That’s Debatable: Should Colleges Require SAT Scores Next Year?

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With the school closures and test cancellations that came with the Coronavirus outbreak, should colleges require the class of 2021 to submit standardized test scores when they apply?

YES:

Growing up in the American school system, kids learn from a young age that they have to take a standardized test like the SAT or ACT and get a good score to get into their dream college. Due to this, many students studied for years for the SAT and prepared themselves to score well. 

Recently, the COVID-19 outbreak caused all testing for the next few months to be cancelled. Many want the colleges to no longer require standardized test scores on applications for the class of 2021 because of the cancellations. The UC schools as well as many others have already announced that they will not require scores. However, this is not necessarily the best course of action. 

The SAT and ACT scores are an important part of the college admissions process that have always helped determine which students get into which schools. Many of the top schools have a minimum test score that they need all of their applicants to reach to get in, and students always strive to get the score needed to go to their dream college. It will be much more difficult for colleges to determine which kids should get in, because the SAT and ACT scores were always one of the first things to look at. 

To continue, many students put many hours and hundreds of dollars into studying for standardized tests. SAT tutors and classes are not cheap, and parents spend lots of money for their children to be taught everything they need to take the SAT. Also, many students who did not pay still spent a lot of their free time studying in other ways, either using websites like Khan Academy or their own prep book. It would be unfortunate for all that hard work to go to waste by making SAT scores unnecessary. 

Of course, if the COVID-19 outbreak continues for much longer and students truly never get the chance to take the SAT, then it would be unfair to require standardized test scores to get into college. However, many students have already taken the SAT at least once, or could still have time to take it as we get into summer and cancellations end. Many seniors usually take the SAT in the fall of their senior year as they are applying to college anyway. Assuming that we would be back in school by then, it is very reasonable for students to take the test then and be able to submit their scores when they apply to college. 

Overall, students put a lot of time, money and effort into getting a good score on standardized tests so they can get into the college of their choice. If the colleges make the scores no longer mandatory, the students that worked so hard to get a good score will have no way of showing their hard work to colleges, and will not have the same opportunities they would have had if everyone had to submit their scores.

Written by Sophie Crivier

NO:

Standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT are crucial to high school students around the nation. The infamous coronavirus canceled the March tests which left students either frustrated or relieved. Since that point, COVID-19 has accelerated around the world causing many major universities to no longer require the SAT or ACT for the class of 2021. We are in the middle of a pandemic that will be in history books when our children or grandchildren are in high school. Students should not have to worry about the stress that standardized tests bring when the economy is crashing and people are dying. 

The SAT and ACT require hours upon hours of studying in order to receive a decent score. Many students attend workshops and pay for extremely expensive tutors to assist with studying. Without those resources, the class of 2021’s scores will be hurt because they are quarantined in our homes, not able to meet with prospective help. Juniors have been working their entire school career to get into their dream college and with the roadblocks that the Coronavirus has caused, it is simply unfair to make the tests mandatory. It is understandable that the test scores help with deciding factors during college admission processes, but the students should not be punished for the effects of COVID-19. 

Prestigious universities such as TUFTS and all the UC schools are making the SAT and ACT optional for the class of 2021, so if these highly competitive schools are taking the step, there is no reason why other colleges shouldn’t follow suit. In fact, starting with the class of 2021, the University of Oregon and Oregon State University are now “test-optional” universities, along with over 1,000 colleges. For years the SAT and ACT have been scrutinized for being extremely biased towards low-income families and they do not fully reflect a student’s academic achievement. This is the perfect opportunity to put a stop to standardized tests.

The Coronavirus is not only affecting people’s physical health but society’s mental health as well. Student’s lives are completely changing. Their problems could range from the possibility of their parents being unemployed to depression from social distancing. Junior year is stressful as it is and now factor in the overwhelming concern of a global pandemic, plus homelife issues and the stress of getting into college. It would be simply cruel to further the stress by adding the insane workload and anxiety the SAT and ACT bring.

A student can be a 3-sport athlete, have an excellent GPA and numerous volunteer hours, but could not get into their dream school because of a subpar SAT or ACT score. Juniors should not have all their hard work be for nothing because of COVID-19. The class of 2021 is given multiple disadvantages for the SAT and ACT, therefore colleges should be “test-optional” for the class of 2021.

Written by Taylor Olgin

Artwork by Sophie Crivier and Natalie Dulansky