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Why Take the SAT in a Test-Optional World?

I get this question almost every time I send an email about our SAT and ACT tutoring options, and yesterday was no exception.  The question:

"Do you even need to submit your SAT or ACT anymore?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' herein...

There is a difference between APPLYING test-optional, and GETTING IN test-optional.

Colleges are a little cute about this. They don't readily release their stats on the number of admitted students who submitted their scores.

They do, however, brag about how many students with great or perfect scores they rejected, like Stanford did last year.

How do you decide whether to submit your scores?  Here are my thoughts and hunches:

  • Test-optional policies were designed to increase minority enrollment at selective colleges.  The increase, so far:  a big fat 1%
  • Admissions offices used test-optional policies to recruit other classes of students, in addition to underrepresented minorities:  legacies, athletes, international students, children of professors.   
  • If you're not a special category (a "tag" or a "tip"), I think your best bet is to submit your scores
  • If you do not submit your scores, understand that the rest of your application needs to be strong to offset this lack of data:  GPA, rigor of course load, extracurriculars, letters of rec, etc.
  • If your scores are below the published range of a certain college, I would not submit. Why give admissions a reason to reject you?
  • If your scores are within the published range, I would submit (even if at the low end)

The decision to show your SAT or ACT cards is a game day, college-by-college decision in my experience.  I hope this note gives you a bit of insight.  

Commercial Message:  Our SAT and ACT prep classes are a-startin!  SAT class tonight and tomorrow, ACT on it's heels. 

Just go here for the online class and here for the in-person, group tutoring class -- use coupon code CRUSH2023 for either.  (Just wait for the shopping cart price to update before you check out.)

Higher scores mean greater odds of admission and fat, juicy scholarships!  Jump on in.

-Andy Lockwood

P.S.  Yes, we tutor for the ACT too.  Everything is listed on our test prep website:


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