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What to Consider Before Opting Out of Standardized Tests

What to Consider Before Opting Out of Standardized Tests
Suada Kolovic

Standardized testing is as much – if not more – a part of the college process as tweeting your acceptance, Snapchatting your new roomies and buying a shower caddy...or at least it used to be: According to reports, there is a growing trend toward test-optional admissions. What does that mean? If a student decided to apply to a test-optional institution, they can choose whether or not to submit ACT/SAT scores as part of their application. Thinking about signing up? Don’t shred your test prep materials into confetti just yet; here are some things to consider, courtesy of Time Magazine:

  • Your academic record: When admissions counselors evaluates a test-optional application, they pay particular attention to grades and the difficulty of the completed curriculum. Students who excel in AP, dual-enrollment, honors and IB courses – and who have the high marks to prove it – may find that test-optional admissions is particularly well suited to them.
  • Your exam history: If your exam results do not reflect your marks on most other academic tasks, test-optional admissions may be right for you.
  • Your prospective schools: Consider the colleges and universities to which you plan on applying. How many of these schools offer test-optional admissions? If even one school requires a standardized exam, it may be worth submitting your scores to every prospective college on your list.
  • Your financial aid prospects: Some academic institutions and outside organizations require ACT/SAT results as part of their decision-making process. Before you commit yourself to test-optional admissions, research the criteria for any grants or scholarships that appeal to you. If test-optional admissions will limit any needed financial aid, it may be best to follow a more traditional admissions path.

Do you think the test-optional admissions practice is the way of the future? What do you think is a better barometer of qualified applicants: test scores or essays? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And don't forget to try and fund your education with as much free money as possible – a great place to start is by visiting and conducting a free college scholarship search where you'll get matched with scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities that are unique to you!

Comments (2)
Sarah A. 5/5/2015
When in doubt, take a semester or two at a local state univ or community college. Establish yourself. Make good grades, and transfer to the college of your choice. Once you've gotten 30 hours or so, no college requests test scores. You don't need to take the exams to get into a good college. Just start somewhere. Some colleges even let you start in high school. Scholarship options are probably limited using this route, but there's still the Pell, and Transfer scholarships. For military veterans, I definitely recommend just starting school, and transferring to a bigger school when they're ready. That's what several of us did, and it's worked out very well.
Benjermin T. 5/5/2015
Standardized tests are what gave my friend Geoff the ability to go to college. Because of some life choices he made during his freshman year he did not have an outstanding GPA however he did so well on the ACT that he found out that he could actually afford to go. Despite his bad choices he made previously he was able to show his intelligence and get accepted to GCU. He is currently a youth ministry major and enjoying every moment. Standardized tests are a venue for you to show your skill to most of the colleges around the U.S. They are not a punishment, they are an opportunity.
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