Taking the SATs in a “Test Optional” World

Opting out sounds like a great idea, but should you?

Testing week: the time has come. You should probably take the test.

Testing week: the time has come. You should probably take the test.

Lila Emery, Staff Writer

The dreaded SAT/PSAT testing week is almost upon Broomfield High School. Spending hours, using every brain cell, trying to complete what seems like a never ending test does not sound desirable. So, having the option to take the P/SAT or not may seem like a saving grace for many.

When a college is marked as test-optional it means applicants can choose to either submit their score or not. It also means the applicant will not be counted down for lacking a score.

It does not mean, however, that the school is not interested in seeing the score. This is only the rare case if the school is marked as “test-blind”; this means they will not view test scores even if one was submitted.

With this being said, Marissa Zufall, a counselor at Broomfield High School, says it depends: “Some schools marked as test-optional will look, and others will not. The best way to know is to check specific college’s descriptions.”

Here’s why it is a good idea to take the SAT

Standing out: If a college is considering two applicants with the same GPA, same extracurriculars, and same amount of APs, but one has taken the SAT and scored well, it makes the school’s decision very easy. A good test score might be the deciding factor, so doing everything possible to stand out is always the right move.

Keeps options open: A college list is never set in stone. A higher score means more options. A good score can sometimes come as a surprise and ultimately reveal a broader range of opportunities.

“There are schools across the nation that are still requiring test scores, either for admissions, and more frequently for scholarship opportunities,” Zufall said.

Scholarships: Many schools offer money for those with a certain GPA or SAT score. If choosing to opt out of the test, it could hold a potential student back from thousands of dollars worth of financial assistance.

Offset low GPA: If a student does not have a strong GPA, but scores high on the SAT, colleges will recognize that and use it to offset any lost credit from a low GPA.

Test Experience: Even for those who do not plan on the college path after high school, it is still beneficial to take the SAT. Tests will always be a part of life, not only for college, but for jobs, licenses, certificates, and so forth. There are always times in life where one must take a high-stake test, so it is best to get as much practice as possible.

Graduation requirement: In order to graduate, students are required to reach a certain performance measure. In order to meet this, students must do a portfolio project in a senior literature class. However, if a student obtains a certain score on the SAT, that score could fill the requirement and the portfolio project will not carry as much weight in terms of graduation.

Tests…they never seem to end (even in adulthood).

Big picture:

While the test is time consuming and mentally draining, the dividends it pays are ultimately worth the price.

Once again, those who are not taking the college path after high school may see standardized testing as a waste of time. Although college is not a factor, the test is still good to build upon techniques, material, and endurance.

Zufall said, “Testing is part of the certification process for lots of work fields. There’s almost always a test at the end of some sort of training. So the more practice you have doing something, the better you’re going to be at doing it.”