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Just how optional are the SAT/ACT for the 2021 admissions pool?

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

What's the deal with test-optional colleges and the many, many articles suggesting taking the tests is an advantage regardless?

On Friday, the National Association for College Admission Counseling released this statement:

"Due to the cancellation of SAT and ACT testing dates, more than 1,200 U.S. colleges and universities announced they are moving to a test-optional policy, and more will surely follow. By going test-optional, institutions are making a definitive statement that they will not need test scores to make admission decisions this year. Despite the change in policies, high school students and their parents are asking, 'Does test optional really mean test optional?' The answer, simply put, is: YES. The following colleges with test-optional policies in place affirm that they will not penalize students for the absence of a standardized test score. Together, we strongly endorse a student-centered, holistic approach to admission that will not disadvantage any student without a test score."

It's signed by representatives of more than 400 colleges. The NACA's guidelines for who gets to rep the schools, per their site: We seek one signatory per institution with a test-optional policy ― a senior leader in admission or enrollment.

If you have a score on the books, be aware a college may request your records from the College Board or ACT. If you're concerned about outside proof for specific skill sets, check on testing centers in your area and consider the subject tests. Consider a passion project, too, demonstrating your integrated skills and showing off your excitement.

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