Kristen Bixby

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College Admissions without Test Scores

Those of us who are deeply into the world of college admissions knew that the SAT’s and ACT’s were likely on their way out. But we didn’t expect it to come quite so quickly. Assuming that testing locations won’t be open this fall and student’s won’t have the opportunity to take SAT’s or ACT’s, what does that mean for the admissions process?

Many articles have been written and studies have been done about both the unfairness of these tests and the lack of college success predictability. The tests had these intentions but were missing the mark in some big ways. For those reasons, colleges were relying on these tests to make admissions decisions less and less. Colleges were going test-optional, meaning students could choose to send test scores or not. Many admissions experts expected SAT’s or ACT’s to be obsolete within the next few years.

This past spring when the country basically shut down, so did test centers and high schools. So the SAT and ACT could not be administered. At that time, many colleges decided to go fully test-optional. However, students, parents, high schools and colleges were optimistic that test centers could open in the fall and students would have the opportunity to test at that time.

Well, now it’s fall and it’s not looking likely. So, how are colleges evening the playing field for students that took the test in the fall or winter of junior year, before test sites closed, with those students who didn’t have the opportunity to take the test? They are doing so in two ways:

  1. Test-Optional with no negative assumptions: Colleges that are remaining Test-Optional are saying that if a student doesn’t not submit test scores, rather than assume the scores are not good and that’s why the student didn’t send, they will assume that the students didn’t have the opportunity to test and that is why they did not send scores.
  2. Test Blind: Some colleges are going test-blind, which means that even if a student did have the opportunity to take a test and submit scores, they will not be evaluated in the admissions process.
  3. Test required: As of now, there still are some colleges that are requiring test scores.

Do you think these new practices are fair? Is one more fair than the other? Regardless, we are in unprecedented times and it’s important to stay calm and focused on the things we CAN control: ourselves.

For an updated list with information about which colleges are test-required or test-blind, go to:

For a list of test-optional colleges go to www.fairtest.org

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