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Bombshell Blow to Test-Optional

act sat test-optional Apr 20, 2024

Good morning!

Come join us this morning if you can -- 10:00am EST --  for College Coffee Talk, our live show about college admissions and financial aid news that you can use!  

Here's what's on tap for today:

  • Another blow to test-optional;
  • The latest on student loan "forgiveness" developments;  and 
  • Your questions, we'll be live and chatting!

Tune In!


Grab a cup of joe and we'll see you at 10am EST (recorded if you can't make it)

- Andy Lockwood

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Reader Rants at Lockwood

In response to my email predicting the slow demise of test-optional policies, I received a mini rant from a subscriber to my email list.   Her point, summarized:

* She was a great student herself back in the day

* She was not a great test taker though

* She was admitted to an elite school

* Ergo, standardized testing is ineffective at predicting academic success in college

My response:

"Back in the day" there wasn't as much grade inflation as there is in modern times.  Today, admissions officers can't rely on GPA they way they once could to predict how well a student will do in college, academically.

*I'm happy that she was admitted to the college where she apparently wanted to go.  But I'm curious why she has a chip on her shoulder big enough to spend her time emailing me.

*My email reported the news that Yale (joining Dartmouth, Georgetown, MIT, Georgia Tech, Purdue and others) announced they were tearing up their test-optional policies.  Not my...

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Test Optional Predictions

act sat test-optional Feb 29, 2024

Were I a betting man, I'd wager that more colleges will scrap their test optional policies in the coming year. 

Last week, Yale (joining Dartmouth, Georgetown, MIT, Georgia Tech, Purdue and others) announced they would now require standardized testing, because

     a. they're accurate predictors of how well a student will perform in college and

     b. SAT and ACT scores actually improve diversity, not reduce it.  

The SAT and ACT are more accurate predictors of college performance because grade inflation is rampant at most high schools.  This makes it harder for admissions officers to gauge how prepared a child is for college, academically speaking.

On the diversity front, the dean of admissions at Yale explained that underrepresented minorities and under-resourced students frequently chose not to submit their standardized test scores, which were commonly lower than the median of Yale's published range, but could have...

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Is "Test Optional" Dead?

act sat test-optional Feb 21, 2024

[BREAKING] - proponents for test-optional college admissions policies were dealt another blow yesterday.  Here's the latest news and what it could mean for you:

Here's where to watch this short report.


-Andy Lockwood

P.S.  I pretty much called this, last night on our SAT and ACT Town Hall presentation.  You can watch the recording here.

P.P.S.  Spoiler alert:  we thing the whole test-optional thing is overblown and misleading.  We're still offering 1:1 tutoring and small group tutoring classes.  Our ACT prep class starts next week, March 5.  Learn more here  - use the coupon code CRUSH2024 for 100 bucks off.


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SAT ACT preview tonight

act sat test-optional Sep 16, 2023

Free SAT/ACT Webinar

I'll be faster than and almost as powerful as a speeding locomotive with this message:

Tonight, our head tutor, Marissa U, will host a live walkthrough of each of the sections of the SAT and ACT, in order to help you figure out Which Test is Best... help your kiddo multiply his odds of admission to his Dream School...

...and get his mitts on the scholarships you deserve to help combat the ridiculous cost of college!

The whole thing will be over in order an hour, but there will be plenty of time for Q&A.

Sign up here, and you will discover

  • Which test is best for kids good at math
  • Which test is the "faster one"
  • The hidden "science section" on the SAT
  • More



See you in class.

- Andy Lockwood

P.S.  There's no charge to attend, but the information you learn could save you dozens of stressful hours, not to mention thousands of donuts in wasted tutoring fees for the Wrong Test.

P.P.S.  Here's the sign up page one...

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act sat test-optional Sep 15, 2023

If you've been on my email list for a little bit, you won't be shocked to learn that I was a big Mad Magazine fan back in the day.   

One of my favorite features was the Spy vs. Spy cartoon, which depicted outlandish battles between one faceless spy, dressed all in black, the other, identical but in white attire.

To the best of my recollection, there was hardly ever a clear winner, which was satisfying to some people, I guess.  But not to me. I always wanted to know which spy was better.

A lot of parents, and kids, feel the same way about the SAT or ACT.  There's an assumption that one is "better," meaning one that colleges prefer, or is better in some other, undefined way.  Possibly because those of us who grew up in the 80s on the East or West coast may never have heard of the ACT, which was largely a midwestern thang until it grew, and eclipsed the SAT 7-8 years ago.

Here's the deal...

Colleges are agnostic.  They accept either test.  So the...

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SAT and ACT Danger

act sat test-optional Sep 14, 2023

Earlier in the week, a client said "Danger, Will Robinson!" to me, evoking a popular show people our age grew up with, Lost in Space.

That was a black and white adventure series about a family of space travelers, who bounced around from planet to planet, adventure to adventure, always trying to find their way home, but never quite getting there.

Reminds me a lot of how college planning works, including standardized testing. 

Parents (and kids) bounce around all over the place, getting conflicting, "adventurous" thoughts and advice form other parents, kids, guidance counselors, maybe even (artificial intelligence) robots about standardized testing, like:

  • Don't take either the SAT or ACT, colleges don't need them
  • Don't submit your scores
  • You have to submit your scores if you're not a minority applicant
  • You have to submit your scores if you want to get scholarships
  • The SAT is better for kids good at math
  • If you're bad at science, don't take the ACT
  • Study for both the SAT and...
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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...
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