Juniors: Know what test-optional means

Students need to check the testing policy of each school to which they're applying and that includes "test-optional" schools.  While "test-optional" means a college is flexible about the submission of standardized test scores, that term may mean something different at each school. At some schools, students are no longer required to submit SAT or ACT scores at all. At others, it means students must submit the results of AP, IB, or SAT Subject Tests in lieu of SAT or ACT results. Eligibility to not submit test scores may be contingent on other factors -- for example, you might need to rank in the top 10 percent of your class or have a GPA of 3.5 or above. Sometimes, there are alternative admission requirements such as the submission of graded papers, additional recommendations or in-person interviews. Pay close attention to the policies and practices of each school in order to determine what your testing plan -- and ultimate college list -- should look like. BTW, a full list of schools with test-optional policies can be found here at FairTest.

For more information about testing, including how different colleges view standardized testing, questions to ask about testing, and more, see Chapter 7, “Taking the Tests” in College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step.

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