Smart Q & A: Is Optional SAT really Optional?

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from: @suddenlyfrugal

Admissions officer told us optional question on common app isn’t optional. So are SATs really optional at SAT-optional schools?


by: Jeannie Borin, M.Ed. , founder of College-Connections

The word “optional” regarding college essays and test optional colleges is a choice.  However, it is recommended to complete any optional college essays.  Admission officers are attempting to gain as much insight about the applicants as possible.  Writing an additional essay is an opportunity for the applicant to show yet another experience, interest or side of themselves not revealed elsewhere on the application.

Currently, there are about 850 test optional colleges in the United States (a list can be found at Many colleges have selected not to require test scores because they consider other components more relevant in determining a student’s success in college. If a student does well on standardized tests, they can still send scores to test optional colleges.  However, they do not need to do so to gain acceptance. Students need to understand that without test scores, their grades, courses selected, extracurricular activities, essays and recommendations are extremely important.

IECA Jeannie is a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (ICEA).

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