Education Evolutions

Test-Optional Policies in US College Admissions

Lana Learn continues offering test-prep classes despite test-optional policies at US colleges because they provide invaluable skills beyond test performance.

In recent years, the landscape of college admissions has undergone a significant transformation with the rise of test-optional policies. While these policies have aimed to create more equitable opportunities for students, they have also had an unintended consequence—a decline in enrollment in test prep classes. As an organization that offers test prep, we have witnessed this shift firsthand this past Spring at Sandy Spring Friends School and understand the challenges it presents.

Some students have opted to forgo formal test prep classes, believing that they are no longer necessary for college admissions success. The perception that test prep classes are only valuable for achieving high test scores has led to a decline in enrollment in classes. However, this viewpoint overlooks the holistic benefits that test prep classes offer benefits beyond test performance, such as improved study skills, time management, and familiarity with test formats.

While test-optional policies may have changed the emphasis on standardized test scores, it is crucial to recognize that many colleges still consider these scores in the admissions process. Additionally, scholarships, honors programs, and certain majors may still require or strongly recommend standardized test scores. By choosing not to enroll in test prep classes, students may inadvertently limit their options and potentially miss out on opportunities for academic and financial rewards.

Although there is now more flexibility in the college admissions process, test-optional policies have also influenced students’ enrollment decisions regarding test prep classes. However, it is crucial to recognize that standardized test scores still hold weight in certain contexts, and test prep classes provide invaluable skills beyond test performance. As students navigate this changing landscape, they should adopt a strategic approach to their college admissions journey, considering individual college requirements, leveraging test flexibility, and seeking personalized guidance.

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