SAT and ACT: Lets talk about them

by Olivia Berard, Copy Editor

Junior year. Dubbed the toughest year of one’s high school career. Jam packed with hardcore courses, extracurricular activities, and the infamous chore of SATs/ACTs. Since scores are not being sought by most institutions, what is the point in stressing about them in the first place? Are they a necessary burden when applying to colleges? Let’s talk about it. 

The testing establishes a universal standard of education. This, however, creates a greater divide between students from low-income and high-income areas. The test doesn’t measure intelligence; it measures wealth. Tutors are outrageously expensive and range from $40-$200 per hour. Per reports from 2015-2016, the best predictor of a student’s score is based on socioeconomic status, not their education. 

Good test takers do exist, but test anxiety is a problem students face. According to the American Test Anxieties Association, approximately 16 to 20 percent of students have high test anxiety, along with 18 percent having moderately high anxiety. The fear of not obtaining an optimal score is the biggest trigger. The average score of a college continues to increase because students refuse to submit below the average, in fear of being rejected. Yes, with the SAT and ACT, you are able to retake it, but the idea of missing the desired mark is unnerving for some regardless of the number of attempts. Not reaching a certain mark, some think, can make or break your application.   

Testing circumstances include a single test everyone endures with equal time, identical tests and similar environments. But, students who have disabilities are at a severe disadvantage. Although there are accommodations for students with disabilities, the test is ultimately designed for whom the creators deem as “typical” learning students. 

In terms of colleges, about 1,835 four-year colleges relieved students of submitting test scores in the 2023 admissions season. Of these schools, 85 are test-blind, meaning scores won’t be taken into consideration when reviewing your application. Approximately 1,450 institutions will remain either test-optional or test-blind permanently. 

In 2021, a study showed that the elimination of standardized testing scores led to a positive change as students of diverse backgrounds are seen wandering the campus of prestigious schools, such as University of Pennsylvania. 

Ultimately, the institutions continuing to request testing scores is winding down, which is what should be done. Students shouldn’t be defined by a single test score and shouldn’t be seen as a number. Your ability to function in the real world shouldn’t be determined by a score. Colleges who still require test submissions need to understand that some students don’t have access to resources to do well on SATs/ACTs.

 Schools should remain test-optional for students who do well on the tests because being a good test taker is a strength they can show colleges, but students shouldn’t be subjected to sharing scores if they don’t wish to.