Colleges Reforming the System

The Rise in Test-Optional Applications is Expanding Opportunities for All Types of Learners

Payton Wozny, Editor-In-Chief

   As the college application process grows increasingly more important and stressful for juniors and seniors, many students are stressing over SAT or ACT scores. In the United States, standardized testing plays a major role in determining students’ capabilities and an even bigger role in determining their acceptance to colleges and universities. But in our developing world, some are trying to stray away from the concept of standardized testing in an attempt to gain a better understanding of students and their abilities.

   Several studies have shown that placing such high stakes on these big exams can increase testing anxiety which can ultimately decrease test scores. Additionally, there are far more skills that makeup people that the SAT and ACT don’t assess. So, more and more schools are creating innovative application processes that weigh other aspects over exams or allow an alternative route to void test scores. Here are just a few schools that are reforming the system of education. 

Truly Optional

   Some schools allow students to void their scores from the SAT/ACT, often by placing a stronger emphasis on course rigor and high school performance. Among these test-optional schools are Ithaca College, Hofstra University, University of South Dakota, Smith College, the University of Evansville, the University of Arizona, Wesleyan University, Wake Forest University, and George Washington University. 

Score Replacements

   Other schools allow students to replace the test score portion of their application with an essay like St. John’s University, Chicago University, and the University of Puget. Loyola University Maryland allows for either an essay or a recommendation letter to opt-out of submitting test scores. 

Colorado College

   Colorado College is a school to take note of. Not only do they not require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores, but they also follow an untraditional schedule, in which they have block scheduling instead of a semester schedule. This means that rather than following semesters with multiple classes, students take only one class for about three weeks, allowing students to stay focused on each course. 

Virginia Schools

   Many Oakton student’s like to stay closer to home and tend to stay in-state. James Madison University does not require students to submit standardized test scores, as they weigh more of the admissions from class rigor. George Mason University allows some students to apply for their score optional application if they have taken rigorous classes. 

   All of these are just to name a few, as there many schools that no longer require standardized testing. Additionally, each of these schools differs in their own special way, so if one caught your eye, you should take a closer look at its application process. If you are someone who feels that your test scores do not represent you and your abilities, take a look at all the application processes schools have to offer. There is a school for everyone! 


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