Although a number of colleges have done away with the mandatory requirements of SAT or ACT scores for admission to their undergraduate programs due to the difficulties of taking the tests in the current pandemic situation, students have not stopped signing up for the test, which they believe is the key to secure admission.
While many universities have made the test scores optional permanently, some universities including Harvard, Yale and Princeton have suspended it only for the current year. Others, like the Tufts University, the College of William & Mary etc. have paused it for three years. Although it is unclear whether the pandemic will lead to the test scores becoming redundant for admissions, the announcement of being test-optional has done little to dissuade students from not taking the tests.
In spite of test score being optional, many students are still signing up for the exams, even as it is being cancelled due to the pandemic. The efforts students are taking even in the unfavourable pandemic situation is enough to show the allure of the tests. Indeed, even before the pandemic, the SAT and ACT were made optional in more than 1000 schools, but this did not stop students from taking the exams, as can be ascertained from the number of students signing up for the test increasing every year. For instance, 1.8 million students of the 2019 batch took the ACT exam, while the number of students of the 2020 high school batch who took the SAT is close to 2.2 million.
While many universities have opted for a test optional policy, the importance of these exams have not diminished for the students, who believe that the scores still play a role in their admissions. Questions have thus been raised saying that if scores were unnecessary, then why didn’t the universities adopt a test-blind policy instead of being test-optional?
While studies differ in their claims among test scores or grades being better parameters of evaluating a student, some studies show that evaluating both of these together provide a much better option. Thus a student with a lower GPA but a high test score may get an advantage in admission, although it cannot be guaranteed.
The SAT and ACT are facing huge difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the repeated mass-cancellation of exams, but as long as the universities adopt a test-optional policy instead of a test-blind one, students will be taking the test and submitting their scores in order to have a competitive edge over their peers. Keep checking Leverage Edu for more information around application process, eligibility, news updates and more about universities abroad.