SAT & ACT: Why submission should be optional at every university

Alexandra Wiggins

Standardized testing is important, however, it shouldn’t be crucial for one’s future or even the college that the student gets into, because it creates an undocumented amount of pressure on the student, promoting mental health issues. 

Test optional is a policy where universities do not require the SAT or ACT for admissions. As of now, most of the colleges that have gone test optional are private, as public universities are trying to determine what to do. Most colleges that have gone test optional solely rely on a student’s academic history. For further information check out Noah’s article.

The SAT (consisting of reading, writing & language, mathematics, and essay-optional) and ACT (consisting of english, mathematics, science, reading, and an optional writing section)  have existed for many years. The SAT came first in 1926, created by the College Board, while the ACT was created in 1959 to compete with the SAT in later years. The SAT was originally a severely in-depth intelligence test that examined the mass immigration population that was entering the United States in the early 20th century. This test was also administered to high school students at this time, eventually leading to mandatory submission in later years. 


Advocates of this test tend to believe that it should be required because these scores allow universities to narrow down the applicants to choose which ones to admit. They feel that having a transcript and high school transcripts are not enough, emphasizing the fact that universities do not have the time to read through hundreds of thousands of transcripts and essays. People also propose that these tests help with merit aid, but there are other ways to satisfy aid, the colleges just have to accept those policies. To understand this more, check out Gracie Ross’s article

With all this being said, I still strongly believe that the tests shouldn’t be required in college admissions. First of all, the tests cost money. If universities are going to require this standardized test, it is unbelievable that it costs that much to take a test that most students definitely would rather not take. Lower the fee, or get rid of it all together. Some people in society cannot pay for the test or even tutoring to raise their score, leading to a rise in unemployment rates as well as a low rate of college acceptance and degree completion.


Sadie Zeigler, 11, also mentions, “I believe grades are a better way to evaluate students rather than a test that is cumulative over one’s entire schooling career that is administered at certain times, in certain places, in a certain way.” Every student retains knowledge differently, leading to a different result on everyone’s test. Lynley Blocker, 11, also agrees, saying that the test should be optional because one test score should not reflect your entire academic ability.  Some had more advantages than others in the early learning years, which can lead to debate as well. It is extremely hard to understand topics learned from years ago, unless a student gets a tutor or puts in the work ethic, which takes a lot of time and money. Juniors in high school and even seniors have so many other topics to focus on most importantly their grades, along with strengthening college resumes, AP exams, and even sports as well. All of these topics are overwhelming towards students, as well as personal issues, leading to detrimental mental health. 


Below is a list of a few universities for the class of 2022 who have already gone test optional: 

  • Baylor University 
  • Boston College 
  • Boston University 
  • College of William and Mary
  • Elon University
  • Emory University 
  • Indiana University (permanently) 
  • Rutgers University
  • University of Texas- Austin
  • Vanderbilt 
  • Villanova University

These are just a few out of the many colleges that have gone test-optional either through 2022, 2023, 2024 or permanently. To see more options, visit click here.