‘Test-Optional’ College Admissions Requirements Examined During COVID-19

It is certainly not necessary to get your eyes examined to understand the machinations of Undergraduate Admissions. However, getting your head examined is another story. All joking aside, I am speaking to parents of high school students, who have been plotting and planning their protégé to apply to college since they were tiny tots.

Oh, and what a journey it has been. We can talk about so many different hurdles that both parent and student endured in their quest to apply to college. Hold on for a moment. Not just any college, but an ‘elite’ college. You know what I am referring to. The prestigious college that is emblazoned on the rear bumper of a fancy schmancy car.

Speaking from experience, we parents have driven our students crazy for the better part of their sacred childhoods. Expectations were high for achievement in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities, and of course, to strive for that perfect standardized test score. Hell, failure was never an option, despite the fact that the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions wants students who have failed and risen from the depths of hell to learn from their mistakes to become a better person.

Let us focus on standardized tests during COVID. It is fair to say that COVID has absolutely turned the college admissions process on its head, for all of the obvious reasons. At the beginning of the first COVID stay at home lockdown, the SAT and ACT were postponed and/or cancelled. Initially, students and parents were upset over this disruption. My gosh! All that studying and money to pay tutors down the drain. At that time, no one ever thought the lockdown would go beyond a month. Really.

COVID essentially forced most colleges to become ‘test optional’ for the current application cycle 2020–2021 and waive the mandatory admissions requirement for test scores. This means that even if a student took the SAT or ACT, they are not required to submit the score(s). Better yet, if a student did not take the SAT or ACT, they do not have tell admissions why they did not take the test. No explanation required. Wow. Really.

In fact, for the student who is simply ‘not good at standardized tests’, this was the proverbial gift — for parents and students. What an opportunity! No sleepless nights worrying about receiving a high test score; no bank loans needed to pay SAT/ACT tutors. The first ever ‘pass’ in applying to college.

One Caveat: All applicants must confirm with each college their specific standardized test admissions requirements for the current application cycle, notably 2020–2021.

Admissions #FUNFACT of the day: COVID Test Optional Undergraduate Admissions means not having to say ‘I am sorry’ for not taking the test or coming up with 1,000 excuses for receiving a ‘low’ test score.

#WISEWORDS: COVID Test Optional Rule: When in doubt, throw it out! If test score is low (bottom 25% of scores, do not submit). If you aced the test, submit. Really depends on where the score falls.

For additional insight on the college admissions process, please check out my book on Amazon!




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A Forward Thinker. Humorist. Realist. Author of The Admissions Game, Application Cycle 2020–2021. A Very Former, Assistant District Attorney. gaytoday.blog