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Test-Optional College Admission: What It Means for ApplicantsGuest Contributor
Imagine that your high school student is a talented and hard-working artist. She’s won several awards and wants to pursue a degree in graphic design after she graduates from high school.
But there’s a catch: Her standardized test score in math indicates that she is not “college ready,” and the colleges she’s applying to require math remediation based on that score. Your student is devastated by this news. She’s afraid her math score will keep her from realizing her dream of college and a career.
It’s easy to be discouraged when your student struggles with a part of the college admissions process. It’s especially concerning when, despite good grades in high school, an ACT or SAT score indicates your student is “deficient” in a subject that they will need in college.
I am both an educator who works primarily with students who need remediation and the parent of a student who’s struggled with college entrance tests. As a parent, I know how frustrating it can be when you know that your student is capable of handling college even though a test score may say otherwise. But as an educator, I know something else — there are promising options if you find yourself staring at an entrance exam score that places your student into remediation.
First, let me share some facts about remediation in college. Many bright, capable students are required to take some sort of college-readiness or remedial class (usually in math) when they enter a university. Remedial classes — which are sometimes labeled “developmental,” “foundational” or “transitional” — are designed to help bridge an academic gap. Both of these facts should make you feel better about the situation should you find your student needs to take remediation.
Before you become too worried about your student’s academic readiness as indicated by a standardized test score, let me assure you that all first-year college students are not quite ready for college in some area of their lives. For example, some students don’t possess the organizational and time management skills they need to stay on task while others aren’t prepared for the pace of learning. A student who needs remediation — just like every first-year student — has the potential to succeed if they get the help they need along the way.