So many students stress out so much about the SAT and ACT, used in the college admissions processes, and how one test can potentially change their futures. We, as students and test takers, often argue that one type test can't define our intellect. We pour so much of ourselves into these tests, exhausting ourselves for a score that will somehow define us to a college in some way in the college admissions process. But students are now not the only ones who are acknowledging this. As time passes, more and more schools are becoming either test optional or test flexible.
What does it mean to be Test Optional or Test Flexible?
When a school is test optional, it means that it is your choice as a prospective student to send in your test scores. You can send your scores if you believe they will accurately represent you to the school, or choose not to. This gives students more control over how they are presenting themselves academically, which is empowering in the college admission process. An incentive for the college as well is that only the applicants with very high test scores will submit their scores. This will lead to the college appearing to have a higher average SAT and ACT score, because only the top scorers submitted their scores. This makes colleges appear more prestigious, but this doesn’t mean that the college is ill-intentioned!
Some schools, on the other hand, are test flexible. This means that applicants will have an alternative to submitting a test score. For example, a college may have students meet a certain GPA to be eligible to not send a test score. Or, a college may ask for another form of testing besides the SAT or ACT, such as submitting SAT Subject Test scores or AP Scores. This shows a student’s ability to excel in a subject of interest, which may prove to be more valuable.
How many schools are test optional/flexible?
Over 800 schools are either test optional or flexible. This is a growing trend among colleges who want to create an admission process that will allow them to see more out of their applicants. While many of the schools transitioning are smaller ones, a couple of larger schools that have deemphasized the SAT and ACT are New York University, Drexel University, Washington University, and University of Arizona.
New York University is a test flexible school that allows for the submission of the SAT, ACT, three SAT Subject tests, three AP tests, an IB diploma, three IB level higher exams, or a nationally accredited exam that shows completion of secondary education. Drexel University holds the same standards, except they require two rather than three SAT Subject tests or AP tests. On the other hand, George Washington University and the University of Arizona are test optional with the exception of a couple of circumstances.
All in all, test-flexible/optional schools allow the opportunity