April 26, 2020

New changes in standardized test policies

As standardized tests are cancelled, postponed or re-designed, the options for submitting scores have become more important to understand. It’s essential to keep up-to-date with the policies of the schools to which students will be applying.

Here are some terms relevant to standardized tests that you may need to understand:

Test Required: Some colleges and universities will continue to  mandate ACT or SAT scores. For many very selective as well as very large schools, these tests are second only to the GPA as a deciding factor when evaluating candidates.

  • These scores may still be used to determine whether a student would qualify for financial merit awards, honors programs, highly selective programs and majors, or dual degrees.
  •  Division 1 and 2 athletes and home-schooled students may be required to submit scores.
  •  Some schools may allow students to apply early and submit test scores at a somewhat later date.

Test Optional: In addition to the colleges and universities that already have a test-optional admissions policy, the COVID-19 Pandemic has spurred more institutions to go with test-optional admissions. Over 50 schools have recently decided to give applicants a choice as to whether they wish to submit scores for the application year. More colleges and universities are considering this option, and it is likely that many of them will offer it for next year, at least. This means that the GPA becomes an even more important consideration, in addition to essays, recommendations, and activities.

  • Keep in mind that if you exercise this option, you may lose your eligibility for the college programs and financial aid opportunities that may still be based on standardized test scores. That will require keeping up with the policies of each individual school.
  • Consider carefully whether you should make every effort to study for and take these tests. If your scores put you out of the running for the advantages listed above, then you don’t have to report them.

Test Flexible: This option allows colleges and universities to provide their own lists of test scores for students to submit for consideration, including IB, AP, the ACT Assessment Tests or the SAT Reasoning Tests.

Test Blind: For some schools, students are not obligated to submit any standardized test scores at all, especially if they already have achieved a particular GPA. Students sometimes may still decide to submit their scores if they choose.

CEW Suggestion: The most logical course of action is to sign up to take SAT, ACT, SAT subject tests, and AP exams in order to have maximum flexibility when the time comes to apply.  Many colleges and universities are waiting to see if tests will be offered in time for early applications to be submitted in the fall of 2020.


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