Going Test-Optional? What You Should Know

Updated: May 29

Many U.S. four-year colleges and universities will be test-optional for fall 2022 admission. Admissions officers will be scouring test-optional applications to find hidden gems of information that can prove a student will be successful on campus.


What this means dear student, is no more "drive-by" applications! Imagine the increased workload on an admissions counselor's desk as schools see an increase in the number of applications to review. I can hear their moans, "Please, Lord, not another essay about a sports injury or mission trip!"


Preparing a test-optional application is like moving from painting by the numbers to impressionist art. Hearing the thoughtful, genuine voice of a 17-year old in a college application is an art form that is available to any student interested in self-reflection and using all the tools in his/her arsenal to weave a story.


Below are some real-life CPC student examples using essays, recommendation letters, activity lists, and additional content such as a URL/ZeeMee account.


Drive - Capitalize on other recommender letters asking your Subway Manager to describe your work ethic over the past 4 years and 1,000 subs made! Get the most out of your academic recommendations by writing a heartfelt letter, including a well-formed resume, and asking the maximum number of required and optional recommenders each school allows. Do this before your Junior year ends.

Diversity of Experience - Insert in your personal essay what you have learned about accountability by living in a small town where you can buy grilled chicken from the roadside church stands and always see people you know.

Contribution - Add to your activity list how your babysitting job taught you not to talk down to little people.

Intellectual Curiosity - Describe in your supplemental essay how a curious jaunt to your first audition landed you an unexpected role as Shrek's Lord Faquaad and a love of acting to mesh with your dream of becoming a sports broadcaster.

Initiative - Showcase how you taught yourself art, posting your work on a free ZeeMee account. Announce your demonstrated interest by attending virtual events, joining social media accounts, applying early, and scheduling an optional interview.


All students have hidden gems. Sometimes it takes a little vulnerability and time to mine for them. We are standing by to support - grab a chat!


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