The COVID-19 pandemic has put a wrench in a lot of important moments for high-schoolers, ranging from proms to spring sports to possibly graduation. For many juniors, this time of year is typically the time they are supposed to improve their resume for college applications to the best of their ability. This includes taking the SATs. The SATs are an important part for many college’s applications process, but due to the virus, it has been made impossible for the juniors to take the test at this time. As of right now, the opportunity to take the standardized test in March and April has been cancelled and the May SAT has been postponed until June 6, if the situation in June allows. So what exactly does this mean for those applying to college next year?
Many colleges that are typically not test-optional have already made the announcement that they will be test optional for those applying for the fall semester of 2021. Some colleges that have already made this announcement include Boston University, Tufts University, and Scripps College. At least 17 colleges in the U.S. have already made the decision, and more are likely to come if the current situation continues. This has both its pros and cons.
On one hand, the original SAT for LHS students was supposed to be March 25, only 12 days after online learning for LHS was announced. This means that many juniors already spent hours preparing. “I like that they’re making the SAT scores optional because of the situation we’re in and it will widen my search for colleges, but I’m also mad about it because I did hard work for months preparing and studying for the SATs for the colleges I want to apply to that require a high score,” says LHS student Ezri Williams. Additionally, some are upset about our current situation because they believe their SAT scores could have enhanced their applications: “My grades are okay and I take AP and Honors classes, but my SAT would have helped me a lot,”, says Charlie London.
On the other hand, some are relieved that they will be able to apply to more colleges without an SAT score. “I think it takes a lot of pressure off students who aren’t the best test takers,” says Hailey Gagnon. “Standardized tests don’t fully measure a student’s abilities, especially since it is only Math and English,” Emma Deslisle agrees. Furthermore, Kat Langan adds that even if juniors do get the chance to take the SATs, they won’t have as many opportunities as other classes to retake it: “It’s nice to give us the choice because some may only be able to take it once or not at all.”
Regardless, it’s important to remember that if the current situation starts to simmer down and go away, juniors will be able to take the SAT in June and again in October of senior year. In this case, there is nothing to worry about! These colleges are going test optional, not test free. This means that those that are able to take the SATs and are happy with their scores can put them on their applications, but those who cannot take them or are unhappy with their score do not have to submit them. Some colleges had already implemented this policy before the outbreak and all of those colleges say one thing: your SAT in this situation can only help you, not hurt you.
In the event that this situation does not simmer down and go away by June, most colleges will most likely have to exclude the SAT from their applications process for those who are currently juniors. However, in this situation, much more would have to change as well, in order to adapt to the situation. No one can tell the future, and therefore, no one really knows what's going to happen. For now, all the juniors can do is keep studying hard, keep their morale up, and stay healthy.