28 May 2020

Running College Kickstart Without Test Scores

Posted in Class of 2025, College Kickstart

notest modalWe continue to look for ways to help you better manage the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. In the past two months we've added several new capabilities, including:

  • Active tracking of test-optional institutions
  • Links to virtual visit programming for each of the schools we cover
  • A recommendation engine to help you capitalize on test-optional admissions

Today we're introducing a fourth capability: the option to run College Kickstart without a standardized test score.

Available immediately to all College Kickstart subscribers, this feature gives you the flexibility to assess academic performance based solely on GPA and class rank whenever possible. 

Click Continue Reading below to learn more.


Running College Kickstart without a Test Score

Normally, a standardized test score is required to run College Kickstart. In light of the uncertainty surrounding SAT/ACT testing this fall, we are temporarily relaxing this requirement so that students without test results can use College Kickstart with just a GPA or class rank.

When you run College Kickstart without a test score, a dialog box will appear indicating that we’ll attempt to assess academic performance based solely on GPA and/or class rank:

notest modal


There are two things to keep in mind when running without test scores:

  • There may be situations where we are unable to assess academic performance.  On occasion it won't be possible to assess academic performance—for example, when a school on your list doesn't include GPA or rank information in their class profile, or when the GPA you've entered (say unweighted) isn't the same as the GPA reported in the college profile (e.g. weighted).  In these situations, we'll default your academic performance to the mid-50th percentile and call this out in the Details tab for the school under Academic Performance Assessment.

    sample when no credentials are available to assess academic performance

    We'll also call this out in the List Check tab using a "?" superscript:

    notation when unable to assess academic performance
  • Academic performance will be assessed for all schools, including those currently requiring standardized testing. Technically speaking, without a standardized test score a list should be limited to test-optional institutions, but given the possibility that COVID-19 may force all colleges to be test-optional this admissions cycle, we’ll attempt to assess academic performance anyway. Again, this will be called out in the Details tab in the Academic Performance Assessment panel for the institution.
    sample when test score is required

Some final thoughts:

  • Use a test score whenever possible. While you now have the option to run College Kickstart without a test score, consider using a PSAT or PreACT score as a proxy until actual SAT or ACT results have been received. This allows for a more complete assessment and ensures academic performance can always be assessed.
  • Include as many academic credentials as possible. Colleges are inconsistent in how they report GPA--some use unweighted GPAs, others use weighted, and others will just combine everything together into a composite GPA. To maximize the chances that College Kickstart will be able to assess academic performance, enter both unweighted GPA (on a 4.0 scale) and weighted GPA (on a 5.0 scale), as well as class rank if you have it.
  • Consult with your counselor for the bigger picture. As always, be sure to check with your college counselor for the bigger picture.


With all of the uncertainty surrounding standardized testing in our current environment, put College Kickstart to work for you. Our new ability to run without a test score will make it easy for those of you who haven't taken the SAT or ACT to get a jump on your plans based solely on GPA and/or class rank.

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

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