To Submit or Not Submit SAT Scores

The extension of test-optional policies poses a dilemma for seniors.


Homescreen of the SAT website. Photo taken by Max Villegas.

Max Villegas, Staff Writer

The majority of colleges and universities are extending test-optional policies for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. Yet, many seniors are still taking standardized tests despite college application requirements.

“I did take the SAT; the reason why is because it would make my “resume” stronger and make me look like a stronger candidate for college,” said Vivian Jiang, a senior.

Jiang is one of many seniors who are still making standardized tests a part of their college application. Although it is not necessarily required, Jiang sees an opportunity to showcase her personal strength, which is her test score.

“Test optional doesn’t really mean “optional” for me,” Jiang said. “I think college administrations who review two students with similar applicants, but one has a high SAT score and one went test optional, they probably will pick the students with the high SAT score.”

Seniors are deciding between submitting a test score or choosing not to, and each route has its own benefits and drawbacks. By submitting a score, a student could look stronger than another student who opts out from submitting a score, but a student who doesn’t submit could have stronger grades, essays and extracurricular activities than a student with a test score.

“I believe that they carry more weight than what some colleges say, but it isn’t the most important factor,” said Sami Fuleihan, a senior.

Fuleihan chose to take the SAT in May, because he thinks it will improve his chances of being accepted into a university.

Regardless of an applicant’s testing choices, test-optional policies can create a competitive applicant pool. Fuleihan believes colleges continued to remain test-optional, because of college’s increase in revenue.

“This increase in [the] number of students applying resulted in more fees being paid to universities, resulting in more money for the colleges,” Fuleihan said.

Colleges are motivated to make the most money possible, so removing a standardized test requirement could attract applicants with undesirable test scores.

“I also think that colleges have started to realize some students aren’t good test takers, but do well in school through their GPAs,” Jiang said.

Colleges aim to conduct a holistic admissions process, so test scores are not the only component admissions officers look for in an applicant.

Like Jiang and Fuleihan, many seniors are choosing to submit or not submit their test scores based on their personal circumstances.