Test Optional Colleges

Crumpled test paper

Test optional colleges, which give the high school student the option of submitting or not submitting his/her SAT or ACT scores, are committing fraud in plain sight.

They deserve the Deceiver of the Year Award, which is what I give to those colleges which easily beat out any politician who moves his/her lips.

These are colleges and universities who are eager to claim they are “test-optional,” that is, they do not require a student’s SAT or ACT score.

Sounds warm and fuzzy so far, right?

In this report, both Bates and Providence College came to the stark conclusion that non-submitters of their SATs scored 100-to-160 points lower than submitters.

If you were a college admissions official, how would you treat an application from a student who didn’t submit scores? Curious? More than likely. Fair? Doesn’t matter. The college can do whatever it pleases.

The Boston Globe disclosed the bottom line in this article: “What they don’t advertise is that they find future students by buying names of those who do well on the test.” Don’t you just love this headline?

“Bowdoin Says No Need for SAT While Buying College Board Scores”

In other words, don’t submit your SAT/ACT scores, but we’ll come after you if your scores are high; we want to market and sell you whatever we like.”

These colleges pay thirty-three cents a name from either the College Board or ACT (testing service). One college buys 100,000 names a year.

Do the math. Does your child attend a test-optional college? Ouch!

The hypocrisy is so obvious that you would think they’d give up on such distasteful marketing of their brands. No way. Once their lasers are locked in, you’re a big fat target.

When I’m researching colleges for my students, I don’t exclude test-optional schools.

If the school happens to be test-optional, I will tell the family, and they can decide if they want to be part of that school’s identity as “test optional.”

I challenged an admissions director of a Jesuit college in Worcester, MA about their policy.

I was brazen. I actually stated the following: “If your college was honest about the admission process, and wanted every applicant to believe they were on a level playing field to get in, you would require all applicants to NOT submit their SAT scores.”

The silence on the other end of the phone was 10-months pregnant.

Besides spending your money on a 150-million-dollar, state-of-the-art gym (Ohio State), on a million-dollar brass statue of a school’s mascot (Quinnipiac U), or on a million-dollar wave machine for a gargantuan pool (BU), they’re now spending money on names and addresses so they can leverage (read: cheat on) their cultivated image as a school that rises above those cretinous and vile requirements for college admission – SAT/ACT scores.

Disingenuous is the deliberately kind word I would use to describe the mind-sets of these colleges.

I gotta take a shower.