School’s announce test-optional application for 2021 seniors

Sophia Sgourakis, Section Editor

It is a rite of passage for every junior to suffer through the ACT, whether it be just once or multiple times. This year is the exception because many schools began remote instructing and learning, so students were not able to take the standardized test. In order to comply with these circumstances, many universities have announced they will be test optional or waiving test requirements completely for 2021 applicants.
For many, this is a blessing. A lot of students don’t score well on their ACT, but their GPA and class rank will tell a different story. Now, students that find themselves in this situation will still be considered for admission and merit scholarships. Schools will still be attracting top students without looking strictly at a test score that ultimately only measures test taking skills.
In these unprecedented times, many high school students didn’t have an opportunity to take a test. Tests cost around $60 and for many families during the pandemic, that was not an expense that could be afforded. A lot of testing locations have been canceled and did not plan on opening for an ACT test to take place. And obviously, some students didn’t feel comfortable taking a test around several other kids in an unsocially distanced manner. In a statement released by Cornell University officials stated, “We don’t plan to require any students to justify their reasons for not submitting test results.”
Ivy Leagues were some of the first universities in April to go test optional including Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, and University of Pennsylvania. In May, leaders of the University of California system voted to phase out test scores for the next four years. Some other schools (out of many) that have followed this decision are University of Oregon, Michigan State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Gonzaga University, and Boston College.
In the past, the ACT and SAT tests have been criticized for favoring wealthier students as their families are able to afford expensive prep exams, classes, and coaches. With this small step of schools going test-optional, it could be possible that these standardized tests will be eliminated in years to come.
As a senior, I know my classmates and myself are appreciative of this decision made by universities. It definitely makes the application process a lot less stressful, that’s for sure.