Daily, we see announcements about another college going test-optional. The current count is 1,200+ colleges that are test-optional for the fall 2020 application cycle. What does this mean for you?
Test-Blind: This means that colleges will not use test scores when they evaluate the application. Example: California State University system will be test blind for the fall 2020 application cycle.
Test-Optional: Colleges will see and consider test scores if they are submitted. If a student does not include test scores, they will not be penalized in the admission review cycle this fall. Example: The University of California will be test-optional for the 2020 & 2021 application cycle.
Seniors: If you have not tested, due to the spring exam dates being canceled, you have the opportunity to test this fall. Both SAT and ACT have added test dates to the schedule. College Board opened the test date in May, I've heard that some dates have filled. ACT will open for scheduling at the end of July, they added new test dates and also a Sunday test date into the schedule. If you are a strong test taker, I recommend moving forward with the SAT or ACT. If your scores are strong, include them! If you are not happy with those scores, then do not include them in the applications. If you are a STEM major, you still have the option of SAT II's. UC "prefers" a Math Level 2 and a science SAT II for Engineering and some science majors.
Juniors: I recommend strong test-takers to move forward with plans for exams this year. If you prepped this summer, register for the fall exams. If you are taking Algebra 2 as a junior, consider taking the mid-year or spring exams. You should take the PSAT in October, as planned. This exam is scheduled at your high school.
Sophomores: I would suggest that we observe the fall exams, see how the College Board and ACT deal with the virus, and potential test dates. In early spring, we can also evaluate what colleges are saying about future exams. If more colleges go test-blind than we need to consider your possible college list to determine if you will eventually take these exams. If your high school will allow it, sign up for the PSAT given in October at your high school.
Freshmen: Too early to determine test plans for colleges. I suggest we hold off and see what happens to the next admission cycle.
Want to know which colleges are test-optional? Fair Test is the best site for latest test-optional policy.
College Board: SAT Exams
ACT: ACT Exams
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