19 April 2020

Navigating Test-Optional Admissions with College Kickstart

Posted in Class of 2025, College Kickstart


In recent weeks we've seen several prominent institutions adopt test-optional admissions for the coming cycle to alleviate some of the anxiety brought on by COVID-19.

With many more institutions expected to follow suit, we've introduced two new capabilities in College Kickstart to help you stay on top of the changes and identify situations where applying test-optional may be worth considering.

Available immediately to all College Kickstart subscribers, it's a much easier way to navigate and capitalize on test-optional admissions in our current environment.

Click Continue Reading below to learn more.


Navigating Test-Optional Admissions with College Kickstart

With more colleges shifting to test-optional admissions, we're pleased to introduce two new capabilities in College Kickstart to help you stay on top of the changes and consider when applying test-optional makes sense for you.

  • Active tracking of test-optional schools. We've long tracked standardized testing policies for the 600+ schools we cover in College Kickstart. Normally, this information is updated in the late summer for the upcoming application cycle. Given the number of prominent institutions announcing shifts to test-optional admissions in recent weeks, we've accelerated our process and are now actively tracking standardized testing policy changes.

    These changes will continue to be visible in the Requirements view. Schools which have recently adopted test-optional policies for the upcoming cycle will be denoted with a green "New" badge under the Standardized Testing column.

  • Personalized analysis. In addition to actively tracking schools with test-optional policies, we've also added personalized analysis to quickly identify situations where applying test-optional may make sense for you.

    Each time you enter your college list and credentials and run College Kickstart, we now perform an additional check to see if (1) a school in your list is test-optional, and (2) it appears you can benefit from it based on your GPA and/or class rank.

    When these conditions are satisfied, we'll evaluate your academic performance based solely on GPA and/or rank and recommend that you consider applying test-optional to that school.

    This will be visible to you in two ways:

    • Details tab. We'll call this out in the Details tab in the Academic Performance Assessment panel for the institution. You'll see an orange "test-optional" bar in the summary chart and commentary that summarizes findings and includes a link to verify you've staisfied the conditions for applying test-optional.
    • Summary view. We'll also call this out in the Summary view under a new column called "Consider Test-Optional."

    Things to keep in mind:

    • Your test score and at least one other academic credential are required. For the test-optional consideration feature to work, you'll still need to enter your SAT/ACT score along with at least one other academic credential (e.g GPA or class rank). If you haven't taken the SAT or ACT yet, use your PSAT or Pre-SAT as a proxy. If neither are available, consider taking an online practice test to approximate your score.
    • Always check with your counselor. Always consult your counselor for confirmation and consideration of the bigger picture.
    • Be sure you've satisfied requirements. Always confirm you've satisfied the conditions for applying test-optional, as many schools will only permit you to apply this way if you exceed a minimum GPA or agree to submit an additional essay , recommendation or AP/SAT II subject test results in lieu of your test score. .


With all of the uncertainty surrounding standardized testing in our current environment, put College Kickstart to work for you. Our new test-optional capabilities will make it easy to track institutions that have gone test-optional, and more importantly, identify situations where applying test-optional may make sense for you.

To learn more about College Kickstart, click on one of the links below:

Cron Job Starts