Info for Parents Counselors

It’s Your Choice!

Standardized test scores can be a great measure of ability for some students. Other students however may not do as well on standardized tests but have the academic preparation and commitment to excel in college. As a result, we are offering students the opportunity to choose to respond to two short essay questions in lieu of submitting standardized test scores.

The choice of which to submit is yours. Our goal is to provide you with options to put your best foot forward in your application. Feel like your scores are an accurate representation of your ability? Submit them! If you would rather tell us about yourself in the essays, great! Either is cool with us and you will not be penalized in the application review process for the option you choose.

Important facts about Puget Sound’s test optional policy:

  • Standardized test scores (ACT and SAT) are optional for most applicants. Standardized tests are required for students who have been home-schooled and for those who attend secondary schools that do not assign grades. Students choosing not to submit test scores as part of their application will be required to answer two short-answer (100 words or less) essay questions as a supplement to their application.
  • International citizens are required to demonstrate English Proficiency if the primary language of instruction in high school was not English. Applicants can fulfill this requirement by submitting scores from the SAT, ACT, TOEFL or IELTS. International students at high schools where English is the primary language of instruction are eligible to apply to Puget Sound test-optional.
  • Candidates interested in applying to the Lillis Foundation Scholarship or Matelich Foundation Scholarship are required to submit standardized test scores for the purposes of scholarship selection. However, eligible applicants can still choose to be reviewed for admission under our test-optional policy. Please be assured that for Test-Optional candidates applying for scholarship consideration, test scores sent to Puget Sound will not be factored in the general review of the admission application.

Test-Optional Application Questions

We designed the questions to help us find students who will thrive inside and outside the classroom, who are smart in ways that aren’t necessarily quantifiable. These essays, along with the Common Application and essay, teacher and counselor evaluations, and high school transcripts, will allow us to fully evaluate the potential of a student at Puget Sound.

If you’ve started your application to Puget Sound, you may have already seen the two questions. If you haven’t started your application yet (why haven’t you?!), here they are: 


Describe a goal. Any goal. But it has to be your goal, and you have to have set it for yourself. Provide an example that demonstrates your work ethic to achieve this goal, how long you have been working towards this goal, and whether your efforts thus far have been successful. (100 words)


Describe a community with which you identify. How long have you been a part of this group, and how have you contributed? How has it helped shape who you are today? How has it helped prepare you to be a successful member of the Puget Sound community? (100 words)

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