Colleges welcoming a new test optional policies


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These are four of the many universities that changed their policy regarding standardized testing.

The rise of COVID-19 caused major changes within education, one of which is universities and colleges becoming test-optional.

SAT and ACT test centers in Maryland and other states have shut down, making it extremely difficult for rising and current seniors to receive SAT/ACT test scores. Due to this conflict, certain universities came to the conclusion that they would become test optional, and some through the year 2024. Juniors are debating whether it is worth the stress and long hours of studying now that schools have become test optional.

Last school year, beginning in April, test centers around the United States began to shut down through the summer. Rising seniors struggled to find test centers open around the area to take their standardized tests. Ultimately there was hope when universities and colleges began their test optional policies. Some students already had their scores pre-Covid, but plenty did not and some decided to not take a test at all. “When I found out that the schools I was applying to didn’t require an ACT score anymore, I figured why spend my time relearning concepts that don’t define me as a student,” senior Kyler Hamlin said.

This school year, juniors are facing the same predicament: whether to take a standardized test or not. Students said it’s dependent on the schools they’re planning on applying to. Public universities in Florida have not gone test optional and some California schools were only test optional for the class of 2021. Other schools such as University of Michigan became “test flexible” meaning within the application a sort of test must be submitted, including a PSAT, AP exam, SAT or ACT. “I am still debating taking a standardized test. I have a good amount of time to decide, but I am studying and preparing just in case I do decide to take it,” junior Jenna Siman said.

The debate of whether to take a standardized test or not has become a popular topic amongst upperclassmen. One major upside that comes with taking an ACT or SAT is an application advantage. Currently, not every person has access to a test center, nor had they had one within the past seven months. So, having an extra aspect such as a standardized test may seem to put one at an advantage.

However, universities and colleges have adapted to the circumstances and are understanding if it isn’t accessible. Taking a standardized test comes with extensive stress of studying and preparing, receiving the desired score, time and expense. “Thankfully I only had to take one ACT and got a 33, although that took a lot of my free time away and a lot of unwanted anxiety. It was an extremely relieving feeling knowing I was done, but most of my friends weren’t that lucky. I watched as they suffered through not getting the score they wanted, stressing over practice tests and crumbling under the pressure of having limited time,” senior Kevin Friedman said.