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The Deal with Colleges and Standardized Tests


As the class of 2025, as well as other ambitious underclassmen, dive into their college searches for the months to come, certain questions plague them. Questions about what kind of college they want to attend, what subject they should major in, and how to even start the application process are real concerns that are prevalent in a lot of students applying for colleges. To top it off, colleges and universities have become increasingly more diverse regarding what specifically they require during their admissions process, making it difficult to pinpoint what each student needs for each individual college. 

Many colleges went test-optional during the pandemic in response to many test-taking sites being shut down or unavailable. This led to several colleges and universities across the country relieving students of the stress of taking standardized tests such as the SAT or the ACT. Because these tests used to be an important factor in a college application, the 2021-22 admissions process was extremely different from past years. Many people argued the throwaway of the standardized test requirement was beneficial for students who were bad testers, those who might not have the financial opportunities to afford test prep programs, or students who did not speak English as their first language. This allowed students to be able to choose if they wanted to submit their standardized test scores, or if they even wanted to take these standardized tests to begin with. However, as colleges have been doing more research on the importance of standardized testing in applications, many prestigious colleges have reverted to being test-required. For example, MIT and Yale have announced that in the fall of the 2025 school year, students are now required to submit their standardized test requirements. 

But why are some colleges not in favor of test-optional policies anymore? Many experts researching at top colleges have extensively studied the classes of students who were not required to submit testing scores; they found that standardized test scores can accurately predict a student’s future academic performance in college more than their overall cumulative grades. This comes from the idea that schools all over the country have different grading systems that might vary from each individual school, while standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT are more uniform and systematic. Another reason some schools are going back to standardized testing is because they claim it will give more opportunities to students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who decide not to submit their scores. Researchers stated that many students from these specific groups could have been accepted had they submitted their test scores, giving individuals with fewer resources more opportunities to succeed. Many people have tried to combat this idea and state that requiring test scores will ultimately create unequal opportunities for students: studies have shown that many students who are not happy with their scores might not apply to the college at all. On the other hand, test-optional policies have skyrocketed admission numbers, creating up to an additional 30,000 applicants because of the lack of testing requirements. Because of this, schools have had to find new systems to judge students because of the lack of information from standardized tests.

So what does this mean for students countrywide? Although many top colleges and universities have voiced their return to requiring testing scores, many colleges still offer test-optional policies. According to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, an advocacy group, more than 80% of four-year instructions will be test-optional or not even consider test scores for the 2025 admissions process. So for all of the students who prefer being able to choose whether they send in their scores or even take these tests, there will be plenty of options for colleges to choose from that adhere to this policy. Students are usually put under a lot of stress no matter what college they apply to during the admissions process; as we move into the 2025 admissions season, knowing the different testing policies and necessary parts of the application process can be key to success.

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About the Contributor
Fiona McCally
Fiona McCally, Staff Writer

Fiona McCally is a junior at Bishop Feehan and in her second year of writing for ‘Rock Report. She is involved in many other clubs such as psychology club, St. Vincent de Paul Club, and more. Fiona likes hanging out with friends, dancing, and listening to music.

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