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Standardized Testing Q&A

November 9th, 2021

Covid-19 and community disruption have brought tectonic change to the world of college admission, not least where testing requirements are concerned. We’ve been heartened to see more colleges adopt test-optional admission policies, yet as school life resumes something closer to a natural rhythm and registration for the SAT and ACT becomes less problematic, many wonder whether test-optional admission policies are here to stay. If you have questions surrounding this issue, today’s blog post is for you!

Will colleges return to requiring standardized testing in the 2022-2023 application cycle? Hmmm … some state university systems required tests this year; Florida and Georgia are two examples. On the other hand, the University of California system went in the opposite direction and will not consider scores even if submitted. Many colleges are in the midst of “pilot” test-optional policy periods that extend through this year and have yet to announce whether they’ll extend the policy further. That’s a long-winded way to say that in many cases, we’ll have to wait and see.

Should I plan to take the SAT or ACT? If you’re certain that you’ll only apply to test-optional colleges, then there’s no need to prepare or sit for the SAT or ACT. However, if there’s any wiggle room in your college list composition (and for most there is), then it will likely prove wise to prepare and register for the SAT or ACT.

How are test-optional colleges handling merit scholarships? Most colleges offering a test-optional path to admission take the same approach with merit scholarship awarding … but not all. Students should review websites carefully for this information when looking at colleges of interest.

How many times should I plan to take the SAT or ACT? Plan on three test dates, with the first falling winter/spring and the second at the end of junior year. The third can take place over the summer or early fall of senior year.

Where can I find a list of colleges with test-optional admission policies? Visit FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, for a searchable database of colleges.

The standardized testing dilemma has long been a problem but the pandemic combined with societal upheaval to bring it to the forefront of the college admission world’s consciousness. The article linked below from The Smithsonian informs us of the history in admissions testing and what the future might look like as schools begin to rebalance their approach to admissions.

Article referenced below from The Smithsonian, published July 15, 2021 written by Amber Dance

Has the Pandemic Put an End to the SAT and ACT?

Clara Chaplin had studied. She was ready. A junior at Bethlehem Central High School in Delmar, New York, she was scheduled to take the SAT on March 14, 2020. Then the pandemic hit, and the test was canceled.

The April SAT was canceled too. All through the spring and summer and into the fall, every test date she signed up for was either full or canceled. As she submitted her college applications on November 1, she still didn’t know how she’d score on the SAT she finally would manage to take on November 7.

Read more at Smithsonian>>