Based on the recent data from Common App, till Feb. 2021, among all the applicants applying via Common App, only 44% submitted SAT or ACT scores, which represents a huge decrease from last year, 77% in 2020.
It's not that surprising since more and more universities have opt-in flexible application requirements on tests, plus the test cancellation due to the pandemic.
Does this mean that when applying to those more selective schools, we'd really go for "test optional"? We are not so sure to jump to conclusions.
Let's take a look of the numbers. For those applicants to more selective universities, the dropping rates of submitting ACT or SAT are actually lower than that of the less selective ones.
If we just look at the white and Asian American applicants, the dropping rates are even more limited.
If we take the test cancellations due to the pandemic, most of the white or Asian American applicants, still with access to the test centers, still submitted their test scores.
As you might have known already, when reviewing applications, college admission committees categorize students with similar background, in order to increase the diversity on campus. So, when you evaluate your application portfolio, you should factor in your competitiveness among "your category". In this case, when most of the applicants in your category submit test scores, we highly suggest, as usual, to prepare the best for the ACT, SAT, or other standardized tests. Only if the test results are not good as expected, the test-optional should be put into consideration.
Though most of the universities haven't announce their application requirements for the next intake, including the policies on tests, it's better to be safe than sorry. After all, the clock is ticking faster when it comes to preparing for application, right?
Source: Not Submitting Scores by Inside Higher Ed
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