Should I submit my SAT/ACT scores to test-optional schools?

This year has been an interesting year, and college admission is more confusing than ever. Social distancing and lockdowns, it has become challenging for prospective students to sit for the SAT and the ACT. Many of our students had to sign up for tests in other states/countries, and when they arrive, they are told they cannot sit for the exam due to quarantine rules. In order to alleviate the test-taking problem, many colleges have implemented test-optional policies.

Still, we get asked, “ Should I submit my SAT scores to test-optional Schools?”

Remember, the SAT/ACT score is only a data point. They are 0ne of the many points being considered by the admission officer.

Many of our students already have an SAT score or ACT score. Most of our seniors took the exam the fall of their junior year before the madness and are happy with their score. Still, many students are waiting to take the test or wondering if it is worth the time and the hassle.

Here are some things to consider.

The competitiveness of the schools you are applying to.

Should you submit your scores? That depends on the schools you are applying to. Even though most schools have gone test-optional, they still allow you to submit your test scores. (Some schools have gone completely test blind such as Caltech.) Look at the list of schools. If your schools have an acceptance rate of 30%- 40%, and you have great grades and extracurricular, and a great personal statement, you might want to opt-out of submitting your results. If you’re not sure about your school’s acceptance rate: check out our Parent’s Guide.

But if you are applying to a very competitive school then it might be worth sending your scores. These schools are competitive, and admission comes down to small factors. If the admissions officer is deciding between you and another student: and yours has a high SAT score and the other student hasn’t submitted, you might get the acceptance. That is, of course, unless your score isn’t competitive.

How does your SAT Score work with the student’s GPA?

Compare your SAT score with other parts of your application. The SAT is just another data point.

If you have a high GPA and a High SAT: No brainer- Submit!

If you have a lower GPA but a high SAT score: Submitting your score can help.

If you have a high GPA but a low SAT score: Submitting might hurt you more than help you. But this also depends on the school you are applying to. Look at the colleges on your list. They will have the scores of the previous class. If your score is in the median range or bordering the 25th percentile, then you could submit. If not, then submitting might not be the best idea. If you’re not sure, download our parent’s guide.

If you are still waiting to take the SAT?

If you’ve had a number of cancellations in your area, and you are unable to travel anywhere to take the test, then it’s worth asking if you should submit your scores to test-optional schools.

Keep in mind, as a senior you’re already busy with polishing your personal statement and supplemental essays. You might not have time to study. Applications are now providing a COVID-19 questionnaire to elaborate on how the circumstances have affected you. You can discuss test cancelations. Schools will understand.

Are you aiming for a merit scholarship?


A lot of colleges offer merit-based scholarships. Some of these scholarships require a certain SAT/ACT score. Look into it. If you’re shooting for a merit scholarship, it might be worth it to push yourself and take the test.

There are a variety of factors involved in college admissions. It is important to remember that the SAT/ACT is just one data point. At the end of the day, colleges know and understand.