YCBK 117: Test-optional Does Not Mean Test Blind

In this week’s episode you will hear

In the News (11:29) : In this week’s news segment, an article from Applerouth.com, “Test-optional Does Not Mean Test Blind”, by Jed Applerouth. This article explains that admissions tests continue to play a key role at many colleges and universities, and families should know that a variety of factors are at play when a school chooses to go test-optional. Mark and Dave discuss why student should not misinterpret what test-optional really means (Length 32:07).


Chapter 117 of 171 Answers (43:36) : Answers and Mark explains a few of the ways a family can increase their chances of getting need-based aid.

171 Answers to the Most-Asked College Admission Questions
As usual, Anika asks great questions. (Length 19:26)

This week’s question (1:03:02) This week’s question is from Kim in NYC and she wants to know how to look at a college’s endowment to better understand their financial health.

Mark also shares a great resource besides endowment to assess the financial health of private colleges. As we promised in this week’s episode, here is a link to the financial health grades for 933 private schools https://www.forbes.com/sites/schifrin/2019/11/27/dawn-of-the-dead-for-hundreds-of-the-nations-private-colleges-its-merge-or-perish/#d21a799770d7 (Length 18:17)

This week’s interview (1:21:19) Mark kicks off his interview with Vincent Garcia, TITLE: Understanding the 23 Colleges in the California State University System.

Vincent Garcia
(Length 19:27)

Mark’s recommended resource of the week (1:31:03) Mark’s recommended resource of the week is: NACAC’s College Admission Status Update is a central resource of information about changes in college admission as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Here is the link: https://www.nacacnet.org/news–publications/newsroom/college-admission-status-coronavirus/

College Spotlight (1:40:46): Chapman University (https://www.chapman.edu/) (Length 20 minutes)

Don’t forget to send your questions related to any and every facet of the college process to: questions@yourcollegeboundkid.com

If you enjoy our podcast, would you please do us a favor and share our podcast both verbally and on social media? We would be most grateful!

Anika and I are excited to give our listeners a chance to play a role in shaping what topics we discuss, and what guests we have on our podcast. You can let your voice be heard by completing this survey. Just put the following link in your browser and give us your honest feedback. Anika and I would like to thank you in advance.


Every episode of Your College-Bound Kid will align with a chapter from the book 171 Answers to the Most-Asked College Admission Questions. To get a copy visit 171answers.com and if you want to see what future episodes will cover just click the red button “See exactly what 171 Answers covers”.

  • Mark & Dave, I think you are thinking short-term with regards to gap years for COVID-19. What happens to the admissions process for current juniors as well as current seniors who decide (poor decision) to hold off applying for a year, when Dave’s daughter takes a gap year and incoming freshmen take a gap year? It will be hard enough for them with greatly inflated ACT and SAT scores due to a perfect storm: (1) when kids are stuck at home for months they will finally find time to study for these tests, (2) ACT is now super-scoring, which will lead to additional testing and studying per student, (3) the increased number of higher testers due to those gap year students, (4) the increased number of high testers to unemployed people taking the tests to hide from the economy or to use such time to invest in personal human capital, and (5) lower scoring students may self-select to not report scores or take the tests by applying to the increasing number of schools not requiring either test for those incoming 2021 freshmen. All of this is from the point of view of current juniors. You are also not considering the effect on all of these schools from forcing students into gap year options.