HomeArticlesThe Not So Common “Common Application”

Dear Estelle. I am applying to six schools using the common application. Most of these require the submission of my test scores but one of these schools is “test optional.” If I list my SAT and ACT scores on the common application, how do I make sure my scores aren’t submitted to the test optional school?  JVS, Senior, Cherry Creek High School

According to the common application folks, they have a system that filters the answers that schools do not require. Only the information that the schools require will be collected and the rest of the answers will be filtered.  The Common Application won’t send information to schools that have requested “not to receive score information for ANY student” — in other words, they’re not test “optional” but rather “no tests considered for anyone”(Sarah Lawrence, for example).

But, for the true “test optional” schools, the ones that leave it up to
the applicant to decide if they want their scores used, the CA still sends the scores  (obviously, if the student has left the section blank, nothing will be sent).  However, most of the schools that I’ve seen do ask the question in their CA supplement, so students can rest assured that those schools will know that they don’t want their scores considered.

And, yes, the Common App could do a better job of explaining all of this.  The difficulty with the common app is that one size rarely fits all.  It does simplify the process somewhat but since each school, especially the very selective ones, require additional information, the whole process is not so simple.

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