The foolishness of test-optional for most of our Connecticut and New York clients

By General Education Advice, SAT ACT Test Prep

‘Even with generous financial backing, if the rest of your application presentation isn’t compelling, going test-free puts you at a disadvantage. Non-submitters have lower acceptance rates than those who submit test scores. Colleges favor those who supply more data. The more you convince colleges of your ability to thrive, the better your chances are.’ CollegeVine

Do you know why the SAT was created?  Despite the current noise about the unfairness of the test, the SAT was actually designed to ensure fairness.  Minority students – at the time predominantly Jewish – were being kept out of the elite schools because students from the old boys network were being admitted.  So, for FAIRNESS, the SAT – a test that was given to all – was used to compare applicants from city schools versus elite boarding schools.

Now, a variation has occurred.  Students from good school systems – which are usually affluent or private – should want the SAT (or ACT) as part of their college admissions portfolio.  But some parents from these arenas mistakenly think differently.

We work clients who are usually from excellent public and private schools in Connecticut and Westchester County.  Some of our clients score below their friends on the SAT and then think the SAT is not good for them.  As a more direct example, we’ll have clients who have 1300s but their friends have 1400s and they mistakenly think the SAT is a disadvantage to them, particularly if they have mostly A grades.

Some bad news for parents whose children have good grades: 47% of students have an A/A- average.  Read that again to let that sink in and consider what that means for your child.  Unless your child is truly at the top of his/her school, then your child’s grades will not create much of a differentiator versus other students who attend far less challenging schools.  To be blunt, your children’s A averages at Old Lyme or Rye Public Schools are being considered as equal to those in a typical Mississippi public school and that’s not fair. Moreover, if you think your child’s activities are standing out, you might reconsider when you realize that every high school has captains of sports teams, leads in school plays, club leaders and so forth.

Also, to be more direct, most of our clients need to have high scores to balance out the lower scores from different demographics than those who typically live in our area.

What will make you stand out if you attend a top high school?  A test that everyone takes.

Moreover, while financing college has always been a consideration, Covid will likely create even more need.

Merit aid – the dominant way that our clients get financial assistance – stems almost entirely from test scores.

Miami of Ohio has been forthcoming enough to release its merit aid plan.  Most colleges do not.  We have found, however, that most schools have similar merit aid rewards.  Study the chart and as always follow the money 🙂