May 8, 2020
By Sumaia Safi
Junior year. They say it is the most stressful year of high school. The year that counts the most. The year that decides the rest of our lives.
Nationwide, the one experience most juniors have in common is sitting for the SAT or ACT. Not every junior has a prom or an exciting school field trip to look forward to, but almost every eleventh grader intending to pursue a bachelor’s degree takes a college admissions test.
Some take test prep classes, some study a little bit and others just show up on the day of the exam. No matter a student’s level of preparedness or opinion about standardized testing, it is a rite of passage most begrudgingly undergo.
I was supposed to take the SAT for the first time on March 14. I was scared, excited and nervous. I utilized resources from Khan Academy, The College Panda’s SAT Math: Advanced Guide and Workbook for the New SAT and a couple of other SAT practice books that my friend had given me. I tried to study every night, but that did not always go as planned. I was panicking because I did not feel ready enough, but I was looking forward to the opportunities the test could lead to if I did well. The SATs raise the possibility of getting an amazing scholarship and gaining admission into a selective college, so I was trying to maintain a positive attitude about the test.
The uncertainty about whether or not I would be able to take the SAT in light of the COVID-19 pandemic was one thing I never expected.
On March 13, just one day before I was scheduled to take the SAT, I received notice that it had been canceled. This news left me feeling lost and disappointed. I was all set to get the test over with, but now I’ll have to wait until at least August to take the SAT. This is when the College Board expects to resume offering the test, which will continue to be administered one weekend per month for the remainder of the year.
The good news is that about 70 public and private colleges and universities around the nation are waiving the SAT and ACT requirements for applicants from the Class of 2021. The list includes, but is not limited to, Boston University in Massachusetts, Marymount Manhattan College in New York City and Rutgers University-Newark in N.J. While it’s surreal to think about applying to college without an SAT or ACT score, that may become a reality.
As the pandemic rages on, the likelihood of being able to take a standardized test prior to college application deadlines becomes lower and lower. The elimination of SAT and ACT requirements for the Class of 2021 makes perfect sense given this unprecedented situation, and although I may not need SAT scores anymore, I will probably still take the test just to see how I do. After all the preparation I’ve done, I’m curious to see what type of score I’ll earn.