Test optional question for athletes

My daughter is applying to a d1 schools as a swimmer . One school which is test optional for 2021 did a pre read and told her as an athlete she can’t go test optional and needs a test score ( they gave her a number) . They said if she gets it they can support her and she will basically be gaurenteed admissions . They said it was not for NCAA but the school standard and it was not an ivy . Does this sound standard ? When we asked what if the test doesn’t happen the coach told us you need that score .Another d1 school told her they would take her test score ( which was low and she took once last December ) and she could submit test optional . Is anyone else getting conflicting information from schools and coaches ? Is based school by school ?

Not sure which school, but I believe the Patriot league schools also have an AI type index for athletes similar to the Ivy League. Those may be requesting testing from athletes to ensure they are able to keep up with the academics, although some Patriot league schools have already been test optional. We had already submitted early testing (which was very respectable but below ivy standards) so I don’t know for sure. It’s all extremely frustrating for kids who didn’t have chances to retest and may not be able to get access to tests before application deadlines. I feel your pain, we had the same response from an ivy. I’m curious what this will do to the recruiting timeline (for example, Princeton has no ED this year), athletes incentives to commit sooner rather than later, and also whether the ivies might eventually be more flexible with testing for athletes (although, to be fair, they need to be sure kids can keep up with the coursework, so I understand the conundrum on each side).

It’s definately a mess ! Waiting for the other shoe to drop . Trying to come up with a plan b is testing doesn’t happen and this coach moves on which could happen . I guess coaches can do what they want but once an offer is made to a kid it’s not in the coaches best interest to retract it .

A friend’s son was told the same policy regarding testing. Seems random and ridiculous to say the school is worried about it’s “standard” if they’re allowing non-athletes to go test optional. The athletes are tasked with maintaining the standard for the entire school. I hope they figure out sooner than later that the ACT and SAT isn’t happening with any predictability or consistency and it’s not the kids’ fault. If they’ve done well in HS that should be sufficient.

Good luck to your daughter!

Yes agree I hope that admissions and coaches realize this problem and reconsider. My kid’s SAT was just abruptly canceled. After tremendous prep for the March SAT (canceled on us the night before), then again for June (also canceled), was able to reregister for August - just learned today that the test center for August decided not to administer the test. Didn’t hear this from College Board but rather happened to log in to CB account and noticed there were no upcoming registrations on kid’s account even though I have an email from May confirming the registration change from June to August!! After an hour on the phone w CB they came back only with oh yes your August test was canceled and cannot be reinstated, but you will receive a refund (!!). At this stage I think it’s too much to force my kid to keep prepping for SATs that just keep getting canceled on top of college apps and essays, summer HW for a full AP course load, training, etc, etc. All this while kid already has a pretty respectable SAT score. At this point if the school is being that unreasonable then my kid is likely better off somewhere else! Meantime suggest to check your registrations to see they’re not canceled, and call test centers to confirm administrations, because my experience over the past 3 administrations is that the College Board won’t tell you in advance if your test is canceled. Good luck to everyone!

@NEsprinkles Thank you for posting that. We had assumed D21 was all set for the August SAT, but we went into her CB account and saw “no registrations” too.

I sent them an email, we’ll see what that gets me. She has the email confirmation, and we were billed for it back in early June.

Fortunately her schools are all TO so we can live without the SAT if we need to. The coach at her (current) #1 choice did not care at all about whether she took it or not. She is not being officially supported though.

Sorry to hear this @ThisNameNotTaken - so horrible. Good luck to your D21!

D just got an email saying “either decided not to offer or reduced capacity so your registration has been cancelled” (not an exact quote).

We’re in an area which is doing relatively well COVID-wise (emphasis on “relatively”).

My S21 was lucky enough to have had the SAT done early last fall. We were very surprised to learn from the Ivies that although some went test optional, SAT/ACT were still required for athletes. Even a NESCAC school that has been test optional for Years and years required SAT/ACT scores for their pre-read. Having the standardized tests done made my son more attractive to coaches, which stinks for those whose tests were canceled. We heard from numerous coaches that they were caught in really difficult situations with only being able to offer support to kids that had scores. We were dumbfounded by the extra requirements for athletes, especially when the tests are so hard to book and most not even happening. I do wonder if some of this is related to varsity blues, and colleges protecting themselves from “athletes having it easy getting admitted.” I am so sorry to all of you awaiting the possibility of testing. I am crossing my fingers for you.

My D21 managed to reach pre-read stage of 6 schools and ALL of them required test scores from her even though all are Test optional. Good thing we managed for her to take the test early this year before all the cancellations.

Out of the 4 schools that so far gave feedback, 3 said she ‘passed’ the Admissions pre-read. But 1 school (Top LAC) said they would prefer for her to bump the scores even higher. I mean we do not mind after she got an “ok’ish” score (i.e., lower end of the 25-75th percentile of the schools) so she wanted to re-take again but she just got a cancellation for next month. What can we do. right? We’d just likely stick to those schools that accept her present score.

But yea from experience, all still asked for scores (3 each from Div 1 and Div 3).

@gtsamd my '21 struggled with having 3 tests canceled at the 11th hour - March, June and now August. I think at this point these kids have been through so much I don’t have the heart to force her to keep prepping in the hopes of taking yet another test that might not happen. I suppose it depends on whether your D21 is happy with her current options. Mine is, so I think she likely won’t even attempt to test again after these months of trying fruitlessly.

@NEsprinkles D21 is happy with the current options available to her. For her #1 choice, she already passed the pre-read and just awaiting a final offer/ support from the coach. This has been the most excruciating one in terms of wait since we started the process early this year. We reckon our D21 is not a top recruit and coach is just waiting if those top ones will commit or not. We are still holding out and not losing hope (lols) since coach told us several times our D21 is a strong recruit for his team.

We got a verbal offer from her #2 choice so we’re following up on #1 and also her #3. She will be happy to attend any of these (given other considerations primarily on cost/ affordability).

Hope your kid is able to find a great match to enjoy the overall college experience not just playing sports.

Hi there, so we were able to secure a test Site for my daughter in PA for the August SAT for now at least. Her previous 2 test centers had cx with no word from college board . I as well found out by noticing her August registration had disappeared . I would recommend calling the test site directly to see if they will be administering the test . Praying this takes place . If not I’m not sure what’s gonna happen . Her top choice says she in for sure if she gets a certain score which my daughter feels she can do. We are spending an insane Amount of money on tutoring right now . It’s just so much pressure to put on a kid . I feel like if this school doesn’t work out she’s in big trouble and she will not get her results until September 21 or so . Her 2 and 3 choice are doing prereads right now . She has been offered admissions at a top d3 school
Which she is not interested in .
Has anyone heard of coaches accepting a slightly lower score than the target score ? Do all the swimmers need a minimum score at d1 schools or is it on a case by case basis? Any advice would be appreciated .

I empathize with the stress your daughter is feeling. It is good she has a number if interested schools…continue to build those relationships with coaches.

DI and DII athletic prospects need to meet minimum NCAA recruiting standards. Beyond needing a certain number of core courses, there is a sliding scale of gpa and test scores that must be met.

Schools/conferences can require higher test scores and/or GPAs, and use other metrics like an Academic Index (such as used by the Ivy League).

Will her top choice wait until the August test results are available? Has she let the d3 school go? Are all of the schools still in the running affordable?

NESprinkles, I am sure your DC is a fantastic applicant for his/her choice school and you are right that the CB needs to step up here- the kids are trying to meet them more than half way, imho.
Don’t know if this suggestion will be helpful or not, but the " take SAT at student’s school" option has always been in the SAT/ACT CB contract meaning that, if a HS requests an " optional test date" at their school, it can be chosen as an alternative by those enrolled in that HS.
I don’t know if this is actionable and I am not a professional member on this forum- just another parent- but perhaps you and some other parents of athletes at your HS could approach the AD, the College Counselors and the Principal as well as PA and see if your D’s HS is willing to contact with the CB to host the exam at their HS.
Might work as, though a random testing center might close at will, certainly your D’s HS Principal, Athletic Director and College Counsellor have an interest in their student athletes being able to pursue their college educations with the best outplacement yield reflecting back on their school.

Best of Luck in any case.

@Spike20010 thanks for this helpful advice! I will check on this! Maybe the schools will relent on the testing for athletes too. Wishful thinking!

For NCAA DI and DII it’s the NCAA that requires test scores. In the spring, NCAA removed this requirement for Class of 2020 athletes.

I expect they are waiting until later this year to see if students can get tests done before deciding what to do…both CB and ACT have added dates, and a number of states have a school day test in the fall. Time will tell.