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  • Writer's pictureBeth & Tim Manners

Test-Optional: A Growing Alternative

US News: "The SAT and ACT have long been a dreaded staple of the college admissions process. But as of this fall, more than 1,000 schools nationwide – including Bennington College in Vermont, Ohio Wesleyan University, Pitzer College in California, James Madison University in Virginia and the University of Denver – have gone test-optional. To earn admission, prospective students have the opportunity to skip submitting standardized test scores altogether or to share alternate credentials such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate scores, extra essays or creative portfolios in their place."

"Specific policies differ from school to school, but 'test-optional' typically means that a university will treat standardized test scores as additive to the student's profile rather than required. More consideration is given to the other components – transcript, letters of recommendation and extracurricular involvement. And many admissions counselors look more closely for demonstrated growth over the four years of high school."

"UChicago made the decision to go test-optional because admission is determined by more than test scores ... Only about 10% to 15% of applicants used the test-optional policy, and roughly the same percentage were admitted that way and chose to attend. In part because of the new policy and increased financial aid offerings, the university saw a 20% rise in low-income and first-generation students for its latest admitted class."

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