Test-optional schools are great options for students whose test scores do not accurately portray their academic abilities. However, how should you decide when to continue test prep or commit to a test-optional strategy?
Our opinion is you should consider yourself “done” with the SAT/ACT process and apply test-optional if you can answer yes to the majority of the following:
I have spent at least 40 hours practicing for the SAT/ACT.
I have taken at least 2 tests.
My application list is well balanced with a majority of likely and target schools with a fewer number of reach schools.
I understand that a test-optional strategy may not be the best option for my reach schools.
My GPA is higher than the median GPA for admitted students.
I have a strong non-academic application with regards to activities, volunteering, work, recommenders, essays.
I have other “x” factors that contribute to my application such as athletic or other talent, alumni, first-generation, etc.
Merit aid is not an important factor in my application process.
The school to which I want to apply is text flexible and I can submit strong Subject Test scores.
If you cannot answer yes to the questions above, then we suggest you continue to prepare and practice. The general rule of thumb is test prep practice should be about 40 committed hours to improve scores 100 points.
Done with standardized tests? Colleges That Change Lives and are Test Flexible/Optional- coming soon