Is Test-Optional Right for Me?

gray and white click pen on white printer paper

Two of every three colleges in the United States are test-optional. This number skyrocketed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but many colleges have determined that test optional admission is here to stay (including Cairn!).

Nearly half of U.S. states require the SAT or ACT for high school graduation. You should consult with your high school guidance counselor to confirm that you do not need to take a standardized test to graduate. 

But if a test score is not required for high school, you have to make a choice: Do you take the SAT or not? 

The correct answer to this question is different for every student. There are many factors to consider, which can make the decision overwhelming. The good news is that we’re here to help! We have listed below some primary considerations for Cairn University applicants.

Reasons to Go Test-Optional: 

  • If you don’t feel comfortable: We get it. You may have been in a virtual classroom for two years and had a difficult time keeping up with or retaining information from your math and writing courses. Don’t sweat it. 
  • If you want to save your time: Preparing for any standardized test involves hours of extra studying. Between school, work, sports, and/or other activities, your schedule is already pretty full. If you don’t have to take the test and it’s not something you want to invest in, you can skip it.  
  • If you have a well-rounded application otherwise: If you have a solid GPA, are involved in extracurriculars, and—most importantly—have a strong relationship with Jesus Christ and desire to serve him in your life and career, you are still a strong applicant at Cairn University. 

Reasons to Submit Your Scores:

  • If you’re a good test taker: Cairn University accepts SAT, ACT and Classic Learning Test (CLT) test scores. If you are a high-performing student who does well on exams, taking the test will only be a benefit to you. 
  • If you want to be eligible for the Honors Program or other scholarships: Our Honors Program still requires an SAT, ACT, or CLT test score in order for a student to be considered. Participation in the Honors Program also comes with a $2,000 annual scholarship. Many outside scholarships also still require test scores as part of the application process. 
  • If you want to study in the School of Education: Cairn University’s School of Education still requires an SAT score as part of the admissions process so that you can meet educational standards for teaching certification after graduation.

Still have questions? Contact your admissions counselor to discuss your application options or any other questions you may have about studying at Cairn University. 


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