What is test optional admissions, and why does it matter?
Why Agnes Scott is a test optional college, the changes we're making to our policy and how test optional admissions can (and should) be considered in your college search and decision process.
As a Scottie and a long-time staff member of the admission office at Agnes Scott, one of the aspects of our admission process that is most important to me is our test optional policy, which was introduced over ten years ago.
Creating an equitable admission process is important to Agnes Scott and our mission, and one aspect of our process removing barriers that students may have in their way to applying to Agnes Scott is test scores. Standardized testing can be a barrier in multiple ways: inability to reach testing sites, especially during COVID-19; testing being an inaccurate measure of a student’s ability; and the cost to both take the test and send in scores.
We know, through years of research, that we are able to learn enough about a student and their academic ability from a holistic review of other aspects of their application: the transcript (GPA and classes taken), recommendation letters, college essay, extracurricular activities and supplementary information.
Because of that, we’re announcing a change to our test optional policy.
Since the beginning of our test optional policy, we’ve requested additional items as a supplement to the application if a student chose not to send in test scores (usually evaluative interviews or graded writing samples). Starting this year, we won’t be requiring additional items. All students can choose whether or not they wish to submit test scores, and they just have to note that on their application. All students, regardless of whether or not they submit test scores, will be considered for all of our merit scholarships.
Why did we make this choice?
While we loved learning more about our students in the additional items, we found that they presented another barrier and confusion to students applying and completing their applications. With more than ten years of experience evaluating test optional applications, we can make our decision without that information in nearly all cases. We also strongly believe in reducing the stress and anxiety around the college admission process.
Should I submit my test scores?
That’s up to you! If you think that your test scores are a good representation of who you are as a student, then send them in! A good way to know how a college will view your test scores is by looking at their midrange test scores on their academic profile.
Will it hurt me if I don’t send in my test scores?
No. We’re going to look at all of your information, including the classes you’ve chosen to take and the grades you have made. All students are considered equally for admission and scholarships.
What if I feel like I need something more for my application?
We encourage ALL students, whether they are submitting test scores or not, to consider our optional admission interview with their admission counselor. During these virtual or in-person interviews, we’ll have a chance to get to know more about your and your interests, and you’ll have the chance to ask questions about Agnes Scott and your application. If you feel like there’s something about you, your time in high school or your circumstances that isn’t covered by your application, this is a great way to let us know about it.
We’re excited to continue working with students as we move forward. I can’t wait to read your applications and get to know you through the admission process!
Aimee Kahn-Foss ‘08 is the Senior Director of Admission at Agnes Scott College and has been a part of the admission team since 2008. She enjoys spending time with her dog, Boogie, and scaring her staff with her sloth Halloween costume.