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  • Writer's pictureGuideMe Career Coach

Why is an SAT or GMAT waiver not necessarily a good thing for you?

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

With the current COVID-19 situation, many universities have waived off the standardized testing requirements such as the GMAT, GRE, and SAT. In fact, an SAT/GMAT waiver allows a College/MBA program applicant to exempt a test score submission, especially when he or she has met certain criteria in terms of quality and quantity of work experience (for business school Applicants), educational qualifications, GPAs, etc. But it's definitely worth considering whether GMAT/SAT waiver really good for your application?

In fact, one of the most common misconceptions amongst many students is that the GMAT/SAT score is everything. Test scores are only a part of the story when it comes to MBA/College admissions. Many aspirants fall into the trap of believing that a stellar score would all but guarantee them admission. This is a myth. The process of selecting the participants for a particular program involves much more than just comparing the test scores. That is why It is not uncommon for applicants with high GMAT/SAT scores to get rejected or, conversely, students with lower scores to get admitted.

Bottom line: an application needs to ensure that his/her application package presents the best (yet authentic) version of themselves, the one that the admissions committee will deem worthy of their program.

To know more about the Application Requirements, read our in-depth articles on MBA Admissions and College Application.

The U.S. News and World Report explains that about 45 percent of MBA programs reported requiring neither the GMAT nor the GRE. Some went further than that, with leaders of the University of California system voting to phase out the SAT and ACT as an admissions requirement over the next four years.

While some may think a waiver will make things easier for them, GuideMe’s Admissions team & varied Admissions Consultants worldwide feel that without a test score, the decision of the application would solely depend on the profile of the students.

For a Business School application, without a standardized test score such as GMAT, universities would like to know about an applicant's academic capability and hence more focus could possibly be put on GPAs and school grades, even if they’ve had 7+ years of experience & looking at 10-year old GPA scores would not be a good reflection of an applicant’s current aptitude skills.

Some schools are saying, ‘If we can get interesting candidates we don’t need to make them take the GMAT.' Sridhar Balasubramaniansenior, Associate Dean for MBA programs at the University of North Carolina, wrote a letter to students and alumni explaining that “the GMAT score is an inferior way of measuring student quality for the experienced student,” according to the school’s analysis. “We found that the need to take the GMAT was holding back many of our highest-potential applicants with many years of work experience from even applying to the MBA@UNC program.”

For Undergrad university applications, high school students need to be aware that Schools have certain criteria in selecting their incoming intake.

Logically, if one criterion is waived-off, then others would become even more important.

In April, Cornell University suspended its testing requirements, saying in a statement that “due to this extraordinary circumstance,” students could submit applications without ACT or SAT exam results starting in August 2021.

Princeton’s dean of admission, Karen Richardson said, “while our policy has long been that SAT subject tests are recommended but not required, now seems the appropriate time to reiterate that applicants who do not submit subject tests will not be disadvantaged in our process.” She added, “SAT or ACT test scores are only one part of our holistic review.”

So, if SAT/GMAT scores are waived off, then extracurricular, essays, academic scores would further rise in stature. We feel it’s a big disadvantage for every student who hasn’t had excellent academic scores, & the SAT exam was a way of making that up in front of these esteemed universities.

Because of these uncertainties & test-scores possibly getting waived-off, the Admissions Consultants at GuideMe are working closely with prospective undergrad and B-School applicants to highlight the ‘other’ aspects of their profile in order to make their applications truly stand out.

If you are a high school student or an MBA applicant & looking for some college/university advice, contact the best Admissions team in the UAE.

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