Travelling for the SAT

By: Inso Park 

The scholastic assessment test (SAT) is a standardized test that is commonly used for college admissions across the United States. The purpose of the test is to measure how ready high school students are for college. Due to the fact that not all high schools offer the same courses and some students are given more opportunities to pursue higher level courses, the SAT negates the different levels of education and provides a fair point of comparison among all applicants. The SAT I is scored out of 1600 and focuses on measuring students’ writing, critical reading, and mathematical levels. Similarly, the SAT II (subject tests), are scored out of 800 and focus on testing one specific subject. SAT subject tests measure the knowledge that a student has regarding a specific subject. There are 20 subjects that students can choose from and they range from advanced levels of science all the way to testing for language fluency.

Ever since the national shutdown on March 13, SAT test dates and test centers have shut down across the nation. Students in high risk states are scrambling to take the standardized tests and are finding that their only option is to travel to another state to take it. In August, around 402,000  high school students were signed up to take the SAT at a location that was either closed or at a limited capacity. This cancellation was troubling news for a lot of students because, depending on the school they are applying to, the latest date that seniors could take the SAT was in either November or December. With the coronavirus showing no signs of stopping, it seems as if a handful of seniors will never be given the opportunity to take the SAT. 

In order for students to find if their testing site has been shut down, students should visit the official College Board site. Many students have opted to take the test on a different date in further locations, while others have simply decided to not take the SAT as a whole. 

In light of recent events, college admissions have adjusted their requirements and application prerequisites. Although most colleges did require an SAT score to apply in the past, many have announced that they are either test optional or even test blind. Important information that the class of 2021 should remember before applying to colleges is checking whether they are test optional or test blind. Test optional indicates that the school will take into consideration the test score; however, it will not affect the student in a negative way if they choose not to take it. Test blind means that the standardized test scores will not be taken into account at all in the admissions process for that school. The UCs recently announced that they would be test blind for the class of 2021 and many prestigious schools such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and Yale, have announced that they will be test optional. 

Although many seniors have opted for the option to not take the SAT and submit their applications as test optional, the majority of students are still frantically trying to find and sign up for test dates that haven’t been cancelled and centers that haven’t been shut down to take the SAT. The final decision is left up to the student who is now tasked of deciding if the SAT is worth traveling the distance for.

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