Should colleges be test optional after 2023?

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Bailey Niles

When colleges require SAT and ACT scores, it puts more pressure on the students.

Taylor Chronert, Staff Reporter

When Covid-19 hit in 2020, many colleges and universities made the decision to make standardized tests (such as the SAT and ACT) optional from 2020-2022. However, lots of schools are planning to return to requiring tests after 2023. In order to provide a more level playing ground to seniors applying to college, schools should remain test optional going forward after 2023. 

One of my reasons is because GPA is a more representative measure of academic ability and readiness for college. A study(https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/04/27/large-study-finds-colleges-go-test-optional-become-more-diverse-and-maintain) conducted at schools in Chicago in the year 2009,  proved that average GPA and odds of graduating were on the rise. However, in that study, SAT and ACT scores were lowered. Based on this study, it shows that students’ academic abilities through GPA are what gets them ready for college, and that the tests were not indicators of that preparation. Plus, GPA measures more of the wide skills and behaviors needed to succeed and graduate from college, while only a small set of those skills are present in tests.

Another reason is that the SAT and ACT cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Students have so much to focus on, from college applications to their classes and extracurriculars, even personal issues at home. Having required testing can cause unnecessary anxiety that can culminate in lower test performance on the day. When I first took the SAT as a junior,  I remember being terrified that I wouldn’t get into certain schools just because of my SAT score. Even though I studied and did SAT prep, I still didn’t do well because of all this stress and anxiety.Students shouldn’t panic and stress about the results they get, as it isn’t healthy and students already have enough on their plates.

When it comes to colleges and application requirements, I think all schools should remain test optional going forward. Having schools be optional makes students feel less stressed, anxious, and know that it’s okay if they don’t get a perfect score. Even though test scores would be optional, colleges should also use that opportunity to look at the students more personally with their grades, GPA, and extracurriculars. Colleges should remember that students are people– and they’re more than just test scores.