New survey: 75% of high school juniors believe their chances of acceptance will be hurt without SAT/ACT scores
Just one in four students thinks they will be evaluated the same without test scores as they would be with test scores
May 11, 2021 – PITTSBURGH – Niche, the leading platform connecting students and families with colleges and schools, today released a new survey of 7,129 high school juniors preparing for the fall college admissions cycle. Despite a large number of institutions that have test-optional policies in place for 2021-2022, a staggering 94% of respondents have already taken or plan to take the SAT, ACT, or CLT.
Many schools that have adopted test-optional policies during the COVID-19 pandemic insist that applicants who do not submit test scores will not be at a disadvantage. However, high school students remain skeptical. Of the juniors surveyed, 75% believe their chances of being accepted will be hurt if they do not submit test scores with their application.
“Test-optional policies are getting a lot of attention for potentially leveling the playing field, but students are still approaching standardized tests as if they’re required,” said Will Patch, Enrollment Marketing Leader. “And it isn’t just the wealthy students who can afford test prep, either — we saw the pattern hold across income brackets. There is a misconception by three quarters of respondents that they will be less likely to be admitted even when a college has a test-optional or test-blind policy. That needs to change.”
Other takeaways from 2021 Survey of Juniors Searching for College:
- Though 66% prefer in-person events and visits to virtual equivalents, just 29% have taken an in-person visit in the past year
- Cost continues to impact which schools students choose to apply to. 29% said that a yearly total cost of $30,000 would be too high to consider
- Of the 47% of students who said the pandemic has changed how they feel about attending college:
- 53% said it feels riskier to attend, but they still plan to
- 38% said it feels more important to attend now
- 5% are considering a gap year
- Another 5% now question whether college is a good investment for them
Since the high school class of 2022 has had an early search process unlike any other, it’s important to understand what has changed for them and in what ways they will need support. The 2021 Survey of Juniors Searching for College indicates how student attitudes have shifted — or in some cases, stayed the same — because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About Niche: Niche is where students and parents choose their school. Whether a school is already on their list or the perfect fit they haven’t yet discovered, Niche connects families to the ones that are uniquely right for them. Our enrollment marketing solutions enable our 1,700 partners to build genuine connections that nurture interest into visits, applications and enrollment. By supporting over 50 million students and parents, Niche is changing how schools and colleges connect with families and build their future classes.