Select Colleges No Longer Require the SAT and ACT

Many colleges are not requiring the SAT or ACT, instead giving other test-optional opportunities


Taylor Lee

Students may not need to take the SAT or ACT to apply to college.

Many well-known colleges such as George Washington University and Pitzer College are placing less emphasis on Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT) scores in their application.

These schools have made submission scores for SAT/ACT “test optional,” which means that students are not obligated to take the test or report their scores.

“I like having multiple options. It takes some of the pressure off,” senior Donovan Dickens said.

By having less pressure on these standardized tests, students can get into the university based on different criteria such as a certain GPA or taking an Advanced Placement (AP) exam. New York University falls under this category where the SAT/ACT can be replaced with three SAT subject test scores, three AP exam scores or an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma.

A university with a test-optional policy may have a positive effect on minority students. A study by the assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management at the University of Washington using 995,774 individual applicant records found that “the adoption of a well-executed test-optional admission policy can lead to an increase in overall applications as well as an increase in the representation of [racial and ethnic groups that have traditionally been underrepresented in college population].” Many think the policy will help colleges have a more diverse set of students.

“I think [colleges are dropping the SAT/ACT requirement to] maybe get a better pool of applicants. Test scores only show so much about a student,” college and career specialist Carsen Murt said.

While some students may prefer the SAT/ACT because there can be a second chance for them to earn a higher score, others see it as an issue. To many students, the SAT/ACT is very stressful. Students believe that this one test will dictate their career path, which can be frightening. There are many reasons why an intelligent student can get a bad score, possibly due to anxiety or personal circumstances. Some students do not have the time to take the test again, and each test costs money.

“I don’t think one standardized test score is the best representation of a student. Some are bad test takers and some can only afford to take the test so many times,” junior Merry Porto said.

Many college advisors recommend students to only take the test a couple times because taking the same test multiple times might actually negatively impact their application.

“If it’s required, [students should take the SAT/ACT] definitely at least once. I would say no more than two or three times. What I’ve looked up and research has shown that most kids don’t improve their score by that much by retaking it,” Murt said.

Although removing the SAT and ACT may be beneficial to some students and not for others, students should still aim succeed in and outside the classroom to showcase themselves as a well-rounded applicant.