Be Realistic about Testing

the word "optional"

It’s July. We’ve passed the Summer Solstice and we are moving swiftly towards “back to school” time. But, what will “back to school” look like this fall? CTCL schools, like all colleges and universities that traditionally teach in person and on campus, want to welcome students back to campus. The faculty and staff miss students, the community, and the hustle and bustle of an active campus life.

But, we must all be realistic: COVID-19 numbers are rising in areas across the country, especially in areas where the local and state governments have opened up the community. There is a still a need to be safe and physically distanced whenever possible.

One of the top concerns of students right now is college admission testing, but let’s keep a few things in mind if you are and your child are scrambling to find a test site – even considering the possibility of taking a trip to access a test site. Hundreds of colleges and universities have gone test-optional in the past few months. Thirty-six of our 44 member schools are test-optional as of this week, and there could be more next week. Do you NEED to take the risks possibly involved with taking a test? Be honest. Do you? If one test has been taken already, why take the chance? If no tests have been taken, have you looked at the 1250+ schools that are test-optional to see if you even need a test score for admission? (Check out for the most up-to-date list.)

If you’re an athlete hoping to play NCAA DI or DII sports, you may need to take a test. If this is the situation you are in, please be cautious. Don’t take your life, your family’s life, your coach’s life, your teachers’ lives for granted. Wear a mask. Be careful.

I am not naïve. I know many students are hoping to receive merit-based financial aid, and sometimes test scores are part of that evaluation. Sometimes, but not always. Again, if you must test, please also be cautious. Do not take your life, your family’s life, your coach’s life, your teachers’ lives for granted. Wear a mask. Be careful.

We are fortunate to have so many great schools that are test-optional. Take a look at the many wonderful test-optional schools out there. They see students as more than a series of numbers. They want to know your high school story, your personal story, your whole story. Apply and show them just how wonderful you are. Give colleges a chance to make a thoughtful decision. I know you’ll have so many wonderful options.

Tests may be optional. Your health and safety are not. Be safe. Wash your hands. Wear a mask.