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Profiles and Policies of Test Optional Schools


For the last week, we have been discussing the importance of creating a standardized testing plan, how to prepare for the SAT and the ACT, and we introduced the possibility of applying to test optional colleges.  In my last blog post, I discussed why some colleges choose to be test optional.  I wrote about the varying levels of selectivity and academic offerings of test optional schools.  Below are the profiles of some test optional schools.  This information shows the varying policies of test optional colleges.  For a complete list of test optional schools, as well as additional profiles, please visit:
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
WPI’s curriculum focuses on hands-on opportunities that combines theory and practice.  Their test optional policy is called a “Flex Path.”  Instead of submitting standardized testing scores, “students are encouraged to submit examples of academic work or extracurricular projects that reflect a high level of organization, motivation, creativity and problem-solving ability.”
Since WPI is a school focused on the sciences, some examples of additional work “include written descriptions of science projects, research papers, robotics or other mechanical design concepts.”  For more information on WPI’s test optional policy, please visit their website.
New York University
NYU is an example of a school that is not necessarily test optional, but has a “flexible” standardized testing policy.  On their website, NYU describes how a student can submit a scores from options including the SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests or AP exams.  For more details regarding NYU’s flexible testing policy, please visit their website.
Lewis and Clark College
Lewis and Clark offers applicants the opportunity to participate in their “Portfolio Path” option.  Since Lewis and Clark has been offering this option since 1990, they have a good idea of what types of materials are the best predictors of student success on their campus.  Through the Portfolio Path, students must submit two samples of graded academic work, however this academic work must meet specific criteria, such as being completed in the junior or senior year and it is helpful if the sample includes instructor comments.  For the specific “Portfolio Path” requirements, please visit Lewis and Clark’s website.
Lawrence University
Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, is an example of a school that is completely test optional.  They do not require any additional materials if a students chooses not to submit their standardized testing scores for review.  They also have a video on their website which provides more information on their philosophy behind their standardized testing policy.
Large State Universities
Many large state universities have “automatic” admission policies if you have a certain GPA and/or class rank.  Though some still require standardized testing scores for placement purposes, they will not use an SAT or an ACT score in the application review process.  Often times, if you do not meet the minimum requirements for automatic admission, your application will receive a holistic review, which will require an ACT or an SAT score.
Katherine Price
Educational Consultant


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