Colleges are now going “test optional”. What does this mean for students?

Evan Jones, Staff Writer

Many colleges have moved towards eliminating the SAT from admission requirements or have made it an “optional” submission.

Around half of the four year universities have done this including Stanford and all of the Ivy League schools. That number is now at 400 universities and counting around the country. 

However, most schools have stated that they still value the score to some degree and encourage applicants to still take the test because it can be used to bolster your application. 

A few colleges took a different approach to changing standardized test submissions. Princeton and a few others have allowed for high school students to turn in all of their applications by the January deadline instead of the early decision deadline so that students may have more time to put their applications together. 

This issue then poses the question: should SATs be canceled permanently? 

We know these tools to be useful, but we also see how they can contribute to the arms race.”

— David Coleman

Some feel like this decision of making the SAT “optional” could mean the permanent demise of the SAT in the near future. 

In fact, a study done by Harvard supports the fact that SATs should be eliminated permanently from the application process. This study showed that standardized testing impeded applications and that without standardized testing, more applications would be filled out and sent to Harvard and other universities. 

The main reason for this if it were to happen is that colleges are now tending to look at other qualities of applicants than just standardized test scores. Colleges want to see community involvement and an ability to help others. 

Experts also feel that the standardized testing in high school such as the SAT and ACT, contribute to an “arms race” that takes away the childhood of adolescents in high school. In his article from The Atlantic, CEO of the College Board, David Coleman said, “We know these tools to be useful, but we also see how they can contribute to the arms race.”

It is obvious how much more competition exams like the SAT and ACT create when applying to college. The competition generated by these exams puts an unnecessary amount of pressure on teenagers in high school and causes them to become overly worrisome about their futures.

“…But students of modest means suffer most when applying to college becomes an endless list of tasks requiring time and other resources,” said David Coleman. 

It’s obvious that standardized testing is in jeopardy in the United States and many experts agree. We could see colleges all across the country eventually move away from the SAT and ACT permanently, but for now it’s only temporary.