Students left to decide if SAT/ACT is necessary


Photo by Olivia Smith

The Princeton Review and College Board both have study guides to help prepare students for the SAT.

When deciding what colleges you want to apply to you have to take into account your SAT/ACT test scores. These scores can be one of the major determining factors as to whether or not you get into a college. However, many colleges are converting to test-optional, which is ultimately creating much uncertainty for students.

Sophomores and juniors have been hesitant to begin preparing for the SAT/ACT due to the new restrictions that keep evolving due to the pandemic. The changes have altered the landscape of standardized testing. The limitations on where tests can be held and the number of people allowed per room has caused problems.

Junior Mia Mikowski had an SAT scheduled and her spot got revoked three times. The anxiety of refreshing the page to see if your testing center was closed takes a toll on people’s test taking ability and their overall mental health. “It sucked having to constantly reschedule, and it made me give up on studying,” Mikowski said.

In addition to the rescheduling, students might not feel comfortable going outside their homes yet. These test centers are closed off schools with a group of people you don’t know. Some people don’t want to risk it.

Colleges are turning to a test-optional application, which is making it harder for people to decide whether or not to take a test. Now that the test scores aren’t so dominant when filling out applications, people can be driven to not try as hard because it matters less than it did before the pandemic. Colleges’ main focus is now on your GPA, course load and extracurriculars. colleges turning test-optional has positives. Test scores can still be used if they can give you a possible leg-up against other applicants. “I found myself trying even harder now that colleges are more lenient since it really helps to set you apart,” junior Dylan Safai said.

I think if you can afford to take the tests, you should since it offers colleges another way to see your skills.”

— Surya Udayshankar

In addition, taking standardized tests helps prepare students for college and can be beneficial. It teaches time management and leaves students with more knowledge and experience. “I think it’s beneficial to take them during this time,” junior Surya Udayshankar said. “I think if you can afford to take the tests, you should since it offers colleges another way to see your skills.”

Junior year is the year to take them and it’s best that students prepare for the ongoing changes properly. It will help your chances of getting into your dream college and set you up for success. “Taking the SAT sophomore year is likely ‘too early,’ senior year is ‘too late,’ and sometime in junior year is ‘just right,’” the College Board said. “Stay on top of pandemic-related shifts in both SAT test dates and test-optional policies at colleges. Much uncertainty remains.”