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If You Don't Want to Pay Sticker Price For College, Read This

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

30% sale sign in a window

If you can pay full price for your student’s college of choice, you can bypass this blog.

If your student’s college list needs balancing for financial fit and admission probability, read on.

If your student is part of an over-represented population of students, then read on closely.

A very small number of schools require test scores for the upcoming Class of 2023 application cycle. Our list includes those listed below, while a few schools have not yet been announced.

  • MIT

  • Georgetown University

  • The University of Tennessee

  • Florida Public Universities

  • Georgia Public Universities

Test-optional is a legitimate application strategy. However, we think in many cases, scores still count.


Test-optional does not mean test blind – Fewer than 1% of test-optional schools do not use standardized test scores in admission decisions. In other words, most consider test scores if submitted.

Test-optional might have a GPA or class rank requirement – If a student was a slow starter academically in high school, the standardized test score could make up for the lost time. For example, Auburn University wants to see a 3.6 cumulative GPA if scores are to be bypassed.

Check out test-optional website wording – Frequently, you will find a test-optional school that states, “We encourage students to take standardized tests like the SAT and ACT, and to share your scores with us if you think that they are reflective of your ability and potential.” For example, The University of Texas notes "...Students are encouraged to submit SAT/ACT scores, but it is not required."


Not all schools are generous with merit scholarships. However, students can access quality traditional and moderately sized private schools using test scores to reduce the cost of attendance.

Highly Selective Schools – Don’t expect academic scholarships to bribe you to come! Scholarships are primarily need-grants based on income and assets.

Public Universities and Colleges –Most state university systems are not generous with academic merit scholarships except for the top 10% of candidates.

Traditional Private and Moderately Sized Private Colleges – Not submitting standardized test data may put you at a disadvantage for at least some merit-based scholarships.


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