ACT And SAT Testing Made Optional

May 11, 2020

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak across the country, SAT and ACT tests were cancelled for high school students everywhere as people feared the virus and close proximity to one another in a testing environment. As the news of the cancellations rang out, junior Casey Burkham and other prospective college students lost out on opportunities to take the college admittance tests before their application process. 

The cancellations caused colleges to ease some of the student’s stress about their upcoming college applications in the near future and allow the standardized test requirements to be waived for the upcoming graduate classes. 

“I was excited [for the opportunity of test optional schools],” Burkham said. “I get nervous about testing and now my admittance can be based on the work I do in school.”

Instead of the previous standardized test score evaluation in the admissions process, the new approach will focus on a more holistic review of the application. The University of Oregon recently adopted this new policy and admissions counselors, such as Adonis Skinner the regional admissions counselor at the University of Oregon, are in cooperation with students to complete applications. 

“Ideally, it will encourage more applicants to consider The University of Oregon that normally wouldn’t due to the fact that they don’t fall within our test results range,” admissions counselor Skinner said. “I believe that it makes the process easier because it is one less step that needs to be done in order for their admissions file to be completed and reviewed. Hopefully it will increase our application totals.”

In the past, The University of Oregon always offered a holistic approach to students’ applications in addition to the review of test scores but since dropped this requirement for upcoming graduate classes. 

“I had felt confident about the test prior to all of this because I was going to prepare for the test the best I could,” Burkham said. “But now this will open up my application to my GPA instead of just my SAT and ACT test score.”

The new “optional test” policy in test requirements will not hold anything against students who do or do not submit their scores but will affect their scholarship opportunities. 

“For those applicants that want to be awarded any of our merit based scholarships, they will still be required to submit standardized test scores and meet the minimum requirements to receive the reward,” Skinner said. 

According to fairtest.org, more than 1,130 4-year colleges and universities in the United States offer test optional admittances. Amid the virus outbreak, more colleges adopted the policy, joined this list and made strides in the argument from many prospective students that test scores should no longer be a requirement.

“This doesn’t really make a difference in the way I will prepare for college,” Burkham said. “I do think in the future it should be a choice to take it because it all really depends on the type of student.”

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