Rhodes’ admission process is test-optional for classes entering Fall 2021, Fall 2022, and Fall 2023. If you do not know what “test-optional” means or feel confused about how this decision may apply to you, we encourage you to read the following FAQs. If you still have questions by the end, feel free to reach out to an admission counselor.
What does “Test Optional” mean?
“Test Optional” means that a student may choose to submit the ACT or the SAT as part of the application for admission. However, a standardized test score is not required to be considered for admission. While there is a lot of doubt about how “optional” the test truly is, Rhodes is committed to thoroughly reviewing all parts of the application to understand a student’s full story. To eliminate any possible bias about why a score might not be included in that story, all applications will be initially reviewed as “test blind,” meaning that the admission counselors won’t know whether a score has even been submitted. Students should feel very secure in knowing that the test score only plays a role in the admission decision if the student chooses that path.
Which tests are being referenced by “Test Optional?”
“Test Optional” generally only refers to standardized entrance exams, including the ACT and the SAT. At Rhodes, we still require English equivalency exams (i.e. IELTS) or proficiency exams following a course (i.e. AP).
Should I submit a standardized test score?
Rhodes will accept either the SAT or ACT if a student chooses to submit (note: if you’ve taken multiple versions of one test, we will consider only your superscore--which uses the average of your best subscores). Ultimately, this is something you will have to decide for yourself. If you believe that your score (should you have one) will strengthen your application, then that’s probably a good sign that you should submit it. We do not recommend retesting to raise your score. We also don’t recommend trying to take a test for the first time in your senior year. Instead, focus on ensuring that other areas of your application are truly representative of your story.
What happens if I have a test score but don’t submit it?
Rhodes has always used a holistic approach to reading applications. Your test score was only a part of the story told by your application. Without a test score, we will continue to examine your high school transcript, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and your personal statement. Greater weight will be placed on each of these areas in the absence of a test score.
To be clear, will there be a penalty for not submitting a test?
Emphatically, no. Test optional means test optional. We understand the hesitancy and doubt that you might experience upon hearing so many different versions of this answer. Many colleges and universities chose a test optional path in an effort to lessen anxiety while increasing access in college admission. There have certainly been unintended consequences to this decision. At Rhodes, your test score is absolutely unnecessary to be admitted and to receive even our highest scholarship. We are committed to honoring the student’s choice about whether the test score will be considered. One might think of a test score this year in the way that resumes are typically reviewed with the application. If a student submits a resume, the admission team reads it and notes what has been learned. If a student doesn’t submit a resume (the majority), the admission team doesn’t even note its absence and instead learns about the student from other areas of the application.
Will I be considered for merit scholarships if I don't have a test score?
Yes. We do not require a test score for admission or for any of our scholarships. None of our scholarships have a test score requirement or even recommendation.
Do I need a test score if I plan to participate in Division III sports?
No. To participate in athletics at Rhodes, you need only to be enrolled as a full-time student.
If I’m an International student, do I still need to take the TOEFL?
Yes. The SAT and ACT aren’t required for international students, but we still need an English-equivalency exam. We accept the TOEFL, IELTS, and the Duolingo English exam, and these test scores will be required if English is not your native language.
This requirement may be waived for those students whose academic instruction in secondary school is in English. Applicants most competitive for admission score at least a 95 on the TOEFL, a 7.0 on the IELTS, or 120 on the Duolingo English Test.
Are standardized tests required for home-schooled students or students from other non-traditional high schools?
No, but tests are recommended depending on the student’s coursework, especially if a student hasn’t taken classes that provide a broader academic context (e.g. college classes). Test scores can help provide that missing context. Additionally, after a review of a home-schooled student’s application, an interview with an admission counselor could be requested. Here is a helpful checklist of things a home-schooled student will need for their application should that be helpful.
Do you need AP, IB, and other placement exam scores?
No. These scores aren’t necessary for admission, though should a student be admitted and choose Rhodes, those scores may count towards college credit. A student may self-report these scores on their Common Application if the student feels they could strengthen their application for admission by doing so.
Students receiving their education from a non-traditional high school (such as home schools and online high schools) are recommended to self-report placement exam scores to provide additional context to their academic profile.
Can I change my decision about submitting/not submitting a test score?
The answer depends on your initial choice. You will designate whether or not you want a test score included in your admission review at the time that you submit your Common Application. If you choose not to include test data in your application, you can change this decision by letting your counselor know, and then providing either an official or self-reported SAT or ACT score. However, once you have chosen to include test data in your application, you won’t be able to reverse that decision. Scores can’t be deleted once an initial application review has taken place.