Benefits of a Test Optional College

Colleges that are test optional do not require applicants to submit a test score for admission. Some colleges extend that policy to merit awards, being willing to offer merit scholarships based on a student’s GPA rather than a test score. During COVID many colleges became test optional simply because students did not have a way to take the ACT or the SAT. After testing possibilities returned, many colleges discontinued being test optional. Before Covid, Bryan College required both test scores and high school GPAs for merit scholarships. During COVID Bryan became test optional, using either a test score or a high school GPA alone for merit scholarships. This year Bryan College announced that they are now using either a test score or a dual enrollment GPA (minimum 9 credits earned) for merit scholarships. This is great news for students who have high dual enrollment GPAs, but who test poorly. A few years ago my three youngest children were students at Bryan College. As dual enrolled students they made great grades (4.0). However, they were not good test takers so they did not earn the highest merit scholarships. Had we had this policy back then, all three would have earned the highest merit scholarship (based on a DE GPA of 3.75 or higher).

In order to take advantage of this policy, students need to plan far enough ahead so that they can earn at least nine hours of dual enrollment credit while in high school. The higher the GPA, the better. Bryan College also hosts a scholarship event each semester for qualifying seniors who have been accepted to Bryan College. In order to attend the event held in November a senior will have to have a certain test score (ACT 21, SAT 1060 or CLT 68 was the 2022/2023 requirement) or have earned at least nine credits in dual enrollment with a 3.0 or higher GPA. For seniors who have not obtained either the test score or the completion of nine dual enrollment credits, they can make plans to meet requirements during the fall semester and attend the second scholarship event offered at Bryan in February of the spring semester.

Personally, I am not aware of any other colleges offering merit scholarships based on dual enrollment GPAs. I love that Bryan College has embraced this policy.

Homeschoolers can benefit from a college that is test-optional and uses GPA for enrollment in several ways:

  1. It reduces the pressure on standardized testing: Homeschoolers may not have access to traditional testing opportunities such as the SAT or ACT. Even if they do, they may not perform as well on these tests compared to their counterparts who attended traditional schools. A test-optional policy reduces the importance of these tests and allows homeschoolers to be evaluated on their GPA.
  2. It highlights their academic achievements: Since homeschoolers do not have a traditional transcript, their dual enrollment GPA can showcase their academic achievements. If their GPA is strong, it can be an indicator of their ability to handle college-level coursework.
  3. It may level the playing field: Homeschoolers may face bias and misconceptions about their education. A test-optional policy can help reduce these biases and provide a more equitable evaluation process.

Overall, a test-optional policy that considers dual enrollment GPA for enrollment can be beneficial for homeschoolers and provide them with a fair opportunity to not only gain admission to college, but to earn merit scholarships and, at Bryan College, to qualify for an additional scholarship event.

Tennessee students can take 30 hours of dual enrollment classes at Bryan College for less than $200 tuition (total), plus books and fees, and out-of-state students are offered a $200 scholarship per class. For more information send an email to

If you have students who have completed their junior year who are interested in attending Bryan College, the sooner they apply the better. There is no application fee. Planning ahead not only saves a student a lot of money (via dual enrollment), but it can also earn the student additional scholarship funds, reducing the overall price of college considerably. I am the homeschool admissions counselor at Bryan College. If you would like to be on my email list, receiving updates and announcements, send me an email:

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