Advice about Test Optional/Test Free/Test Blind Admissions Policies

With test optional/test free/test blind admissions policies, applicants (and their families) are empowered with choice how to present a student’s unique qualifications for admissions. Yet, like with any choice, being informed to choose responsibly is essential. 

First, as previously posted in What’s the difference between Test-Optional, Test-Blind, and Test-Free College Admissions Policies?, students must understand the difference between test optional, test free, and test blind policies. As a caveat, under test-optional policies, admissions officers also reserve the “option” to disregard SAT or ACT scores, even when students submit scores, if the scores are not useful in the evaluation process. 

Second, students with their families as well as other trusted educational advisors, should debate how to best demonstrate their aptitude, when choosing whether to take the SAT or ACT or not. Students who are confident in their test-taking ability may choose to take the SAT or ACT and submit scores. Students who do not believe they can show their aptitude by scoring well on a standardized test, can dedicate more effort toward extracurricular activities or improving their academic grades. 

When students and families consider the totality of information shared in any application—the transcripts, the extracurricular resume, test-scores, and/or essays—as well as how admissions officers evaluate students holistically, applicants can then determine how and where to showcase their individual qualifications for admissions.


Creative Marbles was founded by teachers who appreciate helping students craft insightful essays, first in the academic classroom, now as part of the complex college admissions process. For more information, please contact us 

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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