Which of my schools should I go test-optional for?

I am a little worried because I am a CS major applying to top schools with a 34 (30M, 33S, 36E, 36R).

It seems like a waste to go test optional with a 34, but my math score is way too low.

This isn’t a chance me so I won’t go into too much detail but for some other context for my app, my gpa is a 3.97 UW, 4.4 W with a pretty vigorous course load.

My AP scores are pretty good, all 4’s and 5’s (except 3’s on gov and apush which i won’t submit). I did get a 5 on Calc BC so maybe that will show my math ability?

My EC’s are also pretty decent and I think my essays will be good. The only thing holding me back is this ACT score.

I know everyone will tell me to look at the common data set for each school and submit if my scores are in the range. But the CDS doesn’t show the range for CS majors specifically, and I know it’s an impacted major. Plus a lot of them don’t show the math/english breakdowns.

So, in your opinion, which of these schools should I go test optional for? If you have any other questions about my app just let me know.

  • uw madison (in-state, EA)
  • virginia tech (EA)
  • santa clara (EA)
  • northeastern (EA)
  • notre dame (REA)
  • rice (RD)
  • tufts (RD)
  • washu (RD)
  • pomona college (RD)
  • brown (RD)

thanks so much for any help!!

Look at each college’s CDS. If below 25th, don’t submit. If above the median, submit. For 25th to 50th, it depends. The fact that the CDS is not by major does not matter. Indeed, many if the schools on your list do not admit by major.

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Any reason you can’t take again, especially for schools that superscore? Yes, Math is too low. However, a 34 is excellent.

I would submit to all but I understand your hesitation. While top schools have taken a Argentine chunk of TO….Wesleyan 40%, I still believe a strong score means something. My other concern and I know others disagree…schools that were not historically TO have one year at this. They will be fine tuning and you don’t know how. Last year, some kids could not take the test. But that’s far less likely now so I believe if you don’t submit, it could sow doubt. Truth is none of us will ever know.

That said at the bulk of schools you academics matter most. Some schools on your list are or are more of the LAC variety and your strong score in other areas will stand out.

This isn’t a chance me, but without the ACT based on your weighted GPA assuming you are using .5 for Honors and 1 for AP you will be hugely doubtful without the test for at least four of the last 5. So to me it can only help.

Unfortunately if you are admitted or not admitted you won’t know why.

There are so many schools of thought on this subject that you just have to make a decision, go with it, don’t look back.

As a general rule I would not submit if your scores are below the 50th percentile for any given school.

Yes, apply test optional. Your scores are stellar, but the math score won’t help you, especially since you are applying for CS. Good luck!

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A post was split to a new thread: Submit SAT or not

Love that 5 on Calc BC! Yes, I think that does show your math ability, better than the ACT.
I hate for you to not be able to submit those perfect scores for English and Reading, but I think that there is a risk of that 30 in math raising a red flag for admissions committees, so I’d say let your GPA and AP scores stand for themselves, and don’t submit the ACT.

I don’t know what the story is with the ACT math section. My kid is pretty good at math (not stellar), but he did a very comprehensive review of high school math using the recommended review books, and took practice tests, and went back and reviewed everything he got wrong, and still his math score was not what he had hoped for. He said that there really just was not enough time to get through it. He also said that having had Calc BC before taking the test would have helped him to do better on it, which should not be the case, since supposedly the ACT math section doesn’t expect one to have had a year of calculus!

My kids had ACT tutors, I remember overhearing him give them strategies for speeding up the math section, which helped a lot.