The SAT vs the Future

The SAT remains an important piece for the future of college admissions


The SAT has been in use for almost a hundred years, yet it may be starting to show its age. Due to the increasing desire for equity, numerous colleges have made the switch to SAT optional. The long-term effect of this new approach on college admissions will remain unknown for many years to come, which leaves college applications up in the air for many students. 

SAT optional means that for many colleges, it is up to the applicant to choose whether or not to submit their SAT scores. By allowing students to refrain from sending test scores, colleges look to solve many of the systemic issues plaguing secondary education, such as unequal access to tutoring or preparatory resources for the SAT. However, the COVID-19 pandemic cast a cloud of uncertainty over the admission process. 

Now more than ever, high school students are unsure of whether or not the SAT will be necessary by the time they reach their senior year. However, despite its difficulty, the benefits of the SAT are still clear.

“The SAT…is a high-stakes test that a lot of people do worry about [and] find to be very stressful…but the SAT does test their comprehension, which is something they certainly need for college,” English teacher Susan Broad said. 

The SAT is a useful tool for students who have the opportunity to take it; however, it is out of reach for many students.

“It has been proven that students in high income, well resourced areas tend to test better than students in low income, under-resourced communities,” College and Career Center Specialist Hannah Wolff said. “[Test optional] means they’re giving students access and equity to the admissions process because not everyone has the ability to take these tests.” 

There are substantial arguments against the value of the SAT as well.

“A standardized test score should not represent the entire portfolio of a student,” senior Soames Rummler said. 

While SAT optional gives students more flexibility, the SAT is ultimately still important and the right choice for many students.

“If a student has strong test scores [the SAT] can be helpful,” Wolff said. “But it also depends on your school group and what high school you come from, because [colleges] read students within the context of their high school.”

Going test optional is a positive step for many colleges; however, every school functions differently. What works in one school may not work in another—students looking to apply in the coming years should take this into account.

Regardless of test optional policies, the SAT is still important to the future of education, and students should do the best they can on the SAT to maximize their options.