Colleges and universities go test-optional for the fall of 2021

Many institutions of higher learning are not requiring the SAT’s or the ACT’s in the fall


Isabel Rivera

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Isabel Rivera, Staff Writer

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges have elected to be SAT and ACT test-optional for the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.  

Many high school students study and stress for months before taking the SAT and ACT.  Students study hard to get the highest score possible to put on their college applications.  Standardized test scores can sometimes make or break a student’s acceptance to their dream school.

“I took the SAT three times and I felt a lot of pressure because of it,” said senior Emily Rafikia. “Everyone stresses over the SAT.  Parents and teachers always say you need to get a good SAT score to get into college.”

Standardized tests such as the SAT are a staple of high school and are usually required to get into college.  Before the COVID-19 pandemic, some schools were making the switch to being test-optional, but it was not as common.

The SAT is a standardized test used in the acceptance process of schools in the United States.  There are two sections to the SAT, math and evidence-based reading and writing.  The overall points for each section is 800.  The ACT test involves English, math, reading, and science.  Like the SAT, the ACT offers an optional writing section.  On the ACT students can receive a score on a scale from 1 to 36.  

The average score of acceptance for each college or university varies, so there is no right score for every school.

When a university or college is test-optional it means that they let the applicants decide if they want to attach their SAT or ACT scores.  Even though it has been more talked about recently, test-optional schools are not a new concept.  The first test-optional school was Bowdoin College in 1969.  

Schools going test-optional provides the applicants an opportunity to paint a clearer picture of themselves and their personalities.  This change can increase a greater diversity of personalities attending that school.  

More than 1,600 schools have made the switch to being test-optional.  But, for some schools, the switch is only temporary.  

“It’s a student’s personal decision if they want to send their SAT and ACT scores to a test-optional school.” said school counselor Ms. Theresa Onody. “From talking to college representatives over the years, if you send out your SAT or ACT score and the school doesn’t require it, they’re not going to look at it.  But, while the college may not look at the SAT/ACT score if it’s not required, the student should check with the college to see if sending their score would be good to send anyway, as it may be helpful depending on their situation.”

This change in many schools is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and depending on the school may only be applicable for admission in the fall of 2021.

For more information about colleges and universities, students should join the SHS guidance department’s Google Classroom for their respective class.

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