Test-Optional Policies: One Positive Outcome of the Global Pandemic

Cassidy Kleinwaks

The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a standardized test taken by a majority of students during their junior year to measure a student’s readiness for college. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many universities and colleges across the country have made submitting SAT scores optional. Those getting ready to apply to colleges have a few choices: take the SAT and submit your scores, take the SAT and don’t submit your scores – or don’t take the test at all. 

Personally, I think that having the option of applying for college without taking the SAT is extremely helpful and takes some of the edge off of this year. Not only has coping through a pandemic been a challenge over the past months, but there have been a variety of other difficult aspects to go through as well. For me, I’ve had to balance school, work, extracurriculars, and my mental and physical health. I think I can speak for a lot of teenagers and young adults when I say that this year and last have taken a toll on my emotional health. Standardized tests are just another added stressor to the growing list of obstacles involved in attending high school in the midst of a pandemic.

 It is understandable to ask yourself, since so many universities are providing a test-optional route for applicants, should I take the SAT? I believe that the correct answer to this question is different for every person who is asked. However, my advice as a high school junior who has now entered the world of college applications is to take the test at least once. If you score poorly, you can take it again until you’re satisfied and superscore to optimize the score seen by admission committees, or even choose not to submit your scores at all. On the other hand, if your scores turn out really well and you choose to submit them, this could greatly increase your chances of getting accepted into more prestigious schools. 

Whether you choose to take the test and submit the scores depends on how you are already doing in classes academically. It’s important to note how important these scores could or could not be to your application as a whole. On a more personal stance, I am opting to take the SAT because I know that ultimately the benefits of taking the test heavily outweigh the negatives; how I score does not solidify my future because I can take it multiple times or even choose not to submit it. If you are on the fence about taking the SAT, I say go for it. As long as you have the time and motivation to study and prepare, it can’t hurt!