Test Optional for Penn

I recently submitted my application to Penn and went test optional because I wasn’t in their average range (I got a 34 composite on the ACT, first and only attempt). However, it’s been making me really anxious that I made a mistake by doing so. Did I make the right choice by not sending that score?

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Can’t really make that rec in a vacuum.

Class of 2025 admitted mid 50% range was 35-36, I assume that’s what led you to not sending it, correct?

What did your HS GC and/or private counselor recommend?

What school did you apply to?

How strong is your app? Said another way, does the 34 strengthen your app?

ETA: we don’t know matriculated test scores for class of 2025, but for class of 2024 it was 33-35 for ACT mid 50% range per the 2020-21 CDS (don’t have admitted for ‘24). That was a more ‘normal’ year.

Yeah, that mid 50% of the class of 2025 was why. My private college counselor did mention it being too low/outside their range, but I don’t really remember specifically what she said about sending it and I was dumb and forgot to ask before submitting. I applied to Wharton for their Healthcare Management concentration, which I felt I was able to connect to in my essays and activities pretty well. I’m honestly not sure if the 34 would add or take away from my application.

I don’t have enough info to make a rec/really help you.

Can you see in the portal how long you have to change your app from TO to evaluate with a test score? And FYI once you apply with scores you can’t go TO.

Perhaps speak with your college counselor again, since you are still unsure?

FWIW if you apply with the 34 and do not get accepted, it would not be because of the 34. I think it’s reasonable to treat last year as an aberration, and look at Class of 2024 data. But, not everyone will agree with that.

Good luck to you.


I think this is a good example of how TO pushes published test scores higher. I can’t believe the Class of 2025 is stronger than prior classes as far as test scores are concerned.

A 34 score is a fine score. I would have sent it based on pre-TO data, but I don’t think it would have mattered either way and the decision will be driven by your whole app.


I haven’t received the portal yet, but I’ll try to see if anyone knows. I did ask my counselor again, just waiting for her response.

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Amazing…this is a perfect example of how messed up TO is! It is designed to afford those who could not test the chance to apply NOT to discourage those who didn’t get perfect scores from submitting their tests which it obviously has done too. A 34 is well within their range.

If everyone with a 34 decides not to submit then the published ranges will go up even more to the point that only perfect or near perfect scores will be submitted. Crazy! Remember these ranges for this year are only those who submit. It is very likely that those who were admitted TO had far lower scores (I know a local example ). I would have submitted.


It’s good I saw their new range because I did end up reporting my scores as soon as I got my score.

The average scores are completely inflated based on TO. The denominator has become all average test scores and higher. I was one point below the inflated new average and my counselor recommended against sending it! I have a GREAT score but, that one point. IDK… I do wonder if I should have sent it anyway. It’s not like I didn’t take it or study or had a mid-high 30’s score rather than something way off.