How Are Optional SATs Affecting College Applications?


Antoine Chanfreau, Reporter

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the inability for many high school seniors to take the SAT, many colleges across the nation have made the SAT and ACT optional parts of their applications. This is a big break from the usual application process, where the tests sit front and center as one of the most important parts of a college application. 

Many students felt dependent on a high SAT score to set them ahead of the pack, while other students felt like their scores would bring them down. Although students can still submit their scores to many schools, the optionality creates further uncertainty for students. 

Students may be thinking Does it look bad to not submit a score? Should I still try to take an SAT? Is this going to last after the pandemic? These new circumstances create lots of unexpected challenges, and many students find themselves confused with where to seek answers.

The reaction towards tests being optional for admission has been mixed amongst seniors. 

“I honestly felt my test scores didn’t represent my potential, and now with school being test-optional, I have a lot more confidence and capability to apply to schools I want to,” said senior Daniel Pine. 

Many other students identify with this feeling of no longer being limited by test scores that would’ve brought them down. However, some students were negatively affected by the coronavirus and its interference with the SAT/ACT. 

“The majority of the scholarships, like the Bill Gates Scholarship, require standardized test scores,” said senior Fatma Ali. “Those scores are very important. However, with COVID, I wasn’t able to take those tests since they were postponed or canceled. It harms my scholarship applications more than my college ones.” 

Although COVID-19 and social distancing have shut down certain opportunities, it has also created some positive ones. “As stressful as it is, distance learning has been providing us additional time to work on the college apps. There are many resources available to guide you through this process. From personal workshops to financial aid assistance to peer mentorship. Everyone is delighted to help one another to get through this together,” said Ali.