Myth: Test-Flexible Colleges Have Lower Standards Than Test-Required Colleges

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Flickr user aubin kady

When creating your college application, you have to understand that each portion matters. Your essay, your extracurricular activities, your references, your GPA, your courseload: Everything carries some amount of weight. That includes your standardized test scores. At colleges where the test scores are mandatory, those scores help to balance out your GPA. It also balances the rest of your profile and vice versa.

Test flexible colleges have similar standards

In a way, this makes it so that test-flexible colleges (where you can choose to report your test scores or not) actually have the same standards as test-required schools, but the way they look at your application is slightly different. Without test scores in your portfolio, your GPA, course load, and everything else in your application profile become that much more weighted. This can be beneficial if you did well in your classes but didn’t score well on the ACT or SAT.

Other factors to consider

If you specialize in one or two areas – say you have an art portfolio or have taken several science AP tests – sometimes schools will weigh those in rather than standardized test scores. These policies also benefit students with test anxiety (there are many people who excel in classrooms but don’t do well with the SAT or ACT) and those who might not be able to afford the test prep and to retake a given test multiple times.

Test flexible colleges still rank highly

Test-flexible colleges still score high in national rankings. Be sure to check out schools that are test-flexible. This can help take the pressure off of standardized testing and your college search.

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