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  • Robb Jenson

Is Test Optional Best for You?

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

To take the tests or not to take the tests, that is the question.

Currently, families can choose how to approach this area of the college prep process, a lasting result of the pandemic’s effect on test site availability. For the high school class of 2023, the test-optional policy remains in place at most universities. However, some colleges have already chosen to no longer straddle the fence, becoming either test-mandatory or test-blind. Most recently, MIT has decided to require standardized test scores. In contrast, both the UC and UC State system of colleges have opted to permanently remove the requirement. On a larger scale, some states, including Georgia, will require test scores for the class of 2023 and beyond at all of their state universities.

Should my child prepare for these tests and submit scores?

In short, YES. Although colleges say that students are not at a disadvantage, the trends we’re seeing nationally strongly suggest otherwise. Below are the admission rates recently published by a few representative colleges:

  • Georgia Tech: 22% (w/tests) vs. 10% (w/o tests)

  • Emory: 17% (w/ tests) vs. 8.6% (w/o tests)

  • Colgate: 25% (w/tests) vs. 12% (w/o tests)

Although this is a relatively small sample, the admission rates favor 2:1 for those who submit scores over those who do not. Additionally, some other numbers discuss the composition of their test-optional admissions decisions:

  • University of Virginia – The overall admit rate was 20.57%, but 72% of the 9,875 admitted students submitted test scores.

  • Boston College - Admitted 7,536 students, of which 61% submitted scores.

When is it optimal for my child to utilize the test-optional policy?

It may be in the best interest of a small percentage of students to utilize this policy. To confidently answer this question, it helps to understand the group of colleges your student is considering, and identify the middle 50 range of test scores for each of those colleges. Once you have this information, you can ask yourself these questions to decide what’s best for your child:

  • Is their baseline score below the 25th percentile?

  • How disciplined is your student in following through with a plan of action?

  • How committed and eager is your student to improve their scores?

Answering the questions above will give your family the confidence that you are approaching your college prep in the manner most suitable for your student.

Avant Garde - College Prep Services offers free SAT/ACT analysis, and we’d love to visit with your family to assist with this critical decision. Contact us today at 979.450.7151 or via email ( to receive more information to confidently make this decision.

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