157: Test-Optional Policies and Practices
More than one hundred colleges have adopted a test optional admissions policy in the wake of the coronavirus allowing students to submit an application without an sat for an act score in today's episode I'm GonNa. Talk about test, optional policies and practices college is expensive, but there is financial health available. You just need to know where to find it with her experience in helping her son when. When more than seven, hundred, thousand dollars in Scholarship Money Pam Andrews shares, advice that helps high school students get into their dream college and secure scholarships that will pay for it, parents and deans. This is your place to gain practical easy to follow advice the college process as well as tips from pass scholarship winners, and now here's your host of the Scholarship Shark podcast Pam Andrews. Welcome back to another episode of the scholarship. Shark. PODCAST. I'm Pam Andrews. Your host, and in this episode, I'm talking about test optional admissions. Now, this is a part of our series where I'm talking about sat and act test. In the midst of this global pandemic and I really want students to understand what test optional admissions is and what it's not because although many schools are going test optional because students may not be able to take the test I do want students to understand what it means and really how they should position themselves in the college admissions process. So I'm going to talk with you about what test optional means which. Should your student take and really. What the policies are in how schools really apply a test optional policy Just some general guidelines. So, what does test optional means? Well, it simply means that you do not have to submit a test score when you apply and that's really encouraging because right now you know students may or may not be able to take a test and so because of that over one hundred schools so far have decided to go test optional for students who are lying this upcoming school year. So students who will be attending school the fall of Twenty Twenty One you know many schools have decided to go test optional, which is really Nice. Now, what that does mean is that the rest of your application needs to be very strong. Your grades need to be strong. Your essays need be super strong and your recommendation. So some of those other core pieces really needs to be in place so that you can show your credentials and other ways other than the test score. Now, what test optional does not mean, it doesn't mean that the test is not used in the admissions process. So a Lotta Times students will think. You know they're not going to consider or use it at all. No. That's called test blind and a test blind policy is different from test optional with test optional. If a student submits a score, then the school will consider it when making their emissions decision. If the school is test blind again, there approximately about two hundred test blind schools. It's the school is test blind. Then they don't consider the test at all. You can submit the test, it doesn't matter. They won't consider it at all. But what we're talking about, we're talking about test optional admissions and really schools who were not traditionally test optional schools who are now forced into this condition. This admissions process because of covid nineteen. Now why do college is choose test optional practices. So Pre Cova, D-. Why would a school even consider this? So let me just share three reasons why schools have decided to do this. Normally not because of of course, because of corona virus, but normally. So number one, it allows them to increase their admissions applications when students can apply without having to submit a test score. They find that schools find that they have more applicants. You know more applicants to choose from, and it really does what leads me to number two, it allows them to. Inflate their scores in terms of the numbers of students applying. So now you have more students applying for the same amount of seats, which means you're going to have more rejections or more wait lists, and that kind of gives you that appearance at that school's a little bit more selective because they've had to reject a whole lot more students than they were able to admit. So that's another reason why they do it because they want to Really. Changed their numbers and so by opening up and admitting more students with a you know giving them the option not to submit submit their test scores. It's a way to somewhat inflate the scores in terms of your inflate the data in terms of your at the school's admissions data. And then the third reason why schools tend to t- to go test optional is because of their trying to recruit more students whether that is recruiting student athletes, and so they'll give them the option not to apply with a test score maybe to expand geography. So they'll do that as well, maybe diversity or to admit legacy students. So this is a way that they're able to do that as well. There I'm interrupting today's podcast episode to Tell You about college admissions academy. Now, if you have a high school student who is in the class of twenty, twenty one. Twenty Twenty, two or twenty, twenty, three in college admissions. Academy is for you. We open our doors only a few times during the year, and our doors are currently open for enrollment to learn more about college admissions academy, and how we can help your students not only get into their dream school, but secure scholarships to pay for it, go to our website and get on our waiting list. The website link is www dot. Thus scholarship shark dot com, click on services and Click on college admissions academy. You will then be notified of our next parent information session I, look forward to seeing you there Now I do want you and your student to know a few. Facts when it comes to test optional schools, fact number one, eighty percent of the students do submit test scores. So you know when we look at test optional schools, a large percentage of the students are going to submit the test scores, and what that means is if your student has the opportunity to take the test and they do well meaning that they score at least fifty percent or you know or maybe in the seventy fifth percentile than they really should submit that TESCO score because chances are you know the other applicants are submitting their scores and the second fact is that. You to x your chances of admissions and you four x your chances of earning merit aid, and that's really important because again, you don't want to just get into school, but you want to really get those scholarships and the largest amount of money that students will earn will be at the institutional level. So money at the school level. So again, I, can't stress enough just how important it is for students to prepare for the sat or act, and if given the option to take the test. So let me talk about how schools apply the policy, their test optional policies, and really how they considered moving forward, and there are seven ways. General, that schools do it. So number one, they don't consider the score in the admissions decision, and that's what's called a holistic review. So they're looking at other parts of your student in terms of again there extracurriculars and their essays and recommendation letters courses. So they're looking at other factors other than the test score, and that's typically what students think of when they hear the word test optional that it's not considered at all for admissions. The second way it's practice. Or the policy in a school may be that it's not considered for admissions, but it is considered for placement or academic advising. So you may be able to place a an English one, hundred class or maybe a beginning math course in your major. You know if you maybe take the sat and you score well on the math section or you score well on the the language section or the writing section, you know you may be able to place out of a general, of course. The third way that it's used, it's not required for in state students, but it is required for out of state applicants. So, you may find that school say were test optional. However, if you're out of state, we will require the test. The fourth way is if you have not met or the student if your student has that met the GPA requirement. then they may want a test score. So I'm sorry I really do have GPA cutoffs that they're looking for. and. If your student has not met that, then they may ask for the score to take a look at, you know to assess kind of how your student does. academically. Then, number five, some programs in some majors will require it and what I mean by that, it's typically stem majors. ENGINEERING MAJORS MAY BE PRE MED nursing, they may require a test score. So although it may be a test optional school. If your student is applying for a stem field, you WANNA. Double check to see if the school is requiring a test score for admissions. And number six, sometimes they will require. So you may not have maybe test optional school in terms of emissions, but they may take the sat to test. So the sat subject tests and subsitute that for the AP exam or the IB exam. and. Then finally, I mentioned a few minutes ago that although the school may be test optional for admissions. They may use the test score to determine merit award at that school. Aright. So let's talk about when your students should submit a test. So, if we're looking at non selective schools and that is a school that accepts at least forty percent or more of the applicants. Then, if Your Student Is Above the fiftieth percentile, they should submit it for a non selective school to be considered for merit aid if the school is Jenner's for merit aid. Okay. So there are lots of factors and lots of things to consider. But if Your Student Is above the fiftieth percentile, then they definitely should submit it for a non selective school for for merit for non selective schools for admissions. If they're in the fiftieth percentile than they should submit a test score now. Let me pause for a second I. Know I'm throwing a lot at you and you're probably wondering how do I determine percentile? There are some tools out there a college data You can go to college data, dot, com DOT ORG DOT COM to determine with those percentiles are, and then of course, inside of college. Admissions Academy. I licensed data. So students had that data to really drive decisions inside of our dashboard or college planning dashboard, and so they're able to see how they match how they rank and what are their chances of getting in to a particular school. So you've got options here. You know. So my college admissions. Students had those tools at their fingertips to make those kinds of decisions to help them build their college list. But again, you could go to college data and I'll have the link in the show notes Just simply walk through yourself and Take a look at you know what your student Shit score on the tests to be considered. So before closing I, just want to give my final recommendation. Take the test and choose to submit on a case by case basis. So it depends on the type of school. Maybe the type of of program, really how the school has got to this test optional practice. Did they always go test optional? So had they been doing tests optional at least for three years or more or is this new because of covid nineteen? So you WANNA look at all of that and take all of that inconsideration. But I'm telling students, I'm telling my students who are enrolled in. In College? Admissions. Academy and I'm telling you the listener, take the test. If your student is able to sit for the test, I want you to prep for it and you know get it on your calendar and take the test because taking the tests gives you the option not to submit for schools that are test optional. So it's better to take it take a look at your score. And decide at that point whether or not you want to submit it and how you want to move forward with your school list. So I know that was a lot, but I wanted to give just a brief overview of test optional admissions so that students can understand what that looks like especially since so many schools have gone test optional. So, again, thank you for joining me for another episode of the Scholarship Shark. podcast I'm Pam Andrews. Your host. This is where we help. You take the bite out of college debt.