More and more colleges these days are test-optional, so it is best to check each college’s website to find out their current policy regarding whether they require standardized test scores or not. You can also consult Fairtest to find a list of institutions that are test optional, test flexible, or otherwise de-emphasize the use of standardized tests by making admissions decisions about substantial numbers of applicants from U.S. high schools without using the SAT or ACT.

The decision whether or not to submit standardized test scores to particular colleges should be made carefully.

Often students wonder whether they should submit their test scores or not and I tell them it depends on how close your scores are to each college’s average verbal and math scores for admitted students. This information is often on a college’s website and if not, you should call the admissions office to find out. A good rule of thumb is that if each score (on the SAT) is 75-100 points or so lower than a college’s average, then you should not submit your scores.

Another question I am often asked is “Don’t colleges assume scores are low if the student does not submit them?” The answer is no; admissions officers don’t try to get inside the student’s head and figure out their reasoning for submitting scores or not. They don’t speculate what the scores were because a student might have scores which were ten points off the college’s average and decided to not submit them, when they actually should have. My best advice to students is to submit scores if they will enhance your application.


I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for all you have done to bring clarity to the college selection process. The questionnaires, email exchanges, and our meeting were so helpful in finetuning our thought process and guiding our conversations. We are so very grateful to you for sharing your expertise with us.