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June 8, 2020
Are standardized tests still relevant for college applications for african students

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ARE STANDARDIZED TESTS STILL RELEVANT FOR YOUR COLLEGE APPLICATIONS?

This year, we have seen some radical changes in the use of standardized tests (SATs and ACT) among some USA colleges and universities. These schools have decided to go test-optional for the 2020-21 admission cycle, and likely the next couple of admission cycles. More radically, some have discontinued the use of these tests as admission requirements altogether.  Prominent among such schools are some of the ivy league universities such as Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, and Yale, including top schools such as Amherst, Barnard, Wellesley, CALTECH, MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and many others. (see a full list of such schools and the duration of this new policy Universities (Test-optional).pdf) 

HOW DOES NEW TEST-OPTIONAL POLICY AFFECT AFRICAN APPLICANTS?

The important question here is how this “new policy” affects international applicants, especially African applicants. The fact is some schools in the USA have been using Test optional policy for years now, and most of them indicate that most international applicants do submit Standardized test scores.  Admission committees in some of such schools admit that they do help them in evaluating the academic credentials of such applicants. Moreover, the standardized test scores are a great determinant  of  the academic rigor of  foreign high school programs. In other words, the SAT & ACT help admission committees to easily ascertain the credibility of submitted academic records.



For students who attend schools that use the American system of education or even the IGCSE/A-levels, some universities  will still benefit from your standardized test scores in making a decision. The reason is that although some schools made standardized tests optional,  almost 80% of all such applicants do submit the standardized tests.  This same thought was intimated by Todd Rinehart, the vice chancellor for enrollment at the University of Denver, when he announced, during the spring of 2020, that the University was going test-optional. He did admit, though, that international students who submitted test scores had very impressive scores.  

Another important reason to submit a standardized test score is to help you get some financial aid. In most universities in the USA,some merit based scholarships have, as part of their requirement, an applicant’s SAT or ACT score. Such scholarship packages  could range between $5000 to even $25,000. 



FAQ ON SUBMITTING STANDARDIZED TEST SCORES AS AN AFRICAN APPLICANT

  1. What does all this mean to you as an African applicant for this fall application cycle?

ANS: Sit for the SAT or ACT test.

  1. What if your  score is not the best?

 

ANS: Do not send your score to your school if it’s not impressive.

 

  1. Should I not sit for the test since quite a number of the schools have gone test-optional?

 

ANS: That decision might put you at a disadvantage since, historically, most international students still submit standardized tests to even test-optional schools because it gives them an advantage. Also, test scores are an easy way to evaluate your academic credibility and help you get some financial assistance from the schools.

 

  1. When are the test dates for international students?

Ans: August 29th, September 26th, October 3rd, and December 5th, 2020

 

  1. Where can I go to prepare for this test?

ANS: Any experienced teacher or tutoring agency will be of great help, especially if you are struggling to study on your own. I will recommend signing up for tutoring with AFEX Test Prep https://www.afextestprep.com/online-class-enrollment-form/

 

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