In light of the vast majority of America’s universities choosing to go test-optional in admissions on account of the pandemic, did most college applicants submit test scores this year? The answer is no. According to data released from The Common Application, only 44% of applicants who used their platform, the most widely used application platform, submitted either an SAT or ACT score to the colleges to which they applied this year. This figure was down from 77% the year before. So it was a significant drop indeed!
And some college applicants were less likely to submit test scores this year than others. As Scott Jaschik reports for Inside Higher Ed in a piece entitled “Not Submitting Scores,” “The data provided by the Common Application show as well deep reductions in the number of minority applicants submitting scores…Similar statistics are available for first-generation students and those who received fee waivers on their applications. These reductions in the number of applicants submitting scores are larger than testing companies have wanted to see or have speculated would take place.”
But, of course, that which is true at the vast majority of America’s 900+ universities is not necessarily true at America’s 25+ elite universities. In fact, the opposite is often true. Is that the case with respect to the submission of test scores under test-optional policies? Absolutely! Let’s take the University of Pennsylvania as an example. 76% of Early Decision applicants to the Ivy League institution submitted test scores this past year. And while many highly selective institutions have yet to release data on the percentage of applicants who did and did not submit scores as UPenn did, we suspect a similar percentage of applicants submitted test scores to America’s 25+ elite universities.
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