Colleges should move away from standardized testing altogether 

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Maya Waid

To prepare for their standarized tests, most students utilize resources such as study book, practice tests and online materials.

Maya Waid, Editor-in-Chief

After the wave of COVID-19 the last year, it is becoming more common to see colleges and universities moving away from requiring standardized test scores. In the past, schools have required applicants to submit their Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT) scores to the college as a part of the admissions process. Due to COVID-19 related cancellations, the majority of schools have eliminated the requirement for the foreseeable future since many students did not have access to take the test. Moving forward, eliminating the requirement altogether is the right move for schools in order to focus their efforts on judging applicants based on their resume, not their ability to take a test. 

To put this into perspective, the US alone is home to 2,330 four-year institutions. For the fall of 2022 applicants, approximately 55% of these universities will not require test scores for students (according to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing). Some universities have gone as far to say that they will remain test optional until at least 2024 which makes people wonder if they might never go back to requiring these standardized tests.

The real question when it comes to evaluating the policy is, does this make the college application process easier on the students? In a sense, yes. This policy allows students who may not be the strongest test takers to showcase their other academic abilities and the rest of their resume without a test score being an outlier on their application. On the opposite side, test optional means that some students will submit their scores. As a senior battling with this myself, trying to figure out if your score is “good enough” for certain schools may be a harder decision than being required to submit it. Seniors across the country are doubting themselves and comparing their scores to see if the benefits of submitting their standardized test scores outweigh the possible cons of an admissions officer thinking less of their application because of it. 

According to colleges not requiring test scores, if you choose to not submit, it doesn’t make you any less of a student or qualified application. The only difference between a student who chooses to send it and one that does not would be if the remaining parts of both of their applications are similar, how does an admission officer compare a student who sent their scores with confidence against one who did not provide them? The hard truth is, that I have seen, is the majority of the time they will admit the student who was content enough with their score over the student who did not. This does not seem fair since some students may have not submitted scores due to COVID-19.  

As students look at schools to apply to, one confusing concept is the difference between test optional and test blind schools. Test optional schools are as simple as they sound, they leave the decision up to the student on whether or not to provide their scores. In contrast, test blind schools will not consider the scores at all, regardless of if you scored a perfect 1600 or a mere 800. Any student applying to a test blind school should be aware of this and understand that admissions officers are deciding solely on the students resume, academic rigour, extracurriculars and recommendations. 

Some people who scored high would argue that scores should be required. Anyone with a great score would want the edge, rightfully so if they score high enough to be proud of themselves. They may argue that this is the only way to fairly compare students since academic courses, GPA, and extracurricular opportunities vary greatly between schools. However, in my opinion schools should remain test blind from here on out. If quarantine taught us anything, it’s that the students who want to succeed will. They will go and make opportunities for themselves, create change and promote the well-being of others. That is what makes a good college applicant. A student who is strong in their academic prowess, participation n their extracurricular activities and relationships around them should solely be judged on this criteria, not their ability to sit for a lengthy test in a high school gym on a Saturday morning. 

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