The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


From Test-Optional to Test-Required: Universities Consider Switching Back

Gabriela Vega
Students across the nation now have to rely on their SAT and ACT scores amongst other things to be accepted into their schools of choice.

Over the last decade, an increasing number of colleges and universities have adopted test-optional admissions policies, allowing applicants to decide whether or not to submit their SAT or ACT scores as part of their applications. These policies gained a significant rise in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic, when many test dates were canceled and high schools transitioned from in-person to remote learning. By 2022, over 1,800 four-year institutions did not require the submission of standardized test scores in applications.

However, many of these institutions are now reversing their policies and switching back toward more traditional admissions requirements. Ever since the pandemic, admissions officers and academic leaders have argued that test scores provide very valuable data for correctly assessing college readiness. Many well-known universities that had briefly gone test-optional are now reinstating their testing mandates for all applicants. While standardized tests are not perfect and should be evaluated when looking into an applicant’s full record, they will always be an important objective measure of academic aptitude. Despite their flaws, standardized tests like the SAT and ACT allow all the admissions committees to fairly compare students against a bar and decide their readiness for college-level coursework.

Some of the first schools to reverse their policies were institutions like the University of Virginia, Florida State University and the University of California. Because the Massachusetts Institute of Technology never truly adopted a test-optional policy, its dean of admissions has served as a critic of the movement, arguing that without those scores, their jobs become more complicated. This has led schools like the California Institute of Technology and others to follow MIT’s lead and reinstall the enforcement of test scores.

“I think that schools should require test scores from their applicants because it allows them to get a good understanding of the amount of effort that one is willing to put in to getting a good score, which ultimately reflects on their level of academic pursuance,” junior Melissa Sosa said.

By requiring all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores, MIT provides a standardized way to compare students’ foundational skills in general areas like reading, writing and math. While they are imperfect, these tests at least give a consistent data point that can help contextualize one’s performance in high school. Without these test scores, admissions officers have to rely more on trying to investigate the variety of high school curricula and grading scales. The SAT and ACT serve as equalizers and benchmarks.

“I prefer schools to be test optional, because it allows the administrators to actually look at the ones that are willing to go the extra mile and can be recognized not only for their critical thinking skills but for their perseverance too,” sophomore Rafael Hanono said.

Advocates for standardized testing emphasize that the tests provide a great amount of data that allows students from disadvantaged backgrounds to showcase how talented they truly are, which gives schools the opportunity to pinpoint them. Dropping testing requirements in the application process reduces class and economic diversity at top-tier schools across the country. Admitting students without having a direct academic guideline to follow like the SAT or ACT is risky. High school grades alone are a very imperfect predictor of one’s college readiness and success due to different standards across thousands of institutions nationwide.

Do you think that universities should remain test-optional, or go back to being test-required schools?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

“I think that schools should require the submission of exams, because it will help students show how hard they have worked to achieve that score and what they are capable of,” junior Melanie Mendez said.

While the elite institutions are paving a path back to the pre-pandemic norms, many public and private universities will most likely remain test-optional for affordability and student-access reasons. These exams are somewhat biased towards more affluent and privileged students, which can lead to questioning whether they truly measure up to the standards of college preparedness. But the momentum has clearly shifted as higher education has started to adjust to the post-pandemic normal.

While being mindful of their limitations and biases, colleges and universities should continue to require SAT or ACT scores from all applicants. When they are responsibly evaluated among a student’s full record, these tests provide crucial unified insight into foundations like math and reading abilities. The downsides of going test-optional arguably outweigh potential benefits for these schools. Standardized tests will continue to be an imperfect yet valuable piece of a necessarily comprehensive admissions process.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Gabriela Vega
Gabriela Vega, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Gabriela Vega is a junior in the International Baccalaureate program at Coral Gables Senior High School. This is her third year in the publication, and she proudly owns up to her spot as a staff writer. Along with being an ongoing member of the International Baccalaureate Honor Society at Gables, she also takes part in other clubs that help grow the number of opportunities that come her way. After leaving behind an important era of her life, she focuses on school and her internship at a Certified Public Accountant office, but also makes time for her friends. She has a wide array of interests such as watching movies, kayaking with her dad on the weekends and driving her younger brothers all around Miami. Writing has always been one of her strong suits, so she chose to use that to her advantage and join CavsConnect, which has allowed her to blossom and improve her writing exponentially, especially when it comes to IB exams.
More to Discover
Donate to CavsConnect

Your donation will support the student journalists of Coral Gables Senior High School. Your contribution will help us cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to CavsConnect

Comments (0)

The CavsConnect staff encourages comments and conversation on all of our content. We reserve the right to remove comments that are vulgar, rude, hurtful, or unrelated to the topic.
All CavsConnect Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *