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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Submitting test scores might be the right (or wrong) option for you

Penelope Roewe
While some highly selective universities are moving back to test required this year, many remain test optional.

The dreaded part of Junior year: the SATs. 

The dreaded part of Senior year: deciding what to do with your scores. 

Now you may be wondering, how is a single number supposed to define my intelligence and where I go to college? The short answer is that it doesn’t have to. 

While test scores can be a sort of aptitude test for colleges to base their decisions on, it doesn’t accurately give the scope of the student as a whole. Standardized tests like the ACT and the SAT are just a three-hour-long snapshot of a student’s intelligence. The test can say a lot about your ability to solve problems in a time environment but not exactly who you are as a student overall. Other important factors to a student are GPA, class enrollment, extracurricular participation, and leadership.

“There are a lot of schools that are looking for that holistic application,” College and Career counselor Allegra Giulietti-Schmitt said. “There’s a lot of emphasis and placement on really getting to know the student and understanding what the student is all about. And so that can be reflected in not only the activities list, but also in the recommendation letters, certainly the the essays both the personal statement and then the supplemental essays.”

There’s a lot of emphasis and placement on really getting to know the student and understanding what the student is all about.

— Allegra Giulietti-Schmitt, college and career counselor

It’s not even necessary to submit a test score if you’re unhappy with yours. Ever since the pandemic, many schools switched to test-optional to accommodate. This year highly selective schools went back to test required, however, plenty of schools remain test-optional. And even a school with a 7 percent acceptance rate like Northwestern University remains test-optional for 2024-25 applications.

Another factor to consider while applying to schools is the other students you are applying with. If the school you are applying to has a higher SAT range, and your scores are lower than average, you probably wouldn’t want to submit your scores. You may also consider sending in test scores if your GPA is lower than the school average. 

Giulietti-Schmitt recommends that you also take a look at how your test scores compare with other students at Niles North in the past on MaiaLearning or on the new college prep program, SchooLinks. This gives a more precise view of how your scores compare to other applicants from Niles North. 

“[It’s] more reflective of the classes that we offer, the classes you’ve taken,” Giulietti-Schmitt said. “The preparation that we’ve offered in the preparation that you most likely have experienced yourself. So it’s a little bit more accurate when you look at it that way.”

If you still don’t know the right move for your application, Niles North’s College and Career Center is here to help you make those decisions. 

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About the Contributor
Penelope Roewe
Penelope Roewe, Managing Editor & Opinion Editor
Penelope is a junior and this is her third year on NSN, serving as Managing Editor and the Opinions and Photos editor. She loves to express her opinions through writing. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, watching Gilmore Girls, and reading books.

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