young woman studying for testNavigating the college admissions landscape is a thrilling, albeit challenging, journey. This process involves the exciting anticipation of what lies ahead, the apprehension of the unknown, the dream of achieving academic excellence and securing admission to your dream college. These feelings define the high school experience for many students. There are also dryer, more tedious parts of this journey.

One of those milestones is standardized tests. As students stand at the threshold of their futures, the enormity of the ACT and SAT ahead can be overwhelming. For many students and their families, the process can seem like a dizzying array of hoops to jump through and deadlines to meet, with the critical ACT exam often becoming a focal point of that anxiety.

Our next series of blog posts will explore the ACT. We’ll discuss several facets of this exam. First, however, we’ll delve into the test-optional phenomenon. This sweeping change, announced in response to the challenges posed by the global pandemic, has turned conventional wisdom on its head. But, as with every narrative, there’s a deeper story beneath the surface; in that depth, students can gain insight.

Is Test Optional Really Test Optional?

what is itWhile we’ve written on this before,[1][2][3] many students ask me if ACT scores still matter. Every college overnight during and after the pandemic adopted test-optional admissions policies. Many families wonder if preparing for the ACT was worth the time, energy, and effort. It’s an honest concern and one we’ll address. In an upcoming post, we’ll unravel this paradox and address the million-dollar question and more:

  • Does the ACT still matter?
  • Why do schools still allow test score submissions if ACT scores no longer matter?
  • Does this mean these test scores hold weight in the admissions process?

We’ll sift through the rhetoric, demystify the connotations of test-optional policies, and delve into the intricacies of college admissions criteria. With this in-depth analysis, we’ll explore the implications of submitting your ACT score, helping you make a well-informed decision. Essentially, you’ll learn whether you should submit your ACT scores.

Should You Hire an ACT Tutor or Study Alone?

studying with tutorPreparing for the ACT is a key hurdle for most students. The study materials are vast and varied, the subjects are diverse, and time is always running out. So, many families wonder if they should enlist the guidance of an ACT tutor near them. However, due to the cost of expensive tutoring programs, many students try their luck with studying alone.

“Can’t my student just study ACT materials by themselves?”

I get asked this a lot. And the answer to this question is complicated. In another post, we’ll dissect the pros and cons of each approach, demystifying the process of ACT preparation. We’ll take a deep dive into self-study strategies, evaluate the role and benefits of a tutor, and discuss how to find a balance between the two. By the end of this discussion, we aim to equip you with the knowledge to best suit your individual learning objectives.

The college admissions process is not a single-step event but a culmination of years of hard work, perseverance, and strategic planning. Each decision, and each step taken, significantly impacts the outcome. Understanding the process, its requirements, and its implications is crucial for every aspiring college student. Ultimately, this blog series aims to demystify the complexities of the college admissions process. The goal is to help you understand what to do and why you’re doing it.


The upcoming posts will delve into the nuanced maze of ACT prep. We hope to provide you with what we always do: practical tips, expert advice, and insider knowledge to equip you to make informed decisions as students prepare for college. I look forward to sharing these posts with you, shedding light on these critical issues, and offering strategies that empower students to navigate their path toward college confidently.


[1] Gray, Marcus, Odyssey College Prep – accessed at What Test-Optional Colleges Aren’t Telling You on 2 June 2023.

[2] Gray, Marcus, Odyssey College Prep, accessed at 3 Reasons Why Test Optional is a Scam on 2 June 2023.

[3] Gray, Marcus, Odyssey College Prep – accessed at What are Test-Blind Colleges? on 2 June 2023.


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