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The Swing to Test Optional Policies

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

In response to stay-at-home orders impacting thousands of student across the US as well as around the world, scores of colleges have announced changes to their standardized testing admissions policies. 

Recognizing that high school juniors are facing diminished opportunities to take the SAT, ACT as well as IB examinations, there have been substantial conversations concerning what is now deemed essential to evaluating candidacy for admission at individual institutions.

While the test optional movement has been rapidly accelerating over the last several years, the current worldwide pandemic has forced the hand of admission offices everywhere to recheck their policies. As of this writing, over 1100 colleges and universities do not require SAT or ACT testing as an admission requirement. To access the full and continually evolving list of test optional colleges and universities, visit The National Center for Fair and Open Testing at www.fairtest.org.

Still, a test optional approach to application review does not mean “test blind.”  For a student who has already tested to their satisfaction or plans to continue testing once community health conditions predict safe social gathering, it may make sense to continue on a testing path in order to present best possible scores at the time of application.

A number of colleges have established variations of test optional policies, including: one-year trials, three-year trials; shifting from a prior test flexible# policy to one in which standardized tests are no longer required for review, as well as policies fully embracing a test optional philosophy. Schools with test optional policies assert that do not need to rely on SAT or ACT scores because they receive sufficient information within a student's application to render an admissions decision, including classes taken, grades, curriculum rigor, activities, essays and teacher and/or counselor recommendations.

Note that international applicants may still be required to produce some form of standardized test results, including English language competency scores through TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo.

Colleges announcing recent shifts around testing policy change include:
(Last updated:  5/6/20)

Amherst*
Babson College*
Boston University*
University of California system*
Centre**
Claremont McKenna (will not accept online testing)
Colgate
College of Wooster
Cornell University*
Davidson **
Hamilton ^^
Haverford
Indiana University system
Loyola University New Orleans ~
Macalester College
Middelbury**
Northeastern*
Pomona*
Rhodes**
St Olaf
Santa Clara *
Scripps
Swarthmore
Trinity University, TX**
Tufts **
University of Richmond*
University of Southern California*
Vassar*
Wellesley*
Williams*

*One-year test optional pilot and will then reassess

**Three-year pilot test optional and will then reassess

^^ Was test flexible but now test optional for Class of ‘21

~   Recently adopted a test-blind policy for admission and scholarships


These colleges to offer a #test flexible policy (applicants can choose which standardized testing scores to submit -- ex. SAT Subject Tests; AP scores; et al.)

Texas Christian University
All public universities in Oregon
Western Michigan University 
________________________________________________________________
Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com


Saving on Costly College Application Fees

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Parents, it's time to start warming up the credit card.  Application fees are a significant source of revenue for colleges, with some schools tagging applications north of $80 at the time of submission (I'm looking at you, Duke!)  Students who find themselves applying to an expanding pool of colleges (often unnecessary if they carefully consider their list on the front end) can expect to accrue hundreds of dollars in application fees alone.

But there are ways to trim down these initial costs by taking advantage of special arrangements that some colleges offer.  For example, students who apply in the early pool or by a priority deadline set by an individual college may be offered an application fee discount. In other instances, colleges may induce students who have visited campus to ultimately apply by offering a special discount code as a "thank you" for making the trip.  And, of course, most schools offer total fee waivers for students who demonstrate significant financial need.

There are nationally-known colleges out there across varying levels of selectivity recognizing the barrier of mounting application fees and increasingly offering students cost breaks at the time of application.  For an excellent, updated list of colleges that may reduce application fees across various scenarios, read  HERE.

Tuition bills come soon enough.  Saving where you can starts now! 

_________________________________________________________

Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting,  providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admission process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC.  Contact Marla via www.achievecoach.com  


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