Test optional or not – a simple guide for Fall 2021 admission

Test optional or not – how to choose

More than 1,450 accredited, 4-year colleges & universities decided to go with ACT/SAT-Optional Testing Policies for Fall, 2021 Admissions. Click here for a full list on FairTest

Now, just because it is optional, doesn’t mean you should think it doesn’t matter, especially if you are a Chinese student. Assuming that you are still debating about whether you should submit standardized test scores, which box you should check in your application? It is not as simple as you think.

A very experienced college counselor, who have been attending countless virtual webinars, offering the following advices:

 For very selective private schools, pick “No”

If the college is offering the option to select that you are applying without test scores or with test scores, always choose “No” if you are not sure if you will be submitting scores.

The reason for this is that once you have checked that you are submitting scores, that box cannot be unchecked. However, if you check that you are not submitting scores, you can always send scores later if you are able to find a testing location AND you are happy with your scores. 

The key thing to remember, the submitting scores box can not be unchecked but you can send scores later even if you initially check not submitting scores.

*This only applies to very selective private schools such as Georgetown, Duke, Harvard, Stanford and Penn.

For UT, pick “Yes”

UT said always pick that you will submit scores, then if you do not send scores they will just automatically move you to test optional if scores never arrive. If you choose “No”, then scores come in, they will NOT be considered in the application process because you already choose test optional. They did say, the student could send an email explaining their change of heart on sending scores but this hadn’t happened yet so they didn’t know if this would always be effective.

For Texas A&M, pick “No”

A&M recommended that students pick “No”. They said test scores are not a required item this year so students applications will begin to be reviewed once all required documents are submitted.

If you do change your mind and want to submit scores later, you can do that and they will be added and reviewed as part of your application. You can make the change from test optional to submitting scores through your Howdy portal. You will go to the section that says, ask a question. You will ask them to change your preference from test optional to submitting scores and within 3-5 business days they would make that change in your portal. They also said doing this in the portal is not a requirement, you could simply send scores and the change will still occur but it may take a little longer to see the change reflected in your portal.

For Baylor, pick “No”

Students are able to initially choose “No” and change their mind and send scores later. They will ask students to complete a Baylor test plan update form along with sending official scores from SAT or ACT.


If you are unsure of a school’s test optional policy and how they are handling receiving or not receiving scores, always call and verify.

Hope this helps, and let us know if you heard anything different! This post will be continuously updated based on users’ feedback. 

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1 Response

  1. September 8, 2020

    […] In this blog, we shared a “Test Optional or Not – a Simple Guide for Fall 2021 Admission.” Read here for more https://ingenii.xyz/test-optional-or-not-a-simple-guide-for-fall-2021-admission/ […]

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