In a surprise to no one, New York University has announced that it will extend its test-optional policy through next year’s admissions cycle for applicants to the Class of 2026. Of course, those applicants to NYU’s Class of 2026 who do have ACT or SAT scores are welcome to submit such scores. It’s just that NYU — like the vast majority of our nation’s highly selective universities this past admissions cycle — won’t mandate that students submit such scores in order to apply. And why? Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic of course! NYU has not been the first elite university to extend its test-optional policy into next admissions cycle and it certainly won’t be the last. But we do wish to shine a bright lantern on NYU’s verbiage in its announcement so our readers can, well, see right through it not only in this announcement but in the announcements of other schools to come.
NYU Extends Its Test-Optional Policy for Applicants to Class of 2026
According to a post up on NYU’s admissions site announcing their test-optional policy for 2021-2022 by Jonathan Williams, “NYU still welcomes those applying to be members of the Class of 2026 to submit standardized test scores as a supplemental way to demonstrate academic accomplishments, and support your application for admission, but it will not be required. We maintain our decade long commitment to a flexible testing policy that enables students to submit traditional standardized testing like SAT and ACT, as well as a large number of national exams and other alternatives. As with applicants this year, students looking to apply during the 2021-2022 application cycle, will not be disadvantaged during the review process if you choose not to submit test scores. NYU is committed to equity and will consider students who submit standardized testing with the same holistic review as those who are unable to sit for standardized testing. We are proud of our longstanding commitment to looking at all aspects of a students application and will continue to evaluate applicants through our holistic review.”
Test-Optional Doesn’t Mean Applicants Shouldn’t Submit Test Scores
But our readers are savvy enough to not just accept what admissions officers at our nation’s elite universities are saying about the submission of test scores as the gospel. Rather, it’s the gospel according to paid employees of businesses. The businesses, of course, are the colleges and it is in the interest of colleges to persuade as many students to apply as possible. After all, the more students who apply, invariably the lower the admission rate will be and the higher that school will be ranked in US News & World Report. Allowing students to apply without test scores serves a college’s bottom line. But just because a school says that applicants “will not be disadvantaged during the review process if you choose not to submit test scores,” it doesn’t mean it’s true. It’s PR. You see, no matter what the vast majority of admissions officers say to the contrary, at a test-optional school, all else being equal, a student with a great test score will always have an advantage over a student who doesn’t submit a test score. If a school was truly telling it like it is, they’d be test-blind, forbidding the submission of such scores.
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