In today’s episode of “College Admissions Real Talk”, Dr. Legatt explains a recent statistic that came out concerning SAT-ACT scores.

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VO: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk with Dr. Aviva Legatt, a podcast for students seeking to get admitted to top-tier colleges. Each episode will feature an important tip for your college admission success, delivered with candor and love. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside the mind of a college admissions officer, this is your chance. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. So, what’s your dream school? 


AL: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk. This is Dr. Aviva Legatt, founder and Elite Admissions Expert at Ivy Insight and author of “Get Real and Get In”. Today, we’re going to be talking about the fact that fewer than half of Common App applicants submitted their SAT or ACT scores in the 2020 and 2021 application cycle. So, this is a really great piece that was written by “Grown and Flown”, a popular blog on parents of kids ages high school through college. It was clear from this article is that everything was different for 2020 except for teams applying to college. And there were so many colleges that became test optional, and that was a really transformative change in the application process. If you look up some of my past episodes, I talked all about test optional, why “test-optional” is a bit of a misnomer because many years universities do say “test-optional” but “preferred”. But nonetheless they all said optional, and many people unfortunately did not have a chance to take the exam in person at scheduled, or they took it once and didn’t do their best. Over the past weeks, we’ve seen many universities extend test-optional policies into 2021-2022 and even as far as into the 2022-2023 academic year. According to the Common App data, only 44% of students who applied to college through Common App last year submitted ACT or SAT scores with their application. So, during this application year, much of what had already taken place before March 2020. 77% applied with test scores. You can see that the pandemic has such a big, sharp decline on people’s ability to take the test. That said now with vaccines coming out, and hopefully we’ll all be able to be vaccinated soon. I anticipate that a lot more test states are going to happen in person and on time. The registrations will become much more routine even as these test administrations are, of course, anything less than routine every year. Common App has about a million students apply through that platform and larger and more selective schools saw a huge increase in applications this year. As I’ve discussed on previous episodes, grown up one says that these policies may provide some comfort. I want to give you tentative comfort on that because I really would like you to try to sit for one of these exams – SAT or ACT. If you were able to do so safely and without undue burden on your academics and other obligation. Some other interesting facts that Grown and Flown highlights are that students applied to more colleges. Whether it was because there was more uncertainty or people got more liberal with where they applied because they didn’t have to send their tests, students applied to about six colleges which is about 10% more than last year. Even though the number of applicants rose by 2%, the number of applications actually increased by 11% so people were really hedging their bets this year on different colleges and I anticipate that trend to continue moving forward, especially if a lot of applicants are truly taking this test-optional policy literally and saying, “Oh, I don’t need my test”. “So let me just apply to a bunch of selective schools, which I may not have considered previously”. Bottom line, college is unfortunately still becoming more and more competitive, even as enrollments have declined across the country at all different kinds of colleges. The highly selective schools will continue to see more and more applications and these applicants may or may not have test scores. I suggest you put yourself in the top half of these applicants and show some really strong scores if you’re able. If you’re looking for a diagnostic, contact us at Ivy Insight, info at ivyinsight.com and we can direct you to where you can find out what your baseline scores are and how you can improve. Until next time.


VO: College Admissions Real Talk is hosted by Aviva Legatt, edited by Stephanie Carlin, and produced by Incontrera Consulting. I’m Caroline Stokes and this has been your daily boost of college admissions insight. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. For more information on Dr. Legatt and Ivy Insight visit www.ivyinsight.com. And you can pick up Dr. Legatt’s book, “Get Real and Get In”, at major retail outlets across the world. Insight out.