Is Test Optional Admissions for You?


Often, when we first meet with students (and parents) to discuss college selection, test-optional colleges are viewed skeptically. Many families come to this meeting with the impression that test-optional schools inevitably equate to a less rigorous academic experience.

Is this true?

In short, absolutely not.

Many prestigious liberal arts colleges and universities have jumped on the test-free or test-optional admissions bandwagon. Schools on this list include University of Chicago (rank is #3 among National Universities), Bowdoin College (ranked #5 for National Liberal Arts Colleges), and Wesleyan University (ranked #18 for National Liberal Arts Colleges) among many others.

So what are the arguments for or against standardized tests?

Hughes College Prep is a firm believer in providing students and their parents with all the information they need to make an informed decision about their post-secondary options. Here are some pros and cons so that you can do just that.

  • There is evidence that standardized tests favor wealthier, privileged students with access to test preparation resources and are, thus, not a fair metric to use (P.S. contact Hughes here to ask us about our student scholarships and efforts to make test preparation available to ALL, regardless of income).

  • Colleges that adopt a test-optional admissions policy increase their diversity.

  • Princeton conducted an in depth study in 2010 to back up their position that standardized tests are valuable to the admissions process - here are the results.

  • The matriculation rate of test-optional students at participating colleges is equivalent to those who submitted tests suggesting that the tests are not good indicators of student success.

  • Some credit standardized testing with a positive reversal in admissions that meant “better students, even from low-income families, had more opportunities, while low-ability students were unlikely to be admitted to the best colleges, regardless of income or connections.” Read more here.

What do you think?

Connect with a Hughes College Prep advisor today to discuss college selection and get started with the college admissions process. Follow our Facebook and Instagram to see featured test-optional schools each week!