Should I Take the SAT for Test-Optional Schools?

Though the trend of going test-optional isn’t new, COVID-19 has prompted an unprecedented number of colleges to make the switch. Many schools have made the switch to test-optional for at least the next few years; you can find a list of test-optional colleges here. For students, this means that the SAT for test-optional schools is no longer part of the application requirement. But though you don’t need to send SAT scores to test-optional colleges, that doesn’t mean you can’t. With a few notable exceptions, most schools aren’t going test-blind; this means that if you do send SAT scores to test-optional schools, the colleges will use them to assess your application. This leads many students to ask the important question: should I submit SAT scores for test-optional schools?

Why to take the SAT for test-optional schools

Going test-optional gives students more flexibility when getting their college applications ready. Though they aren’t required to submit SAT scores for test-optional schools, many students should still consider taking the test and sending in their scores with their applications. Here’s why:

Taking the SAT will give you more options when it comes to submitting your applications.

  • By taking the SAT, you won’t be limited to applying only to test-optional schools.
  • And if you never take the test, you won’t know how well you could’ve done!

A strong SAT score can make you stand out from the crowd.

  • If your GPA is already top-notch, a strong SAT score can help round out your application.
  • If you’re worried about a GPA that’s a little on the lower end (perhaps you didn’t realize how important grades would be your freshman year—no shame, we’ve been there), an SAT score can boost the academic side of your application.

The SAT for test-optional schools may still be required for merit scholarships.

  • Though some test-optional colleges have removed SAT scores from the requirements for merit scholarships, others have not. If you are hoping to apply for merit-based scholarships, you should check admissions requirements for the schools to which you are applying for current requirements.

Though test optional schools aren’t supposed to penalize you for not submitting scores, some might view a lack of SAT scores as an indication that your scores would be low.

When not to send SAT scores to test-optional schools

That said, not every student will benefit from sending SAT scores to test-optional colleges. Here are some instances when you shouldn’t send scores:

  • If your SAT scores are significantly lower than the range of accepted scores to a particular college, sending your scores may hurt your application.
  • Health and safety are super important, so if you are unable or unwilling to test, you can still apply to a wide range of schools without SAT scores.
  • Some colleges will take other metrics, such as AP tests or school assignments, into consideration for the academic portion of your application. If you feel like other scores or assignments speak better of you than your SAT score, you can choose to not send your scores.

Preparing for the SAT for the test-optional schools

So if you’re still asking yourself, “should I submit SAT scores for test-optional colleges?”, the answer is likely yes. The good news is we’re here to simplify the process by helping you prepare for the SAT for test-optional schools! Check out our one-on-one SAT prep options today.