College Board Cancels SAT Optional Essay and Subject Tests

College Board Cancels SAT Optional Essay and Subject Tests

Cathleen Perdomo, Correspondent

During this unpredictable year, the stress put on high school students has been minimized. Students have experienced many changes such as hybrid and remote learning, an attempt to reduce the spread of the ongoing pandemic. College admissions have also been impacted by this horrid year; the latest impact being the College Board’s decision to cancel the SAT’s optional essay as well as subject tests. How will this impact the college admissions experience? 

Jena Spezzano, a junior at Stamford High School, voiced her opinion on the matter; “I’m excited because it’s going to make it a little easier to get a better score, and it’s going to be less stressful”. The College Board has recognized these current levels of distress; “As students and colleges adapt to new realities and changes to the college admissions process, College Board is making sure our programs adapt with them. We’re making some changes to reduce demands on students,” The troubles and worries of students are being recognized, as well as plans being made to lessen the academic pressure placed on them.

The SATs are one of the most important exams a student will ever take. With the exam right around the corner, the panic has truly settled in. A junior at Stamford High, Sabrina Patino, agrees with Jenna Spezzano that, “it makes it less stressful”. She also recognized that students planning on taking the optional essay no longer have to “feel like they need to go above and beyond to stand out.” The standards set by colleges and universities have been slightly lowered, but the College Board explains that students will still have “other, more relevant opportunities to show they can write an essay as part of the work they’re already doing on their path to college,” Students can demonstrate their writing skills through college applications as well as scholarship and grant applications. 

Stamford High guidance counselor Tiffany Russo said that “with all the changes that the pandemic has brought and so many colleges going test-optional either for the near future or permanently, [the] College Board has really needed to address the true needs of students and college admissions offices.” Ms. Russo also believes that there are other ways for students to demonstrate their abilities, and the SAT essays and subject tests are not amongst “the true needs of students and college admissions offices.” The elimination of these will “hopefully remove stress for our students in preparing for the college admissions process.” 

Both students and staff believe the decision made by the College Board will reduce stress on students in the long run, and allow them to better prepare for the college application process in other ways. 

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