If you’re worried about your standardized test scores, consider applying to one of the many selective schools that don’t require these tests. There are about 800 colleges that don’t use scores to make admissions decisions. They’re listed at fairtest.org. There also are many “test flexible” and “test neutral” colleges. The savvy applicant is aware of these variations.
A few examples: at some schools, submitting test scores is optional if you have a high GPA. At others, you have the option of submitting test scores or answering a list of questions. In some cases, scores are required only if you’re seeking admission to a competitive program.
What’s a good strategy?
(1) start planning early. Develop a list of schools that you want to attend and get familiar with their testing policies. CAUTION: stay up to date. Schools have been known to change their testing requirements.
(2) be sure that you know the range of acceptable scores at your target schools. You can easily do this by checking the school’s website and looking at the profile of the most recently admitted class, or by checking a website such as collegedata.com. Some flexible schools will tell you when it’s to your advantage to submit your scores anyway.
(3) consider taking the SAT or the ACT, and consider limiting the number of times that you test. Many students find that their scores don’t improve with repeated testing, and they deplete their energy by constantly taking the tests and test prep courses. Here, again, early planning and researching target schools will prove very useful. Your time can be spent designing an application strategy based on your scores rather than repetitively testing in an effort to increase your scores.