SHS should hold an SAT testing date for juniors

March 11, 2021 — by Harshini Velchamy
Screen Shot 2021-03-11 at 4

Screenshot of the SAT registration site, showing no available testing centers in June within a 75-mile radius of Saratoga.

In its 100-year history, the SAT had never been canceled. Until 2020.

The majority of American colleges have required either an SAT or ACT test score as part of the application requirements in previous years, so in terms of college admissions, the cancellation of the test was a game-changer, and not just for this year’s seniors. 

This cancellation raises the question: What’s next? For most juniors and sophomores currently in high school, many details regarding college admissions remain unknown.  

Currently, most colleges implemented a test-blind or test-optional policy for the Class of 2021’s admission cycle. However, it is uncertain whether these modifications will remain for the Class of 2022, so it’s understandable that a lot of juniors want to take the test just in case some colleges decide not to go test-optional or test-blind for the class of 2022 or to give themselves a leg up in a test-optional environment.

While holding the SAT could arguably be a logistical nightmare for the high school considering they’re also preparing to reopen, the SAT is also an important issue for one quarter of the school. 

All the testing centers within a 150-mile radius are completely booked until June with no other testing dates announced yet. Juniors will have a lot less flexibility if they have to take the SAT in the fall of their senior year, losing the opportunity to retake the test if they do not get the score they want the first time. 

With students traveling to Oregon or Nevada simply to take the exam, SHS should prioritize holding an SAT on campus over reopening the school. Especially considering that SHS has already held the SAT before earlier this year for the class of 2021, the school has already been granted the proper verification and is well versed in the process to hold the exam. There’s also a lot of interest from parents who are willing to proctor similarly to how they did for the fall SAT and PSAT tests.

  Even if colleges decide to not consider the SAT for the Class of 2022 college admissions, the SAT is still necessary for a lot of scholarships that students could be applying for and for recruitment for DI or DIII athletes. For those who are financially dependent on these scholarships, the lack of local testing areas makes it significantly more inconvenient to attain them. 

Numerous college counselors and websites also still recommend sending SAT scores to test-optional colleges in order to provide a “more complete picture of [your] academic abilities” and state that it’s more likely for someone with a good SAT score to get into a college than someone who didn’t send one in, regardless of what colleges may say about their new policy.

Many students have expressed interest in taking the SAT, and rightfully so considering that the SAT is still a critical way for students to distinguish themselves. Some have even traveled as far as Oregon to take the test just because they could not find anywhere to take it locally.

Juniors shouldn’t be forced to go to another state just to be able to take a test to increase their chances of going to a college that they’ve dreamed of for their entire lives, especially considering that we are in the middle of a pandemic. It seems unnecessary for students who have to drive for over 10 hours just to go take a 3-hour test and then drive back home. 

The holding of this standardized test seems far more urgent than reopening and should definitely be considered by the administration. In an already confusing and stressful year, it would be a lot more helpful if the school provided juniors an easier way to take these tests.

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