As reported in US News & World Report
“My advice is to assume that the test is preferred,” says Aviva Legatt, an admissions consultant and author of a college admissions book titled “Get Real and Get In.”
As always, names and identifying details are changed when I relay college counseling stories:
Andrew a student from East Lyme High School had nearly perfect SATs. He was admitted to multiple top colleges and offered merit aid at colleges below the top tier.
Justin, another student from East Lyme High School, with a slightly higher GPA as Andrew, was not admitted to any top college and his merit aid offers were distinctly lower than Andrew’s. The only distinguishing factor was that Justin went test-optional. Everything else – their essays, course selection, and activities – were really similar. I would know since I provided college counseling to both of them.
I view test-optional in a delightful way. Prepare vigorously for the tests. If the tests go well, brilliant! Your chances for college admission and merit aid money increase.
If the tests do not go well, then fine. You won’t have that advantage but it won’t be the kiss of college admissions death either.
One more thing that must be noted: test-optional was not designed to help students from affluent suburbs in Connecticut.