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Will Test Optional Hurt My Admission Chances?

0521050305210503 12 replies11 threads Junior Member
With the recent news that top schools like Dartmouth and Columbia have gone fully test optional for the class of 2021, I'm wondering about some of the repercussions.
I took the SAT in December and scored a 1550, which I feel would be a good indicator of my academic strength at top institutions. But with schools going test optional, I fear that a lot of my hard work/time spent to get that score will go to waste.
I have other strong areas on my application, but how are colleges going to differentiate between students this year?
It seems unfair to disadvantage the students who were responsible and who already scored highly on the exams before Coronavirus hit...
15 replies
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Replies to: Will Test Optional Hurt My Admission Chances?

  • izrk02izrk02 Forum Champion American U. 1093 replies53 threads Forum Champion
    edited June 4
    05210503 wrote: »
    I have other strong areas on my application, but how are colleges going to differentiate between students this year?
    The purpose of holistic admissions is to evaluate students on ALL aspects of their application, not just test scores. That's how they'll differentiate.
    05210503 wrote: »
    It seems unfair to disadvantage the students who were responsible and who already scored highly on the exams before Coronavirus hit...
    This reeks of privilege. Most students take the SAT during the second half of their junior year, which in case you hadn't noticed, had no SAT sittings. Also, many students might now not have the $50 to shell out per sitting considering unemployment. You aren't more responsible or more worthy than those who didn't have the opportunity to take the tests. You are not at a "disadvantage".

    Submit your score, it's good. But you need to do some re-evaluation of the purposes of test-optional policies. Just because they're test optional doesn't mean your score is a waste, nor does it mean that you're more likely to get in because of your score. It's like when you submit an art portfolio. If you have it, great! If you don't, it's not a negative or positive.
    edited June 4
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  • Waiting2exhaleWaiting2exhale 3087 replies18 threads Senior Member
    "You aren't more responsible or more worthy than those who didn't have the opportunity to take the tests."

    I second that.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10205 replies119 threads Senior Member
    I’m not sure how you would be disadvantaged. You can still send your score.
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  • 0521050305210503 12 replies11 threads Junior Member
    edited June 4
    Of course it reeks of privilege. No one ever said that college admissions was a fair playing field. I asked for an answer to a simple question; I didn't ask to be pilloried on ethics.
    edited June 4
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  • izrk02izrk02 Forum Champion American U. 1093 replies53 threads Forum Champion
    I'm not one to argue semantics, but in your original post you very much went farther than asking for an answer to a simple question. You inferred that students were irresponsible for not taking the SAT yet. As well as inferring that you might be at a disadvantage for taking an exam, which makes no sense considering the purpose and philosophies behind test-optional policies.
    05210503 wrote: »
    It seems unfair to disadvantage the students who were responsible and who already scored highly on the exams before Coronavirus hit...
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  • 0521050305210503 12 replies11 threads Junior Member
    Many of the best students I know, both those who are older than me and those in my grade, took the SAT first semester junior year or earlier. I attend a public, inner city high school, so the students I'm referring to have been scattered all over the socioeconomic spectrum. I spent 30 bucks on SAT prep (buying the official Practice Test book), and 60 for test/essay registration - all out of my pocket from money I earned working a minimum wage job. Now I understand that not everyone is going to take the test early. But it may be in the best interest of those who are applying to competitive universities to do so.

    Look, I'm wasting my time. I'll be off doing something productive for college admissions/life. Have fun hanging out on the internet haranguing teenagers who are just asking for advice.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10848 replies588 threads Super Moderator
    You are not going to be dinged for submitting a score. But in no way are you more responsible than a kid who didn’t get to take the test yet. And your comment in post #4 isn’t a good indicator of your chances.
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  • mom2boys1999mom2boys1999 158 replies14 threads Junior Member
    @05210503

    I think a sign of maturity would be to sit back, move past the huge wall of defensiveness, and evaluate the responses. You are young so that is a skill probably still in progress but one which is crucial to your future success- learn to take criticism! They weren’t wrong and some humility would suit you.

    To answer your question, there isn’t a secret bump in admissions for having done your tests early- the adcoms aren’t playing shell games with admissions. Submit the whole package and good luck to you.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2990 replies5 threads Senior Member
    "Most students take the SAT during the second half of their junior year,"

    I don't know if that's still the case, the current thinking is to take it in the fall of jr year if you're taking the psat as you can prep for both exams at the same time. The disadvantage is though is you don't get the extra year of math and english, but if the scores aren't what they want, they take it in June.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6547 replies1 threads Senior Member
    I think that your excellent score will help you even at the top schools.

    Schools are going "test optional". This means that you can send in your scores, but do not have to. This is a good thing because with the pandemic some students simply are not getting the chance to take the ACT or SAT. Some other students who took it once with little preparation intending to take it again, cannot take it again.

    Clearly with a 1550 you did get to take the SAT, did enough preparation (however much that was), and did exceptionally well. You can submit your scores and schools will consider it. I think that this excellent SAT score is likely to help you.

    I do not think that there is a problem here.

    Also, congratulations on your great SAT score!
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  • CCEdit_SurajCCEdit_Suraj 88 replies162 threads Editor
    @05210503 You might have gotten some answers already! We recently received a similar question and wrote this article to cover the topic in-depth based on current situation. You can read more at this link: https://insights.collegeconfidential.com/should-i-send-test-scores-to-test-optional-colleges
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  • MWolfMWolf 2600 replies14 threads Senior Member
    05210503 wrote: »
    Look, I'm wasting my time. I'll be off doing something productive for college admissions/life. Have fun hanging out on the internet haranguing teenagers who are just asking for advice.

    You definitely should be out doing something productive, whether it be to help your college admissions or to actually help in society. You should also learn how to take criticism without losing your temper.

    Here is something for you to think about: Most of the most competitive school at which you are looking will have an alumnus interview you. Having a tone which which, to quote, "reeks of privilege" will hurt your chances, while being defensive, hyperbolic, and dismissive in face of even mild criticism can easily sink your chances entirely. While a good interview may not help all that much, a bad interview can sink your application entirely.

    One of the best things an applicant can learn from the advice on College Confidential, is how to respond to criticism from older adults. Like it or not, the decisions made in regards to you acceptance aren't being made by your peers, and you cannot afford to respond to them as though the AOs are your peers. Moreover, unlike your teachers or parents, the people in charge of admissions don't really care whether they upset you, so you cannot deflect criticism by claiming that you feel persecuted.

    This will also be the case when you attend college, and at least for your first few jobs - you will be critiqued and possibly criticized by your professors and by your bosses, and responding in the manner that you responded to the critiquing of your tone will not help your grades, graduating chances, your chances at getting a decent job, nor your chances at promotion or even retention.

    Unless you are super wealthy and powerful, or so smart and talented that people are willing to put up with your behavior, you need to be able to accept criticism without flying off the handle and claiming that you're are being "pilloried" or harangued.

    You are clearly smart, so you should use your evident intelligence in thinking of how you respond to hearing things that you don't like in a more intelligent and measured way.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 13628 replies32 threads Senior Member
    Good advice here.

    In any case, it's not worth wasting mental energy on. The way to look at it is that high test scores guarantee you scholarships at some schools. Nothing else is guaranteed and holistic basically means schools can admit how they like, so stop spending mental energy bon stuff you can't control and spend it on areas you can control and figure out what you want to do in your life decades from now. Also to do good in the world, ideally.
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  • AlwaysMovingAlwaysMoving 719 replies7 threads Member
    05210503 wrote: »
    With the recent news that top schools like Dartmouth and Columbia have gone fully test optional for the class of 2021, I'm wondering about some of the repercussions.
    I took the SAT in December and scored a 1550, which I feel would be a good indicator of my academic strength at top institutions. But with schools going test optional, I fear that a lot of my hard work/time spent to get that score will go to waste.
    I have other strong areas on my application, but how are colleges going to differentiate between students this year?

    I think you have an advantage in the ED round because a lot of your competition won't have a score yet or will be taking the test a second time. Remember it's test optional and the college will still look at your scores.
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