Is test optional really optional?

Since the SAT and ACT are huge sources of stress, we really wish we could recommend applying test optional. But as things currently stand in admissions, we believe it is still in your best interest to test. As you're aware, many colleges since COVID have been accepting applications without scores. This brings in more applications, lowers a college's acceptance rate, and ultimately boosts its ranking. But few colleges have disclosed how many students without scores are actually admitted. The numbers that have been released from a handful of colleges aren't encouraging. Students without scores appear to be at a disadvantage. Students who apply test optional also put themselves at risk for more debt. Many colleges use generous aid to attract students with high scores. We believe the answer to the question, "Is test optional really optional" is no, unfortunately. That's why we guide students through a low-stress test prep plan starting in 10th grade.