Some colleges make SAT optional

Admissions officers at test-optional colleges and universities are relying on new ways to review a student’s academic ability without looking at their standardized tests scores.

“By allowing students to apply as test-optional, they are indeed giving the student a choice on how they present themselves to an admissions committee,” said Jeremy Lowe, who is the associate director of admissions at American University, a test-optional school in Washington, D.C.

Test-optional schools–those where students are not required to submit their SAT or ACT scores in their applications–are also on the rise. Test-flexible schools apply a holistic review of a student that is more personalized and takes other aspects of a students academic success into account.

Standardized tests used by colleges and universities. Photo by Alberto G., standardized tests can reflect a student’s strengths and weaknesses. Standardized testing is used to eliminate possible discrimination of students who may be limited by a weaker school system. These tests also have the job of measuring a student’s readiness for college.

For years, tests have been a standard for college applicants during the admissions process, however in a PBS report, colleges and universities are starting to put less emphasis on test scores as they are not reliable in predicting academic success.

“I know some people who did very badly on it and they ended up going to college and getting very good grades,” said Kevin Thibodeaux, 25, of the SAT.

As of the summer of 2017 more than 950 schools are test flexible or test optional.