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Test Optional: What does it mean in 2023-2024?

During the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, most colleges implemented “test optional” policies because students simply couldn’t take the ACT® test. Now, as life returns to “normal” much of the college application landscape is returning to the pre-pandemic reality.

Colleges are still using “test optional” language, but “test optional” has different meanings at different schools. Don’t let the language of “test optional confuse you. The ACT® test is still relevant and can be an incredibly important part of applying to schools.

Generally speaking, “test optional” schools can be divided into a couple of different camps. Most schools require the ACT® test for scholarships. Other schools want test scores for specific fields of study. The most common form of “test optional” is when schools require a higher high school GPA for admission if no test score is submitted with an application.  This can be a benefit for some students who have been working to maintain a high GPA since their freshman year. For students with a  lower GPA,  scoring well on the ACT® might be the easiest path to college admissions.

At this point you may be asking yourself, “So, should the ACT® test score be on the application or not?”  Yale University recently put out an article about standardized test score policy.  In short, submitting a score almost never hurts an applicant’s chances of getting into a school and it often can even help. We highly recommend checking your school of choice for specific policies, maximizing your test score and submitting your score when it seems advantageous.

We are here to help you navigate it all. Let us be the first to tell you, we are not huge fans of the ACT® test. In fact, TorchPrep was started nearly 15 years ago to help students succeed on this weird, long, and tiring test — a test designed to keep students’ scores low. Even though we don’t love this test, we know the impact a higher score can have for students.

We offer different solutions to families all over the region. Boot Camp, Weekend Warrior, Summer Intensive, Private Test Prep, and TorchPrep Private Tutoring are all designed to fit your needs and allow you to achieve a higher ACT® test score or increase proficiency in your high school courses.  Want to learn more?   Follow the links below or reach out to our customer concierge.

– The TorchPrep Crew 

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