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Test-Optional Leaning?- Most schools are still optional - but which schools lean in?

Updated: Jun 25

Schools are looking for cues that high school students have the academic fundamentals to handle college-level work. Schools requiring scores for this admissions cycle want students to know that the process is most successful when pairing high school grades with test scores.

Test-required schools believe submitting scores expands admissions for students from low and middle-income backgrounds, rural high schools, and first-generation college students, as scores are viewed relative to the student's high school results. They also believe scores can reduce the relative level of importance of variables that favor well-resourced students, such as activities and recommendations. See more on Dartmouth's research study here.

Still, most schools are test-optional, which poses the question, "Are they?" The answer to all things in college admissions is "It depends."

Data is key. You can see this information within most schools' Common Data Set. The 2023-2024 Common Data Set is the most current.

Go to Common Data Set Section C9 to see enrolled freshman students who submitted SAT/ACT scores. It is important to understand that this data is not from admitted students, but we work with what we have.

If a school leans into scores and yours are just below the range, don't necessarily rule out sending them, particularly if a strong subject score can show academic potential.


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