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'Test-Optional': The Outlook for 2021-2022

Updated: May 6, 2021

The excellent educational consulting group IvyWise is keeping a list of schools that declared themselves “test-optional” for the 2021 graduating high-school class and are extending the policy to 2022, or longer. This is a great tool for university-bound students now in their junior year, and sophomores who are planning ahead.

An estimated 72% of U.S. colleges and universities declared themselves “test-optional” for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. Public health and logistical factors were paramount in the decisions, since the availability and proper administration of tests under coronavirus restrictions couldn’t be guaranteed; students faced inordinate challenges to prepare for tests, schedule and take them; and at-home test arrangements were found early on to be untenable.

Some students may conclude that the “test-optional” policy creates new choices for them. Among other outcomes, 2020-2021application data shows that, by enticing more applicants, it has made the most selective schools even more so.

And international students beware, because the policy may or may not apply to you! Be careful to research each school’s requirements carefully, and in every case, remember that test scores are only one part of the equation for a college or university that’s right for you.

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