‘Test-optional’ is here to stay

Due to the current circumstances, many colleges have decided to remain test-optional for next school year’s admissions.

Study+materials+for+the+SAT%2C+including+the+Barron%27s+SAT+book%2C+which+is+widely+used+by+students+to+prepare.

Lauren Eusebio

Study materials for the SAT, including the Barron’s SAT book, which is widely used by students to prepare.

Throughout their high school years, it is not uncommon for students to be concerned about SAT and ACT testing. For as long as many can remember, standardized testing seemed routine. Therefore, it came as a surprise to many students that several colleges were becoming test-optional.

In the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, some of the most well-known universities became test-optional, including all of the Ivy League schools. This decision was mainly formed due to coronavirus restrictions. Specifically, there was limited testing availability for both the SAT and ACT.

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Many colleges have also decided to extend their test-optional policies for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. This includes all of the Ivy League schools, along with other universities such as Duke University, Northwestern University, and the University of Michigan. Again, many of these colleges made this decision based on the coronavirus pandemic.

However, other colleges decided to permanently remain test-optional. Some of these universities include the University of Oregon, Indiana University Bloomington, and the University of Washington. Many of these universities believe that becoming test-optional would allow students to focus more on academic performance and extracurricular activities, rather than standardized testing.

I think the opportunity to not submit ACT or SAT scores to colleges really helps to relieve stress from many students.”

— Elizabeth Epstein, Hills sophomore

As several universities continue to make the decision to become test-optional, many students have differing opinions on the subject. Some students believe that not requiring the SAT and ACT would relieve stress and increase their chances of getting into top-tier universities. However, other students worry that eliminating standardized testing would increase competition, or put them at a disadvantage if they didn’t submit their score.

Pascack Hills sophomore Elizabeth Epstein said, “I think the opportunity to not submit ACT or SAT scores to colleges really helps to relieve stress from many students. I feel like colleges should still give students the opportunity to submit scores, but also shouldn’t hold it against them if they don’t.”

Due to the current circumstances, many colleges have decided to remain test-optional for next school year’s admissions as well. Some colleges are even considering remaining permanently test-optional. However, it is clear that many students and colleges have different opinions on this controversial issue.