Test-Optional Policy FAQ

What is the difference between test optional, test free and test flexible?  

A: Test optional means that applicants have the option of submitting standardized test scores for consideration with their application for admission. This is the approach Dickinson takes. Test free means that scores will not be reviewed for any candidate for admission. Test flexible refers to adjustments where testing would otherwise be required, particularly in locations where testing opportunities are limited. 

If a student doesn't submit test scores, what are you looking at in terms of admission?  

A: We became test optional in 1994 after extensive research into our students’ standardized test scores and performance both in high school and at Dickinson. Our research pointed overwhelmingly to the work that our students did in high school as predictive of their performance at Dickinson, and that standardized test scores were far less predictive. Annual research from the College Board indicates the same: high-school performance is the single greatest indicator of a student’s performance in college. So if applicants choose not to submit test scores, we focus our holistic review on their high school record (the strength of curriculum and performance), the recommendations of their school counselors and teacher and on the materials that students prepare (application and essay). And we invite students to connect with us—whether through virtual meetings or interviews—so that we have a full and complete sense of their talents, achievements, goals and aspirations. 

Do I need to submit something in addition to my application if I choose not to submit my test scores? 

A: Nothing additional is required in place of standardized-test scores to complete your application to Dickinson. Your regional counselor will be your advocate in the admissions process so, while not required, connecting for a meeting or interview can be a great way to supplement the materials submitted as part of your application.  

Will I need to submit test scores for scholarship consideration? 

A: No. Scores will not be reviewed for either admission or scholarship consideration. 

What about my AP or IB test scores? 

A: While we will not be reviewing AP or IB scores in the admissions process, we will still award credit and placement based on scores following our current AP and IB credit policies.  

Do homeschoolers need to submit standardized test scores? 

A: Homeschoolers, like all applicants, will not need to submit standardized test scores. 

Does this apply to international students? 

A: International students, like all applicants, need not submit a SAT or ACT score. We do ask, however, that those who are not studying in an English-language based school submit English-language proficiency test scores. 

Are test scores required for athletics? 

A: Test scores are not required of athletes.