Does Test-Optional Really Mean Test-Optional at Colleges?What are the Pro and Cons of Submitting Scores?

Test-optional policies at colleges and universities mean that applicants are not required to submit scores from standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT as part of their application. Here are some potential pros and cons of applying to a test-optional college:


  • It allows you to focus on other aspects of your application, such as your transcripts, essays, and extracurricular activities, which may better reflect your academic and personal achievements.
  • It may be especially beneficial for students who have faced challenges such as economic hardship, disability, or illness, which may have affected their test performance.
  • It can also be a good option for students who are strong academically but do not perform well on standardized tests due to test anxiety or other factors.


  • If you have strong test scores, they can often be a significant factor in your favor when applying to competitive colleges, so not submitting them may put you at a disadvantage.
  • Without test scores, it may be harder for the college to accurately assess your academic abilities and determine whether you are a good fit for their institution.
  • Some colleges and universities may still require test scores for certain programs or majors, even if they have a test-optional policy for general admissions.

Ultimately, whether or not to apply to a test-optional college is a personal decision that should be based on your individual circumstances and goals. It is always a good idea to research the specific policies and requirements of the colleges you are considering and consult with your guidance counselor or other trusted advisors before making a decision.


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