Test optional might not be the best option

After COVID, most colleges and universities renounced their requirement to include testing scores in applications. Prestigious schools such as Harvard have announced that standardized testing will not be a requirement for the foreseeable future. I am currently in the process of applying to college, and although every school I’m applying to doesn’t necessarily require any scores, I hesitate to leave them out of my application.
In all honesty, I’m skeptical that a lack of scores on

my application won’t affect my chances of getting into specific schools. There are some schools, such as all UCs (University California schools), that don’t physically provide a space to input scores, as they don’t want them and will not consider them as part of the application. I know that these schools obviously wouldn’t consider it to be a disadvantage, as they don’t even give us the opportunity to submit them.

Cornell University is the most prestigious school I am applying to, a “dream school,” if you will. Realistically, as most Ivy Leagues are, Cornell is a reach, a school that I would be absolutely ecstatic to get into and to do this, I would naturally want to figure out a way to increase my chances of acceptance as much as I am capable of. Do I really have a good chance without my SAT scores? From my perspective, it seems that not inputting scores might put students at a disadvantage.

Hofstra University has questions and answers regarding when to submit the SAT or ACT and when to leave it out of your application. These questions help differentiate when scores would improve your application, and when they would not benefit you. Essentially, you should only submit scores when you feel confident in the scores themselves. Not submitting them doesn’t necessarily help or hurt you, until you misinterpret a score and submit something you shouldn’t have.

That still bodes the question, what makes a good score? Princeton said in its SAT guidebook that they do not believe that these standardized tests properly showcase a student’s individual intellectual ability. How do I determine what makes a good score? Is it when I feel I’ve done the best I can do? What schools consider these scores to be a downfall on a student’s application?
Most schools have been upfront about what a lack of test scores might do to an application. A lack of test scores makes every other aspect more important, such as GPA or extracurriculars. When creating your application, and if you decide to not include test scores, it may be beneficial to pick a different aspect of your life to focus on.