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What Is Test-Blind College Admission?

by
Certified Educational Planner; Co-founder & President, One-Stop College Counseling
Last Updated: Oct 9, 2020

You’re probably aware of “test-optional” colleges and universities, but have you ever heard of “test-blind” schools? A growing number of institutions are becoming test-blind as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But what is a test-blind school, and how does it affect college admission? Check out the video (and the rest of the blog) below to learn more!

What does test-optional mean?

Test-optional is the more popular term right now, and it means you don’t have to submit test scores when you apply to a college; they’re optional. If you don’t feel like your standardized test scores are on par with your abilities, you can apply to a test-optional school without submitting your scores. However, this option works best for students with impressive transcripts. For selective schools, the optimal test-optional candidates are students enrolled in rigorous classes and earning excellent grades whose scores don’t reflect their full potential. Some students simply don’t test to the best of their ability, and those students can be strong test-optional candidates.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, there were about 1,080 test-optional schools in the US, and that number was growing rapidly each year. When COVID-19 broke out, students weren’t able to test because of site cancelations and other obstacles. As the pandemic continued, an increasing number of colleges accepted that many high school seniors wouldn’t have a chance to sit for the SAT or ACT. Little by little, more schools announced they would be test-optional so they could increase access to college while minimizing health risks.

Currently, there are over 1,550 schools that are test-optional. That translates to two-thirds of all US universities acknowledging the fact that the majority of students won’t be able to test before this year’s admission deadlines. These students can now apply to test-optional colleges worry-free. However, many students are still under the impression that “optional” means “required.” Enter: test-blind.

Related: Test-Optional Schools vs. the SAT and ACT

What does test-blind mean?

Test-blind means you cannot send your test scores when you apply to a college. If you do submit your test scores, the college will block them from their view. They’ll evaluate you based on everything else, including the all-important transcript, which shows the strength and rigor of your course load and your grades. They’ll also look at other factors such as your teacher and counselor recommendations, activities, admission essay(s), demonstrated interest (for those that track it), and interview(s).

Before the pandemic, there were hardly any schools that were test-blind. So why are more colleges adopting this policy now? Many students believe that test-optional colleges actually prefer students to still submit scores despite the policy, and some of these students feel that pressure and are traveling hours away to neighboring states in order to sit for the ACT or SAT. But now, many schools don’t want you to sacrifice your health to sit in a room for hours with strangers and take these tests. Therefore, some colleges have decided to become test-blind so students won’t feel any pressure to continue attempting to take the tests.   

This new concept can be frustrating to students who took their standardized tests last year, especially if they worked hard and are proud of their strong scores—but colleges are trying to level the playing field. Test-blind schools are sending students a clear message: You do not have to take a test, and the schools will not look at your scores when making admission decisions.

Current list of test-blind schools

In the last few months, there have been an increasing number of colleges that have decided to go test-blind. Most recently, the entire University of California system was ordered to go test-blind by the Superior Court of California (though it’s being appealed, so any students looking at these schools should keep their eyes open for changes). Right after that decision, Dickinson College became one of the few liberal arts schools that decided to become test-blind. The current list of test-blind schools in the US as of October 9, 2020 is as follows:

For more information—including an up-to-date list of test-optional schools, test-flexible schools, and test-blind schools—visit Fairtest.org.

Connect with schools mentioned in this article!

Connect with Catholic University!

Connect with College of Staten Island!

Connect with Queens College!

Connect with Boise State University!

Connect with University of Idaho!

Connect with Reed College!

Connect with University of California, Riverside! 

Connect me with Stonehill College!

Connect with Washington State University!

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About Laurie Kopp Weingarten

Laurie Kopp Weingarten

Laurie Kopp Weingarten is a Certified Educational Planner as well as Co-founder and President of One-Stop College Counseling. She meets with students in her New Jersey office and virtually throughout the United States and Asia. She graduated from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and received an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Working with 8th­–12th graders, Laurie guides students through each stage of the college admission process. She’s passionate about helping students reach their full academic and extracurricular potential; there ‘s nothing more rewarding than their excitement upon acceptance to their top-choice schools!

Laurie is a Professional Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and also a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), the New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling (NJACAC), and the Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling (PACAC). She’s also a proud member of the Character Collaborative.

Follow One-Stop’s Facebook page for daily articles on the college admission process.

 

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