what is necessary and where you might be able to provide more insight into your academic career. 

Different Test-Optional Policies

Not all test-optional schools are the same. In fact, some have very different requirements. Here’s what you should look out for. 

Test-Optional For High Academic Achievement

In some cases, only certain students can bypass the submission of their test results. For these colleges and universities, your GPA or class rank must meet the minimum requirements in order to get around submitting your SAT or ACT scores. 

If you are homeschooled, you will likely need to submit your test results, as you will not be able to prove your academic achievement definitively. 

Text Flexible College

Though rare, if a college is text flexible, it means that they will take supplemental exam scores in replacement of the SAT or ACT scores. These supplemental exams generally include AP Exams and SAT Subject Tests. 

Test-Optional For All Students

Some colleges and universities have a completely optional application process where it is up to the student to determine whether they want to submit their scores or not. 

If the student feels that their test scores are not an accurate representation of their ability or achievements, they can choose to leave them out of the application process. However, if you have competitive scores, it is worth noting that submitting them can definitely help. Still, these schools do not admit students based on whether they did or didn’t submit their test scores with their application.

Optional for Admission – Required for Enrollment and Financial Aid

Other colleges are happy to have a test-optional application process. They require that test scores be submitted for enrollment and qualification for financial aid like scholarships and institutional-based aid. 

In this case, it will not affect your admissions but will need to be on file. 

What Schools Are Test-Optional?

Colleges and universities that are test-optional are constantly changing. It’s best to look at the schools you’re interested in and see what their application process consists of.