Editorial: More Colleges Should be SAT/ACT Test Optional

Ashlyn Weidman, Reporter

A big part of getting accepted into a college is determined by a student’s SAT and ACT scores. Many schools like Harvard, St. Francis, and Boston University require you to take the SAT, and many other big schools like Penn State highly recommend one of these tests to be submitted. However, these standardized tests have many flaws and pose many disadvantages to students.

To make the college admission process more fair, more colleges should be SAT/ACT test optional.

The problem with this is that the SAT is “One of the most pressure-packed tests a young adult can take that brings back memories of stress and anxiety for many students,” according to The Stanford Daily.  With students under this kind of pressure, they can not fully focus on the test while taking it. Therefore, they could receive an inaccurate grade that does not reflect their academic ability.

According to Fair Test there are “More Than 1000 Accredited Colleges and Universities That Do Not Use ACT/SAT Scores to Admit Substantial Numbers of Students Into Bachelor-Degree Programs”. At test optional schools, instead of judging whether a student gets admitted from their SAT/ ACT scores, college admission officers focus more on their GPA. Because a students GPA shows how they did academically over a 4 year time span, it is more fair representation compared to a single test that the student was most likely under intense stress for.

In 2013,  a test was done by Annie Murphy Paul which showed that being a “bad test taker” directly correlates to anxiety. “The problem is this anxiety can affect a student’s working memory capacity and much of their brain power goes towards the anxiety rather than the answers needed for the test,” stated Dr Andrew Read a professor at PSU.

In addition, many smart students with strong GPAs but a lack of opportunities are getting rejected from colleges due to low standardized test scores. As a result, schools diversity rates are lowered since they are losing a whole application pool of students.

In 2009, Wake Forest went test optional and they concluded that, “The SAT measured family income, not ability,” according to the New York Times. This brings up another aspect to why colleges should make SATs & ACTs optional because some students can’t afford to keep retaking the test over and over again. Also, many students can not afford prep classes or private tutors to ensure they receive tips on how to take the tests successfully.

When Wake Forest required students to submit an SAT score their freshman class consisted of only 12% minority students, but after switching to not requiring the SAT that number went up 4%.

Colleges need to become SAT/ACT test optional if they want to stop missing out on a whole application pool of students. A way to accomplish this is to sign a petition that is in favor of making students not have to take the SAT/ACT to get into college.