As many classrooms have gone virtual this year, students have been dealing with changes to the traditional classroom set up and now, standardized testing as well.
The SAT and ACT have been two of the most important tests for students looking to go to college, but with the pandemic, many universities are making these tests optional and some standardized testing groups will also be making changes for students as well.
The College Board announced that they will no longer offer the SAT Subject Tests or optional SAT Essay, writing in a statement:
"As students and colleges adapt to new realities and changes to the college admissions process, College Board is making sure our programs adapt with them. We’re making some changes to reduce demands on students."
Erin Ogren, owner of Central Coast College Consultants, says she feels this is a step in the direction of standardized test scores becoming less important in the college admissions process.
"What is paramount these days is GPA and the rigor of (student) coursework. That is what they should be focusing on and it has taken a lot of the pressure off of students," she says.
Morro Bay High School senior Rosalie Rauenzahn believes that the change in testing requirements for the schools she applied to has given her more time to spend getting involved with her community and with her family before she leaves for college.
"It was really nice because I could spend more time on those college applications and really feel like they are a reflection of who I am and not necessarily just numbers on a paper," she said.
San Luis Obispo High School College and Career Specialist Colleen Martin says the admissions landscape has been changing.
"I think more and more of the universities during the pandemic have moved toward a greater amount of holistic review... a holistic review of a student's application, their achievements, the courses they took, the grades they got, and the other things they do," Martin says.
Colleges and universities have taken different approaches on standardized tests. Some have adopted a "Test-Optional" format.
Independent Educational and Admissions Consultant Nagla Orlando says that while some colleges and universities have adopted a Test-Optional format for now, it is important to do your research and understand what "Test-Optional" means for each individual institution.
"Many schools have made decisions for the class of 2021 but have not committed for the classes of 2022, 2023 and 2024," she says.
According to College Board, "Students who are currently registered, or plan to register for an upcoming SAT with essay will still be able to test through the June 2021 administration. Students who prefer to cancel the optional Essay portion of their SAT can do so in their online account, with no change fees, until the registration deadline."
Their website also mentions that students in the U.S. who registered for the May and/or June 2021 Subject Tests will automatically have their registrations canceled and fees refunded.
For more information about SAT changes, visit the College Board website here.