Will Applying Test Optional For Duke Early Decision Extensively Hurt My Chances?

I applied ED to Duke and I had previously believed that my chances were fair, until I had heard that not having an SAT/ACT score could really kill your application. I live in Central Florida, so tests are offered near me, but I am quarantining because my family is at risk and their lives aren’t worth a test score or a university acceptance. Duke states that not having a score won’t disadvantage you, but at the same time since they are still accepting scores, it will help other applicants. Does that necessarily mean that it hurts my chances? How badly do you believe not having a score will impact admissions prospects? I have a 4.0UW GPA and 20 AP classes under my belt, so I had previously thought that I had already displayed that I have what it takes for Duke, but perhaps not without a test score.
I know there’s nothing I can do now, but I’m super nervous about it.

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Test scores fall into the “academics” category. Since you already have a 4.0 GPA with 20 APs, you really don’t need to show them any more that you can achieve academically. They already can tell that you have what it takes in terms of academics. Not having test scores shouldn’t put you at a disadvantage.


Thank you for your reply! I will keep that in mind.

I have talked to a couple of Ivy admissions officers. They have been told to not disadvantage students who apply test optional. There have been parts of the country where you could not take the SAT/ACT. I have heard that 75% of the students for the class of 2025 are applying test optional.

It does make you wonder who would be advantage/disadvantage? You have two identical application. One is test optional and the other has a SAT of 1560. Who is at a disadvantage?

I was thinking that as well, but it’s unlikely that two applicants put side to side will be super identical (maybe?). I’m guessing that one will be even the slightest better than another, but they’d have to value that small difference over the SAT score. I see your perspective and agree it could be used for “ties” though.

I seriously doubt you would be disadvantaged–I mean those are like perfect stats (assuming you got mostly 4s and 5s, which I am guessing you did based on that GPA!).

Hello! I am a student at Duke that is quite involved in the admissions department! According to a letter sent to many administrative officials by our Dean of Admissions, 40% of early decision applicants chose not to submit SAT/ACT scores. That is HUGE compared to what is typical. He also emphasized that submitting or not submitting will not be enormously influential on admissions outcomes. There are quotes from him today concerning this issue in our student newspaper towards the bottom of the article (link below).

I got in! Thanks for the help guys.

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