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Is Your Test-Optional Policy Helping or Hurting Your Recruitment Opportunity?

Is your test-optional policy helping or hurting your recruitment opportunity? Use this resource to help make the determination.

Adopting a test-optional admissions policy is far from a new idea, but the COVID-19 pandemic has left an unprecedented amount of students unable to submit an ACT or SAT score, and many schools have had to adjust their stance on test-optional to be able to hit their enrollment goals.

Today, upwards of 80% of private institutions and 50% of public institutions are test-optional, and the nature of the policy and how effectively it is communicated with prospective students make a big difference in its efficacy.

Ask yourself the below questions with the understanding that answering “No” to any of them could be derailing your test-optional policy efforts.

Alleviate student confusion

While most schools have adopted test-optional policies, there are many different types—test-optional, test-blind, test-alternative, and test-conditional. As a result, many students find themselves confused and unsure of what is and is not optional.

Is your policy clear, concise, and easy to understand?If complexity or exceptions are necessary, are they clearly communicated and designated as exceptions?In addition to your own website, is your policy stated clearly and consistently on other sites, such as Common App or other relevant college admission websites?Do the top page returns from a Google search accurately reflect your current policy? Break down additional barriers

One in four institutions has an alternative requirement when applying its test-optional policy (e.g., GPA thresholds, additional essays). In a highly competitive market where many students do not have a test score available, schools with additional requirements risk losing considerable application and enrollment opportunity.

Is your policy in line with those of your competitors?If additional requirements are necessary, are they positioned in a way that could potentially delay or inhibit application…

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