Fewer than half of the students who applied early to college this fall submitted standardized test scores, according to an analysis by the nonprofit that publishes the Common Application.
The data point could mark a watershed moment in admissions, college advisers say, when a pandemic pause in SAT and ACT testing requirements evolved into something more permanent.
Just three years ago, 78 percent of applicants included test scores in their early Common App submissions, a round of admissions that ends Nov. 1.
The share of applicants reporting SAT or ACT scores plunged in 2020, as COVID-19 shuttered testing sites and drove hundreds of colleges to adopt “test-optional” admissions.
Many observers expected the testing requirement to return as restrictions lifted. It hasn’t.
“We’ve actually seen an increase in the share of colleges on the Common App that don’t require a test score,” said Preston Magouirk, senior manager of research and analytics at Common App.
More than 1,800 colleges are “test-optional” this year, including most elite public and private campuses, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, or FairTest.
Common App data shows that only 4 percent of colleges require test scores for applications this fall, down from 55 percent in pre-pandemic 2019. The group includes a handful of technical universities and Florida’s state university system.
Any number of schools could revert to requiring test scores. But admissions experts don’t believe they will.
“I think it’s harder to go back,” said Jed Applerouth, founder of Applerouth Tutoring Services in Atlanta. “When you go test-optional, you have the freedom to build the class you want to build.”
The test-optional movement began at Bowdoin College in Maine in 1970 and spread through academia, gaining traction in the 2000s amid concerns about equity.
Not until the coronavirus pandemic, though, did a majority of applicants exercise the option to omit test scores from their Common Application requirements.
College admission panels used to count on SAT and ACT scores as a way to compare students across schools. Sorting applicants by GPA or academic rigor can be tricky: An A in honors geometry may not mean the same thing from one school to another.
The test-optional push follows relentless criticism that college-entrance exams favor the affluent, who can afford pricey test-prep classes, effectively paying for a higher score.
A few colleges have rejected standardized tests altogether. California’s public university system, the nation’s largest, no longer accepts them. Elsewhere, most institutions have embraced the test-optional option.
Experts see little downside. By accepting test scores but not requiring them, a selective college often finds that its SAT and ACT averages go up, because students with lower scores don’t submit them.
Admission consultants say test-optional policies free an institution to enroll more economically disadvantaged students, or more affluent “full-pay” students, whose parents cover the full cost of attendance, all without regard to test scores.
“If they want, they can increase diversity,” Applerouth said. “If they want, they can increase full-pay. Why would you give that up?”
The leaders of FairTest and other equity advocates cheer the test-optional trend.
“Any time spent preparing for the SAT or ACT is time spent not studying a novel, time not spent playing the guitar,” said Harry Feder, executive director of FairTest. “I think it’s a waste of kids’ energy and time.”
For applicants, however, the test-optional era brings a host of new complexities.
Applicants now face more decisions on the pros and cons of submitting scores to individual colleges. The choice can trigger a deep dive into a school’s test-score profile, admission statistics and philosophies on testing.
“It’s a combination of multivariable calculus and studying tea leaves,” said Wendie Lubic, a partner in The College Lady, a Washington, D.C., consultancy.
As a general rule, admission consultants encourage applicants to submit scores that fall near the SAT or ACT average for the target school: the higher, the better.
College leaders promise to give every student a fair shake, test scores or no.
“When we say we’re test-optional, we really mean we’re test-optional and don’t think twice when a student doesn’t submit test scores as part of their application,” said Jeff Allen, vice president for admission and financial aid at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Macalester officials decided to go test-optional shortly before the pandemic descended. A slim majority of Macalester applicants did not submit scores last fall, a quotient that suggests they accept the school’s pledge not to penalize the score-less.
Yet, admission statistics suggest some other schools prefer applicants who post scores.
Lubic, the consultant, cites Boston College. The school’s overall admission rate is 17 percent. Boston College is test-optional. Its website promises that students who do not submit scores will “receive full consideration” in admissions. But school policy also notes, somewhat ominously, that those who do not send scores “will have one less credential to be considered by the Admission Committee.”
To Lubic, the numbers speak for themselves. For the current academic year, Boston College admitted 25 percent of applicants with test scores and 10 percent of those without.
The University of Virginia provides another case study. In the last round of admissions, students without test scores made up 42 percent of applicants but only 26 percent of admissions.
“Amherst, Barnard, Boston College, Boston University, you can see that they actively prefer scores,” Lubic said. “They have actually told people what the admit rate is for students who submit scores, and what the admit rate is for students who don’t submit scores.” The second number, she said, is invariably lower.
“Right now, we’re in the middle of a swamp,” she said. “Nothing is confirmed.”
Jessica, a mother in Richmond, Va., helped her daughter through the college admissions process last year. The daughter had a 4.8 weighted GPA and a 1390 SAT score. The family chose to submit scores to some schools but not to others, depending on each institution’s SAT average and apparent preference.
The daughter gained admission to several colleges whose admission committees never saw her scores, including the honors program at the University of South Carolina, where she ultimately enrolled. The University of Virginia did see her scores — and put her on its waitlist.
“That was a shocker,” said Jessica, who withheld her last name to discuss what remains a sensitive syllabu in her family.
During the pandemic, when some students lacked access to testing, hundreds of colleges pledged to treat applicants the same with or without test scores.
“That pledge has now expired,” Applerouth said.
In a post-COVID world, he said, test-optional means a college considers an application complete without test scores. It does not necessarily mean the application is on equal footing with the others.
“Academic rigor is optional,” Applerouth said. “Submitting robust AP scores is optional. Being student body president is optional. But optional does not mean without impact.”
The retreat from required testing, especially in California, has lowered the stakes for students who take the tests. More than 1.7 million high school students in the class of 2022 took the SAT, up from 1.5 million in 2021, but down from 2.2 million in 2020, according to test publisher the College Board.
On the future of standardized testing, “I think California will continue to drive a lot of the discussion,” said Jon Boeckenstedt, vice provost for enrollment management at Oregon State University.
California’s university system dropped standardized tests from admissions in 2021, a dramatic step affecting several of the nation’s most prestigious public campuses.
“I know College Board continues to campaign quietly in the state to get the public universities to reinstate the tests,” Boeckenstedt said. “And if they do, that would be a game changer.”
Every year, I read applications for my department’s Ph.D. program at Brown University. The ones I usually see are from people who might want to work with me either as their primary or additional adviser. studying each application, I always start by asking myself one question: If admitted — given their experience, skills, and interests — what would this student work on? If I can guess at an answer, I ask more questions:
To guide faculty members in answering such questions, graduate programs typically ask applicants to write a statement of purpose (it sometimes goes by other names). It’s not a contract, and most of us will not hold graduate students to what they wrote. In fact, we probably won’t even remember what was in the statement by the time the applicant starts the program. Nevertheless, these statements are valuable in giving a sense of the broad subjects that applicants are interested in and — even more important — how they think about those topics.
Unfortunately, our instructions on what to write in these statements are often so vague (“Tell us about your interests and experience”) that many students are not sure what to include. Most assume they’re being asked for an updated version of their undergraduate-application essay. Thinking they need to convince us of their commitment and aptitude, they tend to write an autobiography. They start with their intellectual origins, sometimes going as far back as childhood, to convince us that their interest is deep and longstanding. Then they list their academic achievements and describe how college contributed to their development — a trajectory they hope to continue in graduate school.
The problem with an autobiographical statement is that it doesn’t leave much space for information about what an applicant is actually interested in working on. This, in turn, makes it hard to answer any downstream questions about how well-prepared the student is to work on that particular topic, or how well the applicant’s interests fit with our institution, program, and faculty.
I tweeted about this issue in October, aiming my advice at prospective graduate students, and generated hundreds of responses from applicants who found it helpful. In what follows, I expand on that Twitter thread and offer suggestions to help not only applicants, but also institutions. Of course, not all faculty members weigh the statement of purpose as much as I do or look for the same things in applicants. But my goal here is to avoid field-specific instructions and to detail ways to make our application instructions more relevant, explicit, and accessible in any field and for all applicants.
Clear instructions are an equity issue. The misalignment between what students write and what many faculty members are looking for fuels the infamous hidden curriculum that keeps some applicants out of graduate school. Students who understand what professors are looking for will tend to write a stronger statement of purpose than those who don’t. As a result, the strongest statements will come not only from students at top institutions and labs, but also from those with the access to ask professors to review their statements, those who use paid consultants, or those who have academic parents.
To find the best students, it is in our interest — as much as in the applicants’ — to make what we are looking for in statements of purpose as clear as possible. While demystifying the statement would help all applicants, it would go an especially long way toward increasing diversity in the academic pipeline. Applicants who may not have gone to a top college or had great research opportunities will usually have less relevant letters of recommendation or experience. Plus, many research opportunities still rely on volunteers, and students who cannot afford to work for free have less access to research experience. For those students, the statement of purpose is a chance to shine, to show a deep and serious interest and intellectual readiness for graduate work.
But this is not only an equity issue. With vague instructions on our websites and applications, we lose one of the main signals we have for finding talent. The interests of professors and applicants are aligned here: To admit the best applicants, we need to be able to identify them; to have the best chance of revealing their strengths, applicants need a clear idea of what we’re looking for.
A simple recipe for producing a great statement of purpose. It isn’t a matter of checking the right boxes or finding the right narrative spin. The ideal outcome of a great statement is not just “getting into a Ph.D. program,” but rather, for students to be admitted into a program where they have a good chance to thrive — to do good work that excites them, with people they gel with personally and intellectually. It helps to keep that goal in mind when writing a statement of purpose. In most fields, doctorates take too long to earn, with too low a financial return on investment, to be worth it otherwise.
So, if not a compelling autobiography, what should your applicants write? I propose we ask them to produce a statement “in three acts,” each of which would convey a key piece of information:
The relative lengths of the acts can vary from student to student and program to program. Acts I and II might each need anywhere from one to three paragraphs, but Act III shouldn’t typically need more than one.
Act I: Research interests. Here applicants should answer questions such as:
This is, by far, the most vital component of the statement of purpose — but not because it defines exactly what a student will work on for the entire doctorate. Research interests can and very likely will change. But this section gives applicants an opportunity to show that they know how to think about research in our area. Our application instructions should lead students away from just naming subfields (e.g. “I’m interested in developmental and cognitive psychology”) or overarching subjects that are too big to study as a whole (e.g. “how children learn language”). It’s OK to start there, but on their own, such broad phrases sound to us like keywords someone could get from browsing a course catalog without actually taking the courses. A statement of purpose that fuzzy would not typically give us enough information to admit the student.
Instead, ask students to articulate open questions they are interested in pursuing within the field (for example, “When children learn two languages at the same time, do they use what they learn about one language to help them learn the other?”). The key is to show, not tell. Anyone can say that they’re interested in a topic, but the strongest applicants show that they can articulate thoughtful questions and that they have an idea of how to answer them.
The most important thing to convey about Act I: Whatever people write here should be the real and actual reason that they are applying to graduate school.
As most of us can recall, it’s not easy to figure out which research questions you find most interesting — it often takes years after your undergraduate degree — but trying to do that is critical to being happy in the doctoral program you end up in. Because the purpose of a Ph.D. is to do something new, what you end up working on is necessarily going to be pretty specialized. Applying without knowing what you’re interested in carries a big risk. You might get accepted into the program and a few years later realize you just don’t care about this little corner of knowledge all that much. At that point, it may or may not be possible to pivot to something totally different. The more you can articulate your core interests before you apply, the better the chances that you won’t face this situation later.
Here, again, the best interests of students and programs align: Everyone wins if applicants think of Act I as a description of the kind of work they are most excited to do. Yes, that may change once a student is in the program. But when an interest is genuine and runs deep, it probably won’t just disappear. Applicants with well thought-out interests usually end up being Ph.D. students with exciting research programs that they can trace back to their intellectual origins through a winding but enriching path.
Act II: Supporting evidence. Ask applicants to describe their experience and background — not as autobiography — but as evidence that they really do have the skills, talent, and perseverance to do the work they’re applying to do. Act II of a strong statement of purpose should answer these questions:
Scholars have many good reasons to become deeply and seriously interested in a research topic, and it is worth encouraging applicants to think through the connections between their past experiences and future goals — and specifically to draw a clear connection between the relevance of their experience to the research interests described in Act I.
One function of Act II is for applicants to demonstrate that they know what they’re getting into. For example, if they are applying to do research with infants, do they understand how frustrating that can be? Are they prepared for their perfectly designed experiment to be foiled by a participant’s socks being more interesting (not to mention tastier) than anything they wanted them to look at or play with? If a student has already worked with infants for a year and is still excited enough to apply to a Ph.D. program to continue doing that, that’s good to know, not just for the faculty member studying the statement of purpose, but for the applicant who wants to reduce the risk of having to do work they don’t actually like.
Act III: Fit. This section of a strong statement of purpose is the one that will change from application to application, because it’s about how well the prospective graduate student fits with the department and its faculty. The key questions that Act III should answer:
If applicants do a great job in Act I, we will usually be able to see how and whether their research interests fit with our own. Act III, done well, can help us see the fit even better, showing us that the applicant knows something about the kind of work that we do.
Over years of studying these statements, faculty members develop clear preferences about what information we would like to see. The vast majority of applicants, however, have never seen a statement of purpose before they write their own, nor have they been taught directly what the genre conventions are. By laying out clear instructions for applicants, we can help rectify inequities in graduate admissions and beyond. Of all the truly challenging access issues in higher education, this one should be an easy fix.
This year saw a number of outstanding books about a host of higher education topics, ranging from policy issues such as college costs and student learning to hot button subjects like academic freedom and online cheating. The list even includes one murder mystery. Here are my selections for the best titles in 2022.
Breaking Ranks: How the Rankings Industry Rules Higher Education and What To Do About It by Colin Diver, former president of Reed College. Diver has written a spirited, often witty critique of the college ranking industry, particularly the well-known “gorilla” of the neighborhood, U.S. News. He does a particularly good job of tracing the development of various ranking systems and exposing their methodological shortcomings along with the pernicious effects they - and their components like graduation rates, social mobility and graduates’ salaries - can have on institutions living “under their ominous, often oppressive, shadow.”
As the college ranking industry has grown, so has one of its spinoffs - critiques of rankings. As these critiques go, Diver’s is one of the best. He does more than carp about rankings. By situating them in the larger context of American higher education, he reveals how important, but insidious, they’ve become.
Who Killed Jane Stanford? by Richard White is part whodunit and part history of the troubled beginnings of Leland Stanford Junior University in Gilded Age California. White, an emeritus professor at Stanford, spins the tangled tale of the murder of Jane Stanford, who, with her husband Leland, dedicated much of their fortune to found Stanford University in memory of their deceased son. Stanford got off to a messy start, in large measure because of the eccentric beliefs and incessant meddling of Jane Stanford as well as the faults and duplicities of its first president, David Starr Jordan. While several suspects had motives to kill Jane, a murder that was hushed up for decades by Stanford officials, White assembles a convincing case fingering the most likely culprit(s).
The Complete Guide To Contract Cheating In Higher Education by Dave Tomar is the definitive book on contract cheating, where college students pay to have others write their assigned essays, papers and capstone projects for them. Tomar, whose public admission a decade ago that he was a well-compensated ghostwriter, earned him both the title of the "Shadow Scholar" and the widespread enmity of college faculty, blows the whistle on the contract cheating industry in this highly engaging, often disturbing, account of online cheating-for-hire.
Part confessional, part expose, this is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn the ins-and-outs of ghostwriting, the reasons why students cheat and how the problem should be understood and addressed. Grounded in a genuine concern about the pressures students face, a frank recognition of higher education's contribution to the problem, and thoughtful perspectives on college teaching, this eye-opener of a book grabs your attention and never lets go.
Leadership Matters: Confronting the Hard Choices Facing Higher Education by two former college presidents - W. Joseph King (Lyon College) and Brian C. Marshall (Bucknell University and Washington and Jefferson College) - discusses how higher education leaders can help institutions adapt to the changing economic, social and political forces that increasingly challenge them.
They describe three presidential types: the presider, the change agent and the strategic visionary and offer wise counsel about the relationships that presidents should have with two other senior campus leaders - the provost and the chair of the board of trustees - as they face “the challenges of the post-pandemic world.” This book offers thoughtful advice for both novice and experienced campus leaders, particularly in the areas of shared governance and constituent relationships.
Phillip B. Levine’s A Problem of Fit: How the Complexity of College Pricing Hurts Students - And Universities examines the confusing issue of college pricing. Levine, the Katharine Coman and A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Economics at Wellesley College, explores how colleges set their prices as well as how financial aid systems contribute to problems of access. Providing detailed economic analysis of the effects of sticker price, tuition discounts, merit and need-based financial aid, and institutional competition, Levine contends that the overall impact from these multiple factors is to limit access to higher education for lower-income students.
He takes specific aim at the problem of opaque financial aid and how it serves to heighten inequities in higher education. And he offers an excellent discussion of the pros and cons of two major policies for improving access to college - the various versions of “free college” and a significant increase (read: doubling) of Pell Grants - before discussing why he prefers the latter.
The Real World of College: What Higher Eduction Is and What It Can Be by Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner. Based on more than 2,000 interviews with students, faculty, staff, parents and other stakeholders at ten institutions ranging from highly selective colleges to less selective universities, the authors explore how colleges achieve (or don’t) what they contend should be higher education’s ultimate goal - the cultivation of Higher Education Capital (HEDCAP) - the “ability to attend, analyze, connect and communicate on issues of importance and interest.”
Students varied considerably in acquiring this higher-order cognitive skillset, with about a quarter showing high levels and about a quarter evidencing low levels. Those with higher HEDCAP tend to approach college with mindsets that emphasize exploration (learning new ideas) or transformation (questioning core beliefs) rather than inertia (an extension of high school) or transaction (obtaining a tangible ROI, such as a good job).
The authors contrast the HEDCAP impact of different colleges and among various groups of students and recommend how colleges can enhance student learning, addressing the two “most surprising” discoveries typifying students at the ten schools - concerns about mental health and feelings of isolation and alienation.
Sandy Baum and Michael McPherson’s Can College Level the Playing Field; Higher Education in an Unequal Society is a sobering analysis of the role higher education plays in correcting and contributing to inequality in our society. The authors argue that when it comes to leveling the playing field higher education has an important role to play, but that role is constrained by other forces that must be addressed - namely, the many inequalities in the pre-college lives of millions of students and the unfair conditions they’ll later face in labor markets, economic policies and social institutions. Dismissive of quick fixes, the authors offer several policies to strengthen higher ed’s contributions to more equitable outcomes.
Will Bunch’s After the Ivory Tower Falls is a thought-provoking portrayal of the role that higher education plays in fueling the nation’s stark political divisions that seem to grow ever-more intense. Bunch, a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, argues that at several key points since World War II, opportunities to firmly establish U.S. higher education as a vehicle for social mobility were missed - largely for political reasons - resulting in it becoming as much a source of social alienation and resentment as of equality and the American Dream.
Written with the verve and historical details one expects from an expert reporter like Bunch, the book offers a well-informed, albeit occasionally hyperbolic, take on the “college problem” and how to fix it.
Another hard-hitting book - Poison Ivy: How Elite Colleges Divide Us by Evan Mandery - provides a scathing indictment of how elite colleges contribute to the nation’s increasing social and economic inequality. Claiming that the “United States maintains an apartheid educational system,” Mandery, a John Jay professor of criminal justice and himself a Harvard College and Harvard Law School graduate, pulls no punches in castigating elite colleges for how they perpetuate a system that favors the wealthy and discriminates against the poor.
Whether it’s through college admissions, intercollegiate athletics, standardized testing, or campus culture, Mandery takes elite colleges to task for how they insure the success of the wealthy, often at the expense of poor people and people of color. He closes with several recommendations for incremental remedies to the inequities that elite colleges continue to indulge.
Michael Berube and Jennifer Ruth’s It’s Not Free Speech: Race, Democracy and the Future of Academic Freedom addresses the question of what academic freedom does and should protect - and what it does not and should not protect. Drawing careful distinctions between free speech and academic freedom, they contend that an “excessively libertarian” understanding of academic freedom, often confused with an absolutist position on free speech, needs to be rethought and replaced with less traditionally liberal policies.
The authors question just how far academic freedom should extend, particularly when it serves to protect racist ideology in academia. An example: “White supremacy is baked into the foundations of some academic fields in this country, and it remains a powerful obstacle to any attempt at honest and free intellectual exchange...”
Having lost faith in the ability of the marketplace of ideas to defeat ridiculous claims, Berube and Ruth call for universities to differentiate between “legitimate ideas and utter bullshit.” A provocative read, with practical suggestions for how to put faculty back in charge of defending academic freedom as well as preventing its abuses.
Becoming Great Universities: Small Steps for Sustained Excellence by Richard J Light and Allison Jegla offers dozens of practical suggestions for low-cost policies and practices that campuses can use to Excellerate student learning and engagement.
The book considers “practical answers to quite predictable questions” and calls for campus cultures that embrace innovation, test new ideas and work toward constant improvement. Included are subjects such as helping students cope with the “hidden curriculum” to encouraging simple experiments with new classroom teaching techniques, facilitating constructive interactions between students from different backgrounds, and designing assessments of student learning that faculty will respect.
My sleeper book of the year is Sam Stern’s Bernard Daly’s Promise: The Enduring Legacy of a Place-Based Scholarship. It’s an inspirational tale about how Bernard Daly, an Irish emigre to the U.S., established a college scholarship for high school students in Lake County, Oregon with a million dollar bequest in 1920. Now - more than 100 years and 2000 recipients later - Stern, the retired dean of Oregon State University’s College of Eduction, shows how one frugal man’s philanthropy changed - and continues to change - the lives of so many individuals. A terrific read, as heartwarming as it is scholarly.
Learning With Others: Collaboration As A Pathway to College Student Success by Clifton Conrad and Todd Lundberg. Based on a study of 12 Minority-Serving Institutions, the authors argue that collaborative learning should be emphasized at the core of undergraduate education.
The Tuskegee Student Uprising: A History by Brian Jones. A history of Black student protest and the Black Power movement as it unfolded at one of America’s most important HBCUs.
The Secret Syllabus: A Guide to the Unwritten Rules of College Success by Jay Phelan and Terry Burnham. Written in a refreshingly conversational style, this book offers students advice for how to understand what many will encounter as an “alien” culture upon entering college and how to navigate the unwritten rules and expectations that are key to college success.
The New College Classroom by Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis. A practical guide to more effective and engaged college teaching, with an emphasis on how to promote active learning among college students.
Who Should Pay, by Natasha Quadlin and Brian Powell, examines the question of who should pay for college and explains how the tide of public opinion about the responsibility of individuals versus government financing of a college education has shifted over the past decade.
— Anubhav Seth
(Studying abroad holds great promise for opportunities, experiences and more. But the process to secure admissions comes with questions. What are the scholarship opportunities for international students? What are colleges looking for? What makes an application stand out? Is going abroad an opportunity for a select few? Every Friday, The Indian Express invites an expert to offer tips, advice and answers to such frequently asked questions in the ‘Study Abroad’ column.)
A common English proficiency test taken around the globe, IELTS is a fundamental requirement for admissions to many institutions worldwide. It is, therefore, imperative that you understand the test and have a reliable strategy that works for you.
The test requires you to have a basic understanding of standard English conventions, common punctuations, diction, and a decent vocabulary. But, without a clear and easy-to-follow strategy, this can take a toll on any test taker.
Here is an eight-step approach to build a solid preparation strategy:
Understand the test
Avoid any surprises on the test day. Go through the IELTS pattern in detail.
Focus on the structure of the test, timing, and question types. Attempting a mock test before
beginning preparation will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Improve your vocabulary
Vocabulary is a critical component of the test. Almost 25 per cent of your total marks, which are in the writing and speaking section, are dependent on your vocabulary.
A daily studying habit is a must in this regard. Identify words that you do not know and create a list of their antonyms and synonyms.
Try making short sentences using those antonyms and synonyms. This will help you understand the contextual usage of each word.
Improving your studying speed will help you identify essential passage parts quickly. It will also enable you to zero in on the important and right parts.
Read from the websites that mention the average studying time of the article. Time yourself and aim to finish the article within that specified time. Practice till you reach the studying speed of 400 words per minute.
Once you achieve the required rate, focus on tracing conjunctions. This will help you navigate the passage more accurately and efficiently. Remember, the author’s point of view is the main idea of the passage. So, pay attention to the lines where the author presents their opinion.
Create an idea bank
To Excellerate your score in the writing and studying section, create your idea bank — a list of words that are new to you, subjects that you like, news articles of interest, a list of ideas relevant to your field of work etc. Go through this idea bank before the test. It will provide variety to your sentences and Excellerate your writing and speaking ability.
Record yourself while speaking
Ask your friends, family, siblings or batch-mates to feed questions and record your answers for the speaking task. Listening to your recordings will help you Excellerate your speaking skills.
Immerse yourself in the English language
Surround yourself in an environment where you store English in your mind in active and passive ways. Watching movies or series, listening to songs, and talking or chatting with friends in English are fun ways to help you Excellerate your command of the language while rejuvenating yourself.
Build a Study Plan
Divide your entire preparation into three phases and set a target score based on your admission requirements. In phase one, focus on understanding the fundamentals for your weak areas. Attempt topic-wise tests for your strong suits.
Once you have improved upon the weak areas, start trying topic-wise questions or tests. Track your speed and accuracy for each test or practice session. Revisit the errors made by you during the timed practice sessions for improvement.
Phase three of the preparation is all about practice. Test takers tend to practice mock tests intermittently. That is a common mistake and a big no!
Always make sure that you practice the complete test — start to finish — undistracted. Replicate a test-like environment at home and take the test exactly as per the instructions given. Record all the metrics for each test including accuracy, the time spent on each question, and your errors.
Practice every day. In fact, practice all sections every day. While studying and listening are passive skills, they require you to process the information given and answer the questions.
However, writing and speaking are active skills where you make content independently. Feedback from an expert on all sections is crucial so as to identify your mistakes and work on the relevant skill.
The IELTS test becomes easy if you study using the following resources:
1. Road to IELTS: Road to IELTS is the British Council’s official online preparation course. It’s an excellent resource to start your preparation.
2. The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS: This book is suitable for both IELTS academic as well as general training.
3. Cambridge IELTS 17 Academic Student’s Book with Answers: This book gives access to authentic IELTS test papers. It also contains tips for each section and explains different question types.
4. Newspapers and magazines: Pick up national news daily for studying and speaking practice. Focus on the editorial section of the newspaper to cultivate a studying habit and Excellerate vocabulary. You can also refer to magazines such as The National Geographic and Nature.
Lastly, writing the test at the right time is extremely important. Begin with the end in mind and plan your IELTS test date in accordance with the university admissions deadline. Start preparing at least six months before the targeted score submission deadline to ensure that you have enough runway to prepare (30 to 60 days), practice (15 to 30 days), write the test and repeat the entire process in case you don’t get the targeted IELTS score in the first attempt. And finally, the day before your exam, relax, sleep, and eat well.
(The writer is the vice president of international education at Career Launcher)
President Martha E. Pollack has established a task force to interrogate all aspects of the undergraduate admissions process and to recommend a universitywide admissions policy and best practices that will be guided by Cornell’s founding mission and can be adapted by the admissions offices of each school and college.
“Cornell’s origin story, as reflected in our founding principle of ‘any person … any study,’ is unique, and it’s key to our modern ethos and identity,” Pollack said. “Our commitment to broad-based and inclusive admissions practices wasn’t an afterthought; it has always been intrinsic to our purpose and philosophy. A diverse and exceptionally talented student body is critical to the advancement of our institutional mission.”
The Presidential Task Force on Undergraduate Admissions brings together 15 faculty members and senior administrators with broad expertise in relevant fields. It is led by three co-chairs: Avery August, professor of microbiology and immunology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, deputy provost and presidential adviser on diversity and equity; Kelly Cunningham, chief of staff and special counsel to the president; and Patrizia McBride, professor of German Studies and senior associate dean for social sciences and interdisciplinary programs in the College of Arts and Sciences.
The group met for the first time Nov. 21, less than a month after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in separate legal challenges brought against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. Cornell joined other institutions in filing amicus briefs supporting the lawful consideration of racial and ethnic diversity in admissions.
The task force is charged with developing and recommending a universitywide undergraduate admissions policy and principles of practice to guide the admissions offices supporting each college and school.
“The task force’s work is both timely and necessary for Cornell to honor its founding ethos and continue evaluating how we can best serve that mission,” August said. “It provides an opportunity to reflect on who we serve and how we do that most effectively, and on what makes for a successful student here at Cornell.”
In addition to embracing Cornell’s founding principles and core values, Pollack said the policy should be responsive to the current legal and demographic landscapes; advance compliance with applicable accreditation standards; and inspire admitting units to recruit classes that are diverse across a range of categories and that exhibit excellence across an equivalently diverse range of attributes.
To develop the principles of practice, she asked the task force to examine pipelines and pathways to college, as well as recruitment and retention strategies. The task force then will recommend ways for admissions teams to identify attributes and experiences that have prepared applicants to succeed in the university’s academically rigorous programs, positively contribute to the campus community and use their Cornell education to address society’s most challenging problems.
“To respond to the challenges and opportunities of our time, we must be attuned to the world’s diversity,” McBride said. “That diversity is not abstract but made up of concrete exchanges and interactions in classrooms. To the extent that our communities reflect the beauty and variety of the society in which we live, then our disciplines will thrive.”
The principles of practice are expected to consider all aspects of the admissions process, from identification of prospective students to support for admitted students to external partnerships with schools and community organizations.
While encouraging task force members to think broadly, Pollack requested recommendations focused on the following questions:
What applicant characteristics or indicators should be prioritized to craft a class that furthers the university’s mission and yields the educational benefits of a diverse student body?
What, if any, are the appropriate uses of data analytics and machine learning technology as tools to enhance the holistic and individualized review of all applications?
What research protocols should be designed to assess the effectiveness of the recommended principles of practice?
Which pipeline, recruitment and retention programs should be prioritized across the individual undergraduate admitting units to generate the maximum impact on undergraduate student body diversity and the educational benefits derived from that diversity?
Task force deliberations over those subjects will build upon findings from a working group on admissions convened last summer, led by Vice President and General Counsel Donica Thomas Varner and Vice Provost for Enrollment Jonathan Burdick; and from a 2018-19 committee on diversity in admissions led by Eduardo Peñalver, then dean of Cornell Law School.
The task force is expected to deliver an interim report by the end of the spring semester and a final report no later than Aug. 31, 2023, so that recommendations may be incorporated as soon as the next undergraduate recruiting cycle.
“In addition to anticipating possible changes in U.S. law,” Cunningham said, “the task force presents an opportunity to think broadly about how Cornell defines undergraduate student success and how recruitment, admissions and retention strategies can intentionally reflect Cornell’s unique founding mission and core values.”
In addition to August, Cunningham and McBride, the members of the 2022-23 Presidential Task Force on Undergraduate Admissions are:
Vicki Bogan, associate professor of applied economics and policy and Geller Family Faculty Fellow (Cornell SC Johnson College of Business);
Jonathan Burdick, vice provost for enrollment;
Scott Campbell, executive director of admissions and recruitment (Cornell Engineering);
Lee Humphreys, professor and chair of the Department of Communication (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences);
Thorsten Joachims, professor of computer science and information science (Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science);
René Kizilcec, assistant professor of information science (Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science);
Mark Lewis, the Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Engineering and director of the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering (Cornell Engineering);
Michael Lovenheim, the Donald C. Opatrny ’74 Chair of the Department of Economics (Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy and ILR School);
Alan Mathios, professor of economics, (Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy);
Lisa Nishii, professor of human resource studies (ILR School) and vice provost for undergraduate education;
Ravi Ramakrishna, professor of mathematics (College of Arts and Sciences); and
Kim Weeden, the Jan Rock Zubrow ’77 Professor of the Social Sciences and director of the Center for the Study of Inequality (College of Arts and Sciences).
Things haven’t changed much in the two decades since I finished high school – admittedly, this approach has served thousands of students to enter the most revered Indian institutions but if you think the same formula will make you walk through the hallowed halls of the world’s best universities – the Ivy Leagues, the Oxbridge of the worlds – I’d say hit the road, Jack and don’t you come back!
The best universities in the world look beyond academic accomplishments and test scores - undoubtedly, these are important, but good grades and test scores are a necessary condition, not a sufficient one. One may ask, what else do these universities look at – and the simple answer to that question is “You". There are few people who take 18 years old, their life story and what they truly care for more seriously than admission officers at these Universities.
If you have an idea (and belief) that can truly solve a real-world problem, from lack of access to education and healthcare, poor sanitation, climate change, bullying, body image issues, gender inequality - go for it. But don’t just stop at talking about it – do something, make an impact – build a start-up, code an app, start a campaign, create a fundraiser, join a not-for-profit or start one. Most importantly do what you truly and deeply care for and it will count in the application – often more than you can imagine.
I truly believe that Indian students don’t lack the imagination, the empathy or the technical ability to get involved and make an impact. In fact, if there’s something this county has in abundance, it is opportunity, resources and ingenuity – however what we lack is often the right mindset and an understanding on what aids the development of an intelligent 16 year old to become a leader and an impactful professional – and this approach is lacking in our educational institutions, national curriculum as well as in our dinner table conversations at home (and often substituted by an exaggerated emphasis on competitive and board exams). The other thing most Indian students lack is information and a sense of time – most of us don’t know that most US universities offer an athletic and sports recruitment route, where exceptional sportspersons (from over 24 different sports) can apply and be selected to study at the best universities including Harvard, Stanford, Yale purely on their sporting abilities and achievements.
Similarly, while typically, students in the US start working towards their university plans from as early as grade 8 or 9, finding initiatives at school or building independent projects or just doing research on what universities require and look for, most Indian students only start thinking or acting on their university application plan in late Grade 11 or 12 – by which time the battle is already half lost.
The world’s best universities want to fill their classes with students with diverse academic goals, varied interests, differing perspectives and personalities, unique achievements but bound together with a common trait and a shared goal to contribute and enrich the society. I am sure enough students in India fulfill that criteria, all they need is direction and the right guidance.
If you have aspirations to study at the world’s best universities, start thinking beyond grades and SATs – get involved in your school, your community, and start actively contributing to the world around you – and start NOW! Participate in a wide variety of initiatives - from community projects, volunteering opportunities, to professional experience such as internships, to nurturing and advancing your own personal interests –music, art, sports or even an uncommon hobby.
Work on a problem/issue/cause that you deeply care but remember you’re not doing this just for the sake of your college application but with the intent of making a real difference – however small that difference may be!
The Crimson Difference
At Crimson, we start with a candidacy assessment of the student - an analysis of their goals, preferences and aspirations, to identify where they might need support to further develop and excel their profile.
2,400 expert tutors, mentors, and strategists located around the world
Experts such as Former Admission Officers from Top US/UK Universities guide our students through their invaluable knowledge of the admissions process.
As a result of our process, when many schools reported a decrease in early round acceptance rates, Crimson students have broken new records in their groundbreaking acceptances to the best universities in the US.
The Crimson Advantage
Our CEO and Co-Founder - Jamie Beaton (holds qualifications from Harvard and Stanford and most recently has completed his PhD in Public Policy at Oxford) believes that creating value and giving access to vital information for both students and parents is the only thing that truly matters. To realize Jamie’s efforts, for a more global outreach and democratizing the access to information, Crimson also runs the largest YouTube channel for any educational company, depicting college life and answers to major student queries.
For more information on Crimson Education, please visit https://www.crimsoneducation.org/in/
Disclaimer: This article is a paid publication and does not have journalistic/editorial involvement of Hindustan Times. Hindustan Times does not endorse/subscribe to the content(s) of the article/advertisement and/or view(s) expressed herein. Hindustan Times shall not in any manner, be responsible and/or liable in any manner whatsoever for all that is stated in the article and/or also with regard to the view(s), opinion(s), announcement(s), declaration(s), affirmation(s) etc., stated/featured in the same.
College can come with a hefty price tag. Luckily, there are several types of support available for students who need help paying for college.
This guide to financial aid will cover everything you need to know about making college more affordable.
(Please note: The following information applies to citizens, dual citizens and permanent residents of the United States. Financial aid options and processes may differ for those who reside outside of the U.S.)
"Financial aid" is an umbrella term that covers all of the financial support that students receive to help pay for tuition and other costs associated with college.
Nearly 84% of college students in the United States receive some sort of financial aid which means that most students are getting support. However, more than $2 billion in federal aid goes unclaimed each year.
There are several different types of financial aid that come from a variety of donors and lenders. This makes it possible for students from different upbringings and backgrounds to find funding to help them reach their academic goals.
There are four main types of financial aid: scholarships, grants, loans and work-study. Each of these is a little different since they are designed to offer support for students with different situations.
With that said, let’s break down the different types of financial aid that are available for college students.
Scholarships are a type of funding that comes from both public and private institutions. They can cover everything from partial tuition to full tuition with room and board.
Most scholarships require students to meet certain standards once they are enrolled and classes start. Most scholarships require that students maintain a minimum GPA. For academic scholarships, this GPA is higher. For sports scholarships, student-athletes must remain committed to their sport. Full-time enrollment is another common stipulation on scholarships.
Scholarships do not need to be paid back as long as the student maintains their grades and upholds all other scholarship requirements.
Grants are very similar to scholarships, but they are typically awarded based on need versus a student’s academic, athletic or artistic performance.
This sort of financial aid can be funded by the government, institutions or private donors. Publicly funded grants are often geared towards supporting students from low-income families.
Private grants, on the other hand, can be more like scholarships. Since they are private, the donor or organization that manages the grant has the ability to restrict access however they please.
Some grants are one-time payments, and others are dispersed over the course of a student’s college career. Like scholarships, grants do not need to be paid back.
Loans are a type of financial aid that must be paid back with interest. The exact terms of a student loan depend on the specific lender.
Students can borrow from the federal government or from a private lender. Many students prefer federal loans since their interest rates are lower and a portion of the interest is tax-deductible. However, students must qualify for federal loans, so many have no choice but to borrow from private lenders.
It is important to check if the loan has a simple or compounding interest when it comes to taking out loans. With simple interest, you only pay interest on the principal (in other words, the money you borrowed). But with compounding interest, you pay interest on both the principal and the interest that has accrued.
Work-study is another option for financial aid that is a little bit different. There are two types of work-study programs: some that are government-sponsored and some that are school-sponsored. In both types of programs, students get a job on campus and work off their tuition.
For federal work-study programs, students have to demonstrate financial need. Typically, these jobs include a variety of roles around campus. You could work in the mailroom, at the library, in the gym, in the bookstore or anywhere else on campus.
Since there are so many types and sources of financial aid, pretty much anybody is eligible for funding of some type.
When it comes to need-based financial aid, only those from families with income that falls below the designated income threshold qualify. However, there are other criteria that make students eligible for aid as well.
Some other financial aid qualifiers include:
Students may also be eligible for grants and scholarships based on their parents’ or guardians’ jobs or involvement in different organizations.
There are quite a few places to find financial aid. Some of the top places to access financial aid include:
As we mentioned, it’s possible to get scholarships from organizations that your family is connected to, whether it be a social club or your parent’s or guardian’s employer. Reach out directly to see what those organizations have to offer.
A guide to college financial aid would not be complete without mentioning FAFSA. FAFSA is short for "Free Application for Federal Student Aid." This is an application that takes a student’s family finances into consideration for federal financial aid.
Basically, the FAFSA application collects information from each student and their guardians to determine the family’s estimated possible contribution to the student’s education. From there, it is determined whether the student is eligible for federally funded grants or federally backed loans.
Many schools require students to keep an up-to-date FAFSA application on file even if they are not eligible for federal aid. Although it’s meant for assessment for federal funding, this information can be used to assess eligibility for funding from private institutions, as well.
To learn more about making college more affordable, head over to Bucknell University’s Financial Aid page.
The ATAR is the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, which is a tool designed to assist tertiary institutions when selecting students for courses. It provides an overall measure of a student’s relative performance in their VCE studies.
The ATAR is created by VTAC using the results from a student’s successful completion of the VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education), as assessed and administered by the VCAA (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority).
VCE students will receive a study score from the VCAA for each study a student completes, which reflects their relative performance in that study only. So that institutions can fairly compare students who have chosen different subject combinations, VTAC applies a process of scaling to each study score before it is used in the calculation of the ATAR.
Students who have satisfied the requirements for the VCE and have study scores in one of English, English as an additional language, English language and literature and at least three other studies (in a permissible combination) are eligible to receive an ATAR.
ATAR and VCE results are released on Monday, December 12, at 7am (AEDST).
You can receive your VCE results and ATAR in three ways:
The above are joint services providing your VCE results from VCAA and your ATAR from VTAC. If your school has recorded an email address for you, you will also receive your VCE results (but not ATAR) by email.
Everyone loves dogs. They are friendly, fun, loyal, and interesting and they spice up your life in a way that only they can. As such rays of sunshine, we often want to know as much about them as possible, including their background. That’s where dog DNA testing comes in.
Learning about your pup’s DNA reveals a variety of both fun and informative things that not only help you keep them healthier for longer, but also help in conversation with other dog owners, as we all know dog owners love to talk about their pup’s breed. It’s almost like asking, “what’s your major?” in college - it’s as ubiquitous as the idea of owning a dog itself. Toward that end, here we present the definitive list of the best dog DNA test kits on the market today.
1. Embark 2 in 1 - Most Comprehensive Dog DNA Test
2. Wisdom Panel 2 in 1 - Powerful Insights
3. Orivet - The Value Option
There are two paths to follow when it comes to dog DNA testing via Embark 2-in-1. You can go the breed-only route to find out more about your pet’s background and lineage. Or you can pair that knowledge with insights into your dog’s health with the combo 2-in-1 test instead.
Embark Breed ID is true to its name and tests for more than 350 different canine breeds to give you a percentage-based breakdown of your dog’s lineage. Is your dog spotted like a Dalmatian but with the look of a pitbull and the long ears of another breed? You might have a “Pitmation” mixed with a dachshund on your hands! The Embark DNA test gives you a clear breakdown of what’s in your dog’s past so you can have some insight into the various aspects of your pup’s appearance.
But the value of Breed ID doesn’t stop there. Ever wonder why your dog is always “the chaser” at the dog park? Do you have a tiny pup, yet find that she’s always trying to herd the other dogs as a group? Maybe you have a cuddly lap dog, but he goes crazy for squirrels and birds. As you might imagine, many of these behavioral variances may be baked-in, based on the genetic makeup your dog pal has deep in its bones.
Embark’s Breed ID helps identify the breeds that make your best friend act the way she does. This kind of info is invaluable as it helps you hedge your bets in scenarios that could be tenuous for your dog–anything from chasing something into the street, to reacting in otherwise-unexpected ways around people, children, or other animals. Information is power, and Embark gives you information on an entirely new level. Finally, some answers!
The Embark 2-in-1 is a combination of tests including all of the great breed info above, as well as deep insights into your dog’s health. The benefits of knowing more about the health of your pup are many, as prolonging a dog’s life and giving them a comfortable day-to-day existence are things that most dog owners wish for their little friends.
Your dog’s health and wellness are in the best hands with the Embark DNA test, as knowing the medical issues your dog may face means you can give them the nutrition and supplements that best serve them and prolong their healthiest, most comfortable years. This combo test also reveals things like a target weight that is best for your furry friend and insights into the genetic diversity behind their physical makeup.
This option even includes a live consultation with a geneticist who specializes in the veterinary field so you can ask all the questions that having more answers inevitably leads to. This perk alone is worth the price of admission, as you normally only ever get an audience with your vet, whose perspective is also improved vastly by a deeper knowledge of your pup’s background. In fact, you will want to share the results of these tests with your vet as well, as this information is imperative in keeping your dog in good health.
The Embark dog DNA test kit gives you the best of both worlds: the fun and insightful breed info you crave and the health background to keep your furry friend as healthy and happy as possible their whole life through.
Discounts and Pricing
Embark’s dog DNA testing kit is $199 USD for the 2-in-1 Health and Breed ID combo test. It’s $129 for the breed-only test if you get either at full retail price.
But our review team loved that you can nab a full $60 off your initial order by opting in on the Embark email list. That takes a neat chunk out of the price point on Embark, especially when paired with promo code JOY, which takes $60 off the combo test price, bringing it down to $139. You can also use this promo code for the “Breed ID only” test to bring the price down to $109.
Installment pricing is also available through Embark’s Shop Pay financing, which gives you the option to pay in 2-week installments rather than all at once.
The Bottom Line
Embark 2-in-1 tops our list of the best DNA tests for dogs available on the market today. The combination of breed identification and health and wellness advantages available through this Embark dog DNA test is your best bet for improving your dog’s health and happiness.
Shop for Embark 2 in 1
Tests based on more than a decade of research in genetic conditions in dogs
MDR1 medication sensitivity test included for adverse reactions to common medications
Results tested against genotype research of more than two million dogs
As is the case with each of the brands on this list, this DNA test is not applicable for show dog-level breed or lineage pronouncements and is not accepted by the American Kennel Club for registration
The Wisdom Panel 2-in-1 DNA test for dogs is a comprehensive breed identification and health report developed by top veterinarians and geneticists. This premium item puts emphasis on premium by combining ancestral info, health screening, and deep analysis of traits.
The genes in your dog’s DNA contain a powerful set of information that is the key to unlocking insights that will help your dog live his or her best life. Wisdom Panel helps unlock these learnings by giving you information on your dog’s bloodline as far back as her great-grandparents. The service then compares this info with a deep database of more than 1.7 million other dogs across more than 350 different breeds to reveal information about your dog’s ancestry.
This ancestry is pivotal, as the second part of the Wisdom Panel 2-in-1 service provides insights into more than 200 genetic conditions. These conditions could affect your dog’s health, behavior, and nutritional needs, and gives you much-needed perspective on practical things such as the ideal weight at which you should maintain your pup. Ancestral insight into potential genetic conditions means you can potentially get ahead of physical struggles or ailments that may beset your pup in the future.
Wisdom Panel also includes an MDR1 test, which reveals sensitivity to medications. This can help you avoid potential adverse reactions to certain common medications or, at the very least, be aware of such risks so you can watch for any issues, should you need to employ one of these medications. This is also a piece your veterinary doctor will want to know about so they can take it into consideration along with any health plans or treatment arrays.
The Wisdom Panel 2-in-1 is also easy to use and requires only a simple cheek swab in your dog’s mouth to collect saliva for analysis.
Discounts and Pricing
The Wisdom Panel 2-in-1 premium breed ID and health condition ID test for dogs retails at $159.99 USD for one test, or you can save 25% off if you order two tests, at a total of $239.98. There is also free shipping within one to three days.
The Bottom Line
Wisdom Panel 2-in-1 combines powerful genetic DNA testing with health screening and insights that help you help your pup live her best life.
Shop for Wisdom Panel 2 in 1
Orivet’s Geno Pet dog DNA and breed identification test is the value option on our list of the best dog DNA tests. What it lacks in features it more than makes up for in ease of use, comprehensive DNA breed results, and a clever, intuitive mobile app.
The process to use Orivet’s DNA test for dogs is the same as the others on this list, involving a cheek swab and mailing package, activated and tracked within the company’s excellent mobile app. This app serves as the comprehensive mobile dashboard of genetic and breed information for your pup. Within two to three weeks your results populate within the app and tell you the percentages of each breed that make up your best friend’s genetics.
This alone is simple and convenient, especially at this price point. But beyond the simple breed breakdown, you also get a personalized LifePlan™ from Orivet. This LifePlan outlines your dog’s life in phases, from puppy to geriatric ages, and plots the points of health considerations at each level.
The LifePlan is fully available on the Orivet app long after your DNA test is complete, and breaks down the various points at which you’ll want to consider a variety of actions to check on and maintain your pup’s health. High points include reminders for routine health care, alerts for certain health checks at certain ages, advice from experts for your specific dog’s breed mix, and even suggestions for screening certain diseases. The best part is that this LifePlan is personalized to your dog based on its DNA test results.
And before you think that a discounted price means anything less than excellence, consider this: Orivet has been trusted by breeders and vets in the pet healthcare industry for more than a decade. The brand is a leader in canine genetic research and even guarantees satisfaction with a 100 percent warranty billed as “no-hassle.”
Discounts and Pricing
The Geno Pet DNA test from Orivet carries the lowest price tag on our list, retailing at $99.95 USD, but discounted 31 percent to a final price of $69.00. Free one to three-day shipping is included as well.
The Bottom Line
Every brand on this list of the best dog DNA test products is worthwhile. And while Orivet’s Geno Pet DNA dog test may provide fewer features than the other two on our list, its competitive pricing paired with its LifePlan approach to results made it a top pick nonetheless.
Shop for Orivet
This list of the best DNA tests for dogs was created by a panel of reviewers. The panel tested and reviewed each product against a set of stringent parameters. These review points included accessibility, pricing, brand reputation, features, warranties, years in business, user review ratings, manufacturing processes, and ease of use. Each product listed here is a top-of-the-line industry leader in its field and represents the best options available for reliable and comprehensive dog DNA test results.
A DNA test kit is an important tool to have if you want to make sure your dog is healthy and safe. The kit has everything you need to perform DNA testing on your dog, with the help of the latest technology.
The services for dog DNA kits on this list each provide you with an easy-to-read report for your own information and for you to share with your vet. The report provides a detailed overview of your pup’s medical history, which may be helpful for managing their care. Since a dog DNA kit is so important to helping keep your dog healthy, choosing the best dog DNA breed health kit is key. There are a wide variety of options out there, after all.
It will be helpful to you to consider the following points when buying a dog DNA test.
Breed-specific testing - Different breeds of dogs have different DNA testing needs. Different manufacturers may offer separate kits for specific breeds, so it's always best to research before choosing an appropriate one. That said, most people who are seeking a DNA test kit are simply looking to find out more about the pup who already lights up your life, not necessarily their dog’s breed - and that’s fine, too. After all, with more than 360 breeds recognized worldwide by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (or the World Canine Organization), that’s an awful lot to choose from!
Pricing - Prices for dog DNA tests vary depending on the brand, features, and the amount/quantity of product.
Features - Some kits come with features that may be helpful to have depending on the need of your pet, like a saliva collection tool or the opportunity to expand your test into various segments, including health-specific additions or ongoing breed database updates.
Brand comparisons - There are a lot of different dog DNA breed health kit brands and they are made by different companies that offer varying features and quality levels. To choose the right breed health kit for your needs, you need to think about things like whether or not it boasts a high identification success rate and if it is affordable to use.
Research - A little research into the brands of the products you're considering will give you a better idea about their reliability. You are on the right track by studying this list created by a panel of experts on the matter. This is a great way to ensure that you’re learning all you can before making a decision.
Dog DNA kits are a great way to understand your dog on all levels, from background knowledge to why they behave the way they do. But this knowledge need not be sought after for simply altruistic reasons, as knowing these things helps prevent unnecessary medical expenses as well.
A DNA test can tell you a lot of things about your dog. It can tell you the dog’s breed mix, provide insights into their personality, and whether they’re at risk for any genetic diseases. There are many reasons why someone might want to get a DNA test done on their pup. It could be because they have taken in a stray or because they are trying to find out more about their dog’s background. The truth is that there are many benefits to getting your dog tested for DNA as it will help you better understand them and what makes them tick.
One of the many common reasons why people get their dog’s DNA test done is that it will help them decide whether to breed their dog or not. If this sounds funny to you, you may be surprised at how many people consider it, even outside the realm of official and professional breeding.
Research has shown that dogs have signs of heritable diseases when they are bred, and a DNA test can tell you if your dog may have one of these diseases. If this is something that concerns you, then getting their dog’s DNA tested will make things easier for both of you.
Some other reasons why people might want to get their dog’s DNA tested are to determine a breed, to see what breeds are outside their bloodline, or to find out if their dog is a mixed breed.
Dog Breeds and Bloodlines
Dog breeds that have been in existence for a long time may have certain characteristics that have been passed down through generations. For example, the poodle is known for having wrinkles on its skin. However, some dogs will be able to pass down these traits while others won’t be able to. With DNA testing, you’ll be able to find out if your dog has poodle genes and therefore if it may have wrinkles under its fur. This is one of the many fun things you may not have known to even check for, otherwise.
Different Dog Breeds
A test can also help determine a mixed breed dog's lineage. The size, coat type, and other features will give an idea of what other breeds they might have mixed with. Don't worry though; most mixes will have a great temperament!
The Future of DNA Testing
There is still a lot that can be discovered by learning about what your dog's DNA says. Scientists are currently studying the genetic code to figure out how and why dogs are domesticated. For example, there was a study where scientists learned that dogs have an additional gene for pigment deposition which helps them retain their color year-round. Some breeds have different genes for this than others, so it’s important to know the specific genes in order to create pups of specific colors from their parents.
DNA dog testing kits can tell you quite a bit about your dog. Regardless of the reasons you’re choosing to consider getting such a test done, in the end it’s not only fun but gives you important information about your dog that will help you give her a better life.
Each of the DNA dog tests on this list is incredibly easy to use. In essence, each test involves the collection of saliva from the inner cheek of your dog and a mailing of a pre-packaged kit into a processing center and laboratory.
The process for each of the dog DNA test brands is simple:
Peel open the sleeve containing test swabs
Roll the bristles of the swab in your dog’s mouth along their cheek and gums for about 15 seconds per swab
Insert the swab into the provided carton, where it needs to air dry for five minutes
Repeat the process for a second swab (to validate results on the analysis end)
Activate the DNA test kit on the brand’s website and write down the activation code on the demo sticker
Then move swabs from the drying carton back into the protective sleeves and seal them closed
Drop the pre-paid shipping package in the mail and wait for your results!
As simple as this process is, we live in a digital “on demand” world and putting something in the mail may seem like the sort of thing you only do for things that take a long time. So the natural next question is likely “how long will this take?” We’re glad you asked…
A DNA test is a quick and easy way to find out what kind of dog you have. The results are usually available within a week or two, but it can take up to three to four weeks for the results to show up on the website.
The test will tell you what breed your dog is, how closely related they are to other breeds, and how much of each breed they have. Another great aspect of the dog DNA tests on this list is that there is no need for an in-person appointment at a vet clinic for the test. You can order it online and then send in your dog’s DNA demo in the pre-packaged breed health kit that will be mailed to you. Everything can be done from home!
In particular, each of the dog DNA breed health kits on this list provides a full array of DNA test results within two to four weeks.
A dog DNA test is a genetic test that can be used to determine the breed of a dog. In most cases, it is used to identify the parentage of mixed-breed dogs. The DNA in a dog's cells is divided into two types: nuclear and mitochondrial.
Nuclear DNA is inherited from both parents, while mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother. Mitochondrial DNA testing is not as accurate as nuclear DNA testing in determining breed or parentage because it lacks enough genetic information to make a proper identification.
A DNA test is usually performed on saliva or hair from the dog, although occasionally blood may be used instead. (Editor’s note: none of the brands on this list use this method.) The test generally looks for specific genetic markers in one of two places: the nuclear genome and mitochondrial genome.
Dog DNA tests are typically done on mixed-breed dogs to identify their parents. Mixed-breed dogs are more likely than purebred dogs to have both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from different breeds, which can make it difficult to determine their breed definitively using a DNA test. However, it is possible to identify the percentage of each breed in the dog's genome. A DNA test can also be done on purebred dogs to determine how closely related they are to other breeds, or to identify their parents.
Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world. They can be a great companion and help you get through hard times. One way to learn more about your dog is by taking a DNA test. There are many benefits of taking this type of test, including learning what breed your dog belongs to or helping you find out if your pet has any health issues that need attention.
The following are some of the benefits of taking the DNA test:
By taking a DNA test, you will know what health conditions are common in the breed of your dog in order to prevent future health issues
DNA tests can be used to determine if your pet is prone to certain genetic diseases or if they carry any risks
By finding out what genetic traits your pet has, you can make sure that they have an active and fun-filled lifestyle with minimal complications
If you have not yet purchased your dog, you may wish to learn more about the breed standards for specific breeds. This can help you determine whether or not a potential puppy is worth purchasing
It is helpful to weigh the pros and cons of any important decision in life, and choosing a dog DNA kit is no different. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider.
There are a variety of great reasons to try one of the dog DNA test kits on this list, including:
A DNA test will tell you how close your dog is to being of breeding that is among purebred dogs.
Dog DNA testing has the potential to help you identify genetic diseases common to your dog’s lineage so you can get ahead of them.
DNA testing can help you determine your dog’s specific mix of breeds.
The cons of a DNA test kit are few, depending on the company and type of kit that you purchase. None of the brands on this list suffer from these cons, but they are important to be aware of in case you choose to shop around further.
Shipping and handling are common traps to cash in on additional ways to charge for services
Some services require additional fees for additional levels or specific areas of genetic testing
Some dog DNA test kits are purposefully limiting in the results they provide, in order to get you to upgrade their service
On the whole, getting a dog DNA test is a positive experience that’s inexpensive, easy to accomplish, and very satisfying.
For the most part, we want to know what breeds comprise our dog’s lineage for lighter purposes, such as general knowledge and for conversation with other dog owners.
The one area to take DNA testing with a grain of salt has to do with purebred dogs’ status, such as if you were looking to make your dog a show dog for competition. If you are curious as to whether or not your dog is purebred, commercially available dog DNA tests may not be quite the avenue you might seek. Most commercially available dog DNA tests will give you plenty of accurate information about your dog’s background, but not the kind that will serve as failsafe proof of whether or not you have a show dog breed on your hands.
Since this is an incredibly narrow interest area, it is not really a “downside,” of commercially available dog DNA tests and should not be considered a negative unless you really are looking to be a show dog owner. In such a case, it is likely you purchased your dog from a reputable breeder and already have such a canine’s official papers proving lineage and bloodlines anyway.
Getting a dog DNA test done is a fun, easy, convenient, and rewarding experience that pays for itself in the long run, in terms of improved health for your dog (and therefore a lower likelihood of health issues). No matter your reasons for considering this process, any of the brands here on our list for the best dog DNA test kits will serve your purposes in spades.