The Ivy Coach Daily

September 24, 2020

Seniors Should Submit Test Scores

All else being equal, an applicant with great scores will always beat an applicant with no scores.

Should current high school seniors be sitting and taking the SAT or ACT? If you ask Bruce Reed, a co-founder of a test-prep company, the answer is no. As Maya Goldman reports for The Wall Street Journal in a piece entitled “Covid-19 Is Making SAT, ACT Harder to Take,” “[Reed] said if he had a child who was a high-school senior this year, he wouldn’t advise them to take the tests, but he thinks juniors should plan to take them later this school year.” And while that sounds like nice, reasonable advice being as we’re in a pandemic and all, if we had a child who was a high school senior this year, that child would have begun testing for the SAT or ACT much earlier on in high school. But if by chance that child hadn’t yet achieved his or her best score, we’d absolutely encourage him or her to grab an N95 mask along with a pair of gloves and continue testing because no matter what so many of our nation’s elite colleges say to the contrary, all else being equal, an applicant to the Class of 2025 with great scores will always win over an applicant with no scores.

A Reader Suggested Our Advice to Continue to Test is Unsound

A commenter to one of our recent blogs in which we advised students who still wish to boost their SAT, ACT, or SAT Subject Test scores to grab an N95 mask and hop in a car to head to a state where test cancelations aren’t as commonplace chastised us for offering such advice. But that’s ridiculous. Don’t get us wrong. We’re not anti-maskers. We wear masks everywhere — even out in the open air when walking our doggies. Heck, we wear ski goggles on planes. But these test centers are playing by the rules. As Goldman writes, “College Board and ACT require social distancing, symptom checks and masks at all testing sites, among other safety protocols.” So why is it so ridiculous that we encourage healthy 17 year-olds to still test if they can? Why is it so ridiculous that we’re encouraging them not to waste all the prep they’ve done over the last couple of years. Please.

That Reader Has Had Too Much Kombucha

And if you’re thinking we’re only encouraging students to test because our firm happens to offer test prep, think again. Test prep is a small part of our overall business. Rather, we’re encouraging students to continue to test if they still need to boost their scores because we know that our nation’s elite colleges don’t always tell it like it is — including and especially now with their test-optional policies. Let us be clear. These policies aren’t worth the paper they are written on. These schools still want to see scores. Will they admit students who don’t submit scores this year? Of course. They’ll have to since so many students won’t be submitting scores. But our blog is dedicated to helping students optimize their cases for admission to these elite institutions. And this year, like all years, it still behooves applicants to submit great test scores. It would be easy for us to agree with Bruce Reed. Sure, don’t submit scores. Do yoga instead. Bathe in essential oils. Drink a kombucha if you wish. But, while you’re at it, submit scores if you want to give yourself the best possible chance to get into the best possible school.

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