Why Colleges Should Go Test- Optional

Many colleges are going test optional for the pandemic. But some colleges are now going test optional permanently, such as these colleges. All colleges should go test optional forever because they shouldn’t be unfairly judged for having a low SAT or ACT score when they may be other parts of their application to make up for it. They also have a heavy burden placed on them which may be a result of the workload they already have. Plus income inequality burdening students’ test scores.

There’s no need to totally get rid of the SAT or ACT. Colleges and universities should accept the simple fact that some people are good test takers and some people are not. If a student has a low GPA or isn’t particularly outstanding when it comes to extracurriculars, the SAT can really boost their application. But on the other hand, if they have a high GPA and are editor in chief of the highschool paper or captain of the high school football team but doesn’t have a good score, it can really negatively affect them. They should have the option of not revealing their scores without it affecting their overall application. 

Students are already putting time and energy into getting good grades as well as doing well in extracurriculars. Students shouldn’t have to worry about how much their SAT and ACT scores are going to affect them going forward and applying for colleges. According to an NPR poll conducted with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health said that 40% of parents of high school students say they experience a lot of stress from school. Homework is the leading cause of this stress and 45% of high schoolers themselves say they experience stress from pressures brought on by school.

SAT scores also correlate with family income. Ezekiel J. Dixon-Roman (from University of Pennsylvania) and John J. Mcardle (from University of Southern California) did a paper called Race, Poverty, and SAT Scores. They found that higher income students get higher SAT scores than their lower income counterparts. The difference in SAT scores was found to be double that in black students compared to white students. Other institutions that have written similar studies have come up with similar conclusions such as the Washington Post, Inside Higher Ed and Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. So because of income disparities lower income students don’t perform as well on the SAT. An easy way to combat this is for colleges to go test optional. 

We should go test optional for the good of the students. A better way to know the types of students applying is to perhaps conduct interviews with students and have one on one opportunity to get to know the students better. This could also give students practice for future job interviews. This would be a way better alternative rather than judging students from a test score.