The final tests

Because of COVID-19 many SAT and ACT tests have been cancelled. This is especially concerning for seniors who still need to take the tests to apply to colleges.

The+final+tests

Jayla Cromwell, Staff member

While COVID-19 has affected high school students in all different ways such as virtual classes and less social events, this year’s senior class has hit another rough patch. Due to schools closing down in March and now limited testing dates and seats, seniors are now struggling to get in for standardized tests to complete their college applications.

Senior Alicia Kingsberry has experienced the obstacles that COVID-19 have brought on with standardized testing.

“It has been very frustrating because once I would apply for one test the next thing I knew it was cancelled,” Kingsberry said.

The SAT and ACT are two of the most rigorous tests that students will take in their high school career. Some students don’t see why colleges like using these tests so much, but counselor Connie Sivertson explains one major reasoning behind colleges wanting SAT/ACT scores.

“They’re [standardized testing] sort of immune to things like grade inflation or variations between schools. So, in one school an A might be really easy to get in a precalculus class because they’re not really covering the curriculum to a T that’s going to be needed at the college level, and it looks like a better grade than a school that’s got a more rigorous course and not as many A’s produced, but those students are much more prepared with an B or C than the A school,” Sivertson said.

Colleges tend to use tests like the SAT and ACT to get a better sense of a student’s academics with less variability. Because all schools use different grading scales and follow curriculums differently colleges can’t really truly distinguish what students would best achieve in their programs due to just how different each school operates.

One good thing that many can agree has come out of less testing opportunities is that many colleges have switched to test optional opportunities for students.

“Since a lot of colleges are now doing test optional it’s great because you don’t need to take the test to be admitted,” Kingsberry said.

Test optional is an option in college applications that allows applicants to choose whether or not to include their test scores in their applications. This has been implicated in a great percentage of colleges, even colleges who are notorious for being inflexible with requiring test scores for admission. Some colleges are even going to carry on the test optional option for class of 2022 as well.

With this option this year, even seniors who have taken a standardized test are using the test optional option on their college applications.

Although I think test optional is good, I have chosen to include my test scores to show my good testing abilities,” Inaya Alred said.

Standardized test scores have always been an important factor in putting together your college application. Now with test optional students can focus on other factors of their application and not focus on their test scores.

“[Standardized] tests can just completely wig people out and they can unfairly at times really eliminate remarkably strong students from consideration just because they’re not great test takers,” Sivertson said.

For some seniors though they still are having to turn over their scores to some colleges. Senior Inaya Alred expresses struggles with having to turn over her test scores.

“Majority of the schools I’m applying for require the test,” Alred said.

Although many schools have gone to test optional, there are still some colleges that are requiring tests even through the trials and difficulties of testing during the pandemic. With some colleges still wanting test scores applied in students’ applications, seniors have had to do what students from previous years do, keep taking the test to improve their score for college.

“I was stressed [when schools closed] because I had to put off my SAT when COVID first hit and it made things more difficult,” Alred said.

Many testing dates got cancelled in the period that many senior students would have been taking their standardized tests, between the second semester of their junior year and the first quarter of their senior year. If testing is still needed, there are still testing dates that are available.

“Testing is happening. If you’re not worried about November 1st deadlines, you definitely can have some testing opportunities. ” Sivertson said.

For seniors, college applications aren’t necessarily due on one specific date at most colleges. But a lot of colleges have recommended dates for applications to get in. They could recommend these dates for various reasons but a number one reason is for scholarships.

“If there was ever a year, this is the year that I would literally just take a breath. I would make sure I can control everything in my power… I do have control over how my personal grades look, am I taking rigorous courses, am I showing resiliency in this world that’s kind of crazy demonstrating my ability to manage myself, am I taking care of my mental health,” Sivertson said.

With students now just having to submit things this year that they feel truly reflect how they are as a student such as grades, gpa’s, and personal essays. Seniors aren’t having to stress about taking multiple tests to get the score they want and need for their college choices with test optional. Students can in a sense relax this year.

In total I ended up applying for 4 testing dates and the last one I applied to seems like it’s going steady and I’ll be able to take it,” Kingsberry said.