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What does test-optional really mean?

Posted By Ned Jones | June 26, 2015

For Siena College, high-achieving students who will have a positive impact on their college and are determined to succeed in life after graduation are who we look for during the admissions process—not someone with a certain SAT or ACT score. We understand that a number can't define you, so, like hundreds of other colleges, we're adopting a test-optional policy starting fall 2016. Know what that means?

What does SAT test optional really mean?You may have heard the term test-optional, or maybe test-flexible, already in your college search. While this kind of policy does lessen the reliance on test scores, it might not mean what you think. Here's what you should know about test-optional policies and test-optional schools.

Going test-optional is an emerging trend. More and more colleges are allowing students to apply without submitting their SAT or ACT scores. 

But not all policies are created equal. Some test-optional schools may require the SAT or ACT from out-of-state applicants. Or, those scores may be required for some programs, or when a minimum GPA or class rank is not met. And sometimes, after a full review of other materials, a school may still request a standardized test score. Make sure you read the application instructions closely to whichever school you're applying, to be sure whether or not you have to submit your scores.

At Siena... Students who elect to apply for admission without submitting SAT or ACT scores must have successfully completed 19 academic units (English, history, mathematics, lab science and world languages) during high school. Each of Siena’s three Schools have specific courses that will be required as part of this initiative. Preexisting agreements require students applying to certain programs to submit standardized test scores. Read more here.

Regardless, you should still do your best to study. Even if you end up not having to submit your test scores to apply to a school, you may have to submit them after you get accepted for placement purposes or other reasons. (We can help with that; download our SAT checklist now.)

Think you got it? Or do you still have questions about Siena's policy? Contact us! We're happy to discuss our test-optional policy.

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TOPICS: Admissions Info & Advice, SAT

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