Colleges Bypassing SAT Scores
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 it’s been unsafe for high school students to go back to their campuses this year. High school seniors and juniors looking to take the SATs this year are unable to take the test without hassle and extreme safety precautions, which led to most colleges (including all UC’s and Cal-State schools) deciding to make the standardized test scores optional for the time being. The amount of years those colleges will waive the old admissions requirement is differential for every location and I recommend that you look into further research for the college you plan to attend. If you are not an upperclassmen, there is a possibility that the requirement may be reinstated once it is time for you to apply to the school of your choice. If you have taken your SAT or ACT however, colleges are making it optional to submit your scores. The decision is solely up to you and whether you think your score will give you an advantage in the admissions process.
To include Mayfair High School’s personal input on this situation, I decided to interview a few seniors of the class’s Top 10 and a couple of teachers. Senior Nawoda Wijesooriya planned to take his SAT in March of this year, but due to the pandemic hitting so unexpectedly the testing date was cancelled. He regrets not taking the test sooner because he had been preparing for this requirement ever since middle school and also had taken the PSAT every year possible. Although Wijesooriya does feel relieved that admissions will still accept students that haven’t taken the SAT he mentions that it has also “added on the stress of writing good personal statements since there is going to be a heavier focus in that section, not to mention grades as well.” This statement is definitely something important to consider now that standardized tests scores are optional and less of an advantage anymore.
Next we have senior Kevin Gomes, who was luckily able to take his SAT earlier this month at Los Alamitos High School. He got this testing placement by signing up on the College Board website and choosing a location he wanted to take the test at. Originally Gomes was expecting the SAT to be cancelled and refunded because of the pandemic, however, the school proceeded with safety precautions. This involved plastic walls around the desks and only a few students per classroom. He has yet to get his results back but is comforted by the fact that he has the option of submitting his score, depending on whether or not he is satisfied with the outcome. Gomes is also glad that he won’t have to spend as much money on taking the test multiple times if he isn’t satisfied with his results the first time.
The last student I got to discuss this matter with was senior Madison Nguyen. She had planned to take the SAT in June this year, but it had to be rescheduled five times in total due to concerns over COVID-19. Nguyen states that she’s “slightly relieved and disappointed since the SAT is either detrimental or beneficial to college admissions depending on how well you score,” and speaking for herself she didn’t think that she’d “score well enough for it to be noticeable and significant to colleges, so the fact that it’s been bypassed is slightly relieving.” Preparing for the SAT is also a very stressful process and since colleges are bypassing scores she can put that stress in the back of her mind to now focus on the more important aspects colleges are interested in.
I also asked forensic science teacher Tod Suttle what his opinions on colleges making SAT/ACT scores optional were and he states that although it is difficult, “Every school is not the same and some schools are just easier and less academically challenging than others, so the SAT, or something like it, is a necessary equalizer.” Suttle believes that it is still very possible for students to take the standardized test and stay safe, making sure that everyone is six feet apart and wearing masks “just like the supermarket.”
Last but not least, government teacher Anita McKay states that it is reasonable for colleges to be bypassing scores due to the limited access we have during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, McKay does have her own conflicts about the SAT itself. She is split between the belief that the way the standardized tests were designed are “very biased therefore students that are economically disadvantaged have to work harder to prep for the test” and the other belief that since “economically disadvantaged students do not have access to as many AP and honor classes... it would help them stand out on an application.”
Overall, this is Mayfair’s perspective on colleges bypassing SAT/ACT scores through the views of our very own teachers and students. Each person has their own opinions on this topic but they come together to the understanding that it makes sense for colleges to make it optional for students to submit their test scores.