The university said the scholarships, which are for students applying for the 2021 fall term, are aimed at helping those who do not have access to SAT or ACT test centers, or are struggling financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These test-optional policies vary, with some schools continuing to encourage testing and even moving application deadlines to accommodate changing test schedules. Even Oklahoma State still offers scholarships based on standardized test scores for those able to take the exams.
So should students scramble to take the tests given the thousands of scholarship dollars at stake? Or should they lean into the new test optional model schools are adopting because of the pandemic.
Some financial aid experts say if students are able to take the standardized tests, they should because it provides additional data for admissions officers to look at.
“So, if you have the opportunity to take a test, it is worthwhile to do so if you can take the test safely,” said Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher and vice president of research at SavingforCollege.com, a leading authority on 529 college savings plans.
To understand testing policies, start at the school’s website or contact the admissions office.
Among the questions to ask: How are you going to make admissions decisions? Are standardized tests optional? What about the specific academic program I’m interested in? How late will you accept test scores? What will be considered as a replacement for a test score? What about the impact of qualitative factors, such as essays, recommendations, interviews, and extracurricular activities?