Does “test optional” REALLY mean optional? This is a question I’ve gotten many times throughout my travels this year. Tulane is now in our second year of Test Optional admission, and yes, we really do mean they are optional! While a good score will never hurt your application, applying as a Test Optional applicant will not hinder your application. For the Class of 2025, 46% of our class applied Test Optional, and Test Optional students were still awarded merit scholarships, were offered spots in the Honors Program, and even received our full tuition scholarships.
Now, the question is- what score should I send? For that, I will turn it over to today’s guest blogger, none other than our VP of Enrollment and Dean of Admission, Satya Dattagupta. Take it away, boss!
By they way, you can meet Satya and get any other questions answered at our final Ask the Dean event on October 21st.
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Will I truly still be considered for admission at Tulane if I don’t submit my test scores?
Yes, you will. At Tulane, we are 100% committed to give students an opportunity to be considered for the Class of 2026 regardless of their test submission status.
I’m relying on a merit scholarship and don’t have scores. Can I still apply for the Deans’ Honor Scholarship or Paul Tulane Award? Will kids with no scores still get those awards?
All students will be considered for merit-based aid. Our merit award criteria is being adjusted to accommodate test optional students. I am not going to lie- the DHS and PTA are highly selective awards. The process involves thorough and multiple layers of review. In addition to the strength of the essay/project, we emphasize the academic achievements of a student. In this test optional world, we will consider students for this award whether they have submitted their scores or not.
I have decent scores, but I am really struggling to decide if I should submit them. Is there a general range you’d recommend we submit?
A good score will never hurt you. Our middle 50 % of ACT is a 31-34 (SAT is 1410-1510). We admit students above and below those ranges. I share this number with you to give you a sense of the middle ranges. This does not mean that you should not submit a score below that range. It is just a guideline. No Dean can ever tell you that a minimum score is required to get accepted because of the holistic nature of the process.
Tulane has an admit rate of 10%. Do you think that means 10% of students who submit scores will be admitted and 10% of those without scores will be admitted? Or is it not that simple?
It is not quite that simple. The process is layered and holistic. My advice is to not worry too much all these permutations. It all depends on the strength of the applicant pool. It is too early to tell.
I am a junior right now. Do you think this policy will still be around next year or is it too soon to tell?
We will make a decision on next year in early spring.
Any advice for how to not overthink this?
Don’t listen to too many people. Pick a few informed people (hint: your school or CBO counselor) and seek their advice. Submit an honest application that is a true reflection of yourself.
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This is all great advice straight from the Dean. I’ll answer the last question too- If you think your scores make your application stronger, send them. If you don’t, or didn’t take the test, don’t send them. Then, most importantly, trust us. Trust us at Tulane to give you a full and holistic review, regardless on if you have scores or not. Test optional means test optional. Also remember Tulane is totally-self reported for testing. You can wait till you have your scores and then make the decision to submit them yourself, for free. Submit your application (with or without scores) and then trust the process and know that you’ll land exactly where you were supposed to. Good luck y’all!