To be Test Optional or not to be Test Optional


Maanasa Reddy, Assistant Editor

“Our college admissions are going to be test optional!” reads the email atop your inbox. But what does this mean for the class of 2022 and 2023?

The SAT and ACT have been a major source of stress for high schoolers throughout the decades, so one would think that this new policy would alleviate fears. However,  college applications without them also seem to also be a source of stress.

The COVID-19 pandemic made taking the SAT much more difficult because most of the tests were cancelled or moved to faraway locations. Especially for lower-income families, this made taking these tests nearly impossible. 

Lower-income families are the most affected by the coronavirus. Risking lives or driving for hours for a standardized test is something most people would not find worth the trouble. 

However, in upper-income areas like Upper St. Clair, most residents have adequate health care and support, so this worry is less present. 

Many students from USC recently took the March SAT. Along with many other teens in America, some will submit their scores; some will not. 

The St. Clairion took to the hallways to find out what rising juniors’ course of action will be next year. 

Ashvita Saxena, a current sophomore, gave her input: “I will be taking the SAT or ACT because if I do well, then it can make my resume look better. If not, I can always not send my score in.” 

Many kids would not apply to prestigious universities in previous years because their test scores were not considered “good” enough. However, universities like Cornell and Harvard have been inundated with applications to the point where they had to delay their results release date by several days. 

On the other hand, some students have simpler reasons for deciding to take the test. Shree Diora laughed, “Well, my parents want me to take it. So I guess that’s what I’ll do!”

Despite the differences in their answers, they both are going to do what is right for them and their life. Ultimately, a case-by-case basis is the best idea for Panthers graduating in 2022 and 2023.
Don’t want to pay for a $50 test that is currently optional? Then maybe you will not take the SAT. Want the insurance of having an SAT in your application to ease your anxiety? Perhaps taking the SAT and doing the greatest that you can is the option for you. In the end, this test, while important, does not define you. Getting a 1600 does not mean you will get into your dream school, and getting an 1100 does not mean you will not get in either. No matter your score, your wellness is the most important.

 So Panthers, to take the SAT, or to not take the SAT?