Phasing out the SAT

By Abi Baker, Contributor

Before I even started high school, my parents talked about the importance of getting a high SAT score, and more importantly, what score could get me into the best colleges. Now, as a rising junior, it is very clear how toxic and defeating the college process really is. 


I am not a good test taker, yet I have been taking prep classes since the beginning of my freshman year. I perform best during debates, socratic seminars, and through my writing. My best subjects are History and English, and if it were up to me, I would have stopped taking math and science in sixth grade. To balance out my average test scores, I have to exceed expectations in every other department. I play sports, volunteer, start clubs, have a job, and write and edit for several publications. Yet I truly think when it comes down to applying to colleges, it will still not be enough. Even if I am passionate about everything I do outside of school and am doing more than my peers, I feel as if I am still measured by the number I achieve on a test. 


Until the disruption of COVID-19, I always believed the system would stay the same. Now, more colleges are becoming test-optional and looking at the student as a whole and what differences they can bring to campus. When schools first closed in March, it gave students so much more free time and allowed them to be more creative. I’ve seen people start “Instagram shops” and sell clothes, bracelets, masks, and baked goods, with many of them donating proceeds to help the COVID relief. It’s things like these that aren’t encouraged by our society because of how little time we had before the virus. A student’s success shouldn’t be determined by multiple choice questions, but instead by their well-roundedness as a person.  


I do understand that there are many students who appreciate the chance to take a test because that is where they shine academically. However, it shouldn’t be one system over the other. Schools such as the University of Chicago, Smith, and Juilliard are test-optional and have graduated Nobel Prize winners, politicians, and musical geniuses. 


Creating a test-optional society will encourage more students to be creative and unique in their own ways rather than defining success by one score on paper.