SAT requirements introduce new challenges

While students’ lives are impacted by the pandemic, colleges have been trying to account for and adapt to complications from online school and the lingering effects of COVID-19. One of these challenges includes the newfound choices around Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs) and other standardized testing. Public and private colleges have chosen to go test optional, test flexible, or test blind. Applying to colleges has become more confusing to students as they consider whether or not to take standardized tests. 

The lack of testing has increased the importance of entrance essays and student transcripts. Even though most public colleges have chosen to make SAT and ACT scores optional, some students still decided to take them. 

“I figured if I take it and get a good score, it couldn’t hurt to have it and benefit from that,” senior Kylie Voelker said. “I don’t think any of the schools I’m looking at are making it mandatory to have the SATs.” 

Other students who did not take the test felt it an unnecessary element to their application and hope colleges will continue to keep the requirements test optional. 

“The SAT doesn’t matter as much as getting involved in extracurriculars and the school community,” senior Gabe Knecht said. “Having a number attached to an application isn’t a good example of who you are. 

Some students have had less trouble deciding whether or not to take them and more complications finding a testing site. 

“There may be limited testing capacity in certain areas this fall due to public health restrictions and high demand,” the College Board


Students are encouraged to check their emails frequently due to last minute closures. Some found that even if they had a scheduled seat and provided their own transportation, their test was canceled without warning. 

“My first appointment actually did get canceled,” Voelker said. “The next available date was in August, and October wouldn’t work for me so I knew that if it got canceled again I would not be able to take it.” 

As students approach application deadlines, the window for taking standardized tests is closing. “Too many people stress about achieving a certain number,” Knecht said. “After college, the SAT’s do not matter. So why stress about them?”

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