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The status of “test-optional” in the US & more: first ever Larry Cheung newsletter takeover
Written by Jack Delehey on December 14th 2021
Today, we’re doing something a little different. I am going to step to the side and let Larry Cheung, Founder of Tigerway Prep take over my newsletter.  
The goal here is to introduce you, my readers, to supplementary insight, beyond my expertise. Test prep is certainly one of those areas. At the end, if you enjoyed this newsletter takeover, shoot me a reply and let me know? Would you like me to do more of these?

I trust Larry & his expertise tremendously. I hope it is beneficial to you.

Happy holidays.

I’m excited to be back to collaborate with Jack this quarter - this time by writing a helpful and thoughtful email post for parents who have teens in High School. Jack’s College Planning Program is excellent, and I hope readers of his email here will find a nice supplement of insights to the usual valuable advice he shares.

I want to share some of the observations and data that I’ve collected over the past year and make a forecast as to how the college admissions process could be evolving in 2022 and beyond.

Based on my conversations with my contacts in Higher Ed, I believe that the test-optional trends are most likely here to stay. That said, here are the nuanced observations that I have collected so far.

For students who wish to study a very popular major (such as STEM or business) at a Top Ranked School (Ranked Top 50), it would be disadvantageous to pursue test-optional as the application strategy. For students who wish to study somewhat less competitive majors at schools ranked outside of Top 50, the strategy of going test-optional is far more feasible.

Standardized testing is a source of contention among many families, but it also represents one of the most objective (and easiest) ways to boost an application by demonstrating stronger Math and English skills.
What I have seen over the past year is a dramatic growing sense of complacency regarding the college admissions process. It seems that teens and parents have accepted (and perhaps embraced) the fact that it may now be more possible to achieve the SAME outcome with an EASIER process.

And while that may be true, I believe that type of short-term thinking will eventually cause issues down the road once students who have softer academic backgrounds have to face the rigors of college. I am receiving many messages from my former students who are about to complete their first semester of college. They routinely tell me that they feel overwhelmed, or that they didn’t expect college to be so challenging. And these are the same students who scored 1400+ on the SAT Exam. I would only imagine that the challenges are felt more intensely for students who got admitted to these schools without a strong academic foundation.

A new year is coming in 2022, and I urge you to resist the temptation to lower your standards just because the process has become simplified. In fact, finding success in admissions to top-ranked schools have never been easier since so many people are opting for short cuts.

Choose to show more data points that display your hard work, your commitment to high standards, and your determination to become the best version of yourself.

You will be paid back multiple times for your efforts. But you have to take that next step and realize your full potential.

I wish you all the best, and a wonderful 2022.

-Larry Cheung
Founder, Tigerway Prep
Jack again. A quick word before I sign off.

Would you like to learn more about Larry & the Tigerway team? You can do so here.

Larry has helped thousands of students across the country find test-prep success, ultimately helping them gain acceptance into their dream school. For this reason, Tigerway is my top recommendation for all paying members of my own program. If you have a high school sophomore or junior, I cannot recommend his services enough.

And lastly, if you want to see Larry and I nerd out on all things college planning and test prep, check out our two virtual interviews together over the last year (#1 here and #2 here).

Happy holidays to all.


Jack Delehey

Jack Delehey (Vanderbilt '14) is a college admissions expert originally from Concord, MA and now resides in Denver, CO.  It is his goal to pass on his college admission knowledge, strategies, and unique perspective to high school students in a young, fun, relatable, older-brother type manner.

The college application process is often confusing and stressful. But it just doesn't have to be that way! If you are interested in gaining clarity, peace of mind, and a detailed step-by-step program to help your child through the college application process, reach out and request a free strategy session today.
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