SAT History: Will the Class of 2021 Be Exempt?


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The coronavirus has caused great concerns the future of the class of 2021, especially the status of the SAT exams.

With the closure of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, concerns for taking SAT exams for the class of 2021 have grown. Several colleges across the country have begun to waive SAT scores to be a requirement on student applications. 

According to The New York Times, Ivy League school Cornell University has “adjusted their policies,” and eliminated testing requirements for future classes. Cornell will be allowing students who wish to enroll for the fall semester of 2021 to “submit applications without ACT or SAT exam results.” The college released a statement explaining they do not expect students to ‘“justify their reasons”’ for not submitting their test scores given the current circumstances.

Alongside Cornell, Ivy League school Harvard University has also changed their testing requirements for future applicants. Harvard recently announced that “high school juniors will not face penalties,” if they are unable to submit their test scores. The college understands that the pandemic has limited opportunities for students to take the SAT and ACT exams, and therefore they ‘“will not be disadvantaged in any way,”’ if no scores are submitted. 

Princeton University and University of Pennsylvania already do not require SAT scores as part of admission, and will continue to enforce this policy. The three remaining Ivy League schools, Dartmouth College, Yale, and Brown University, still require the tests, along with other highly selective schools like Stanford. Many schools however “that compete with those big names are moving ahead to make the test optional.”

No matter what schools decide on testing, CollegeBoard, the creators of the SAT test, have developed new plans for students to take the exam. If “it’s safe from a public health standpoint,” weekend SAT administrations will be conducted every month until the end of the calendar year starting at the end of August. A new September date will also be added to the schedule. If schools, however, do not reopen in the fall and continue virtual learning, “College Board will provide a digital SAT for home use,” similar to how digital AP exams are currently being distributed. 

The juniors of Lakeland Regional High School’s SAT class were asked to give their opinion on the situation. A majority of the students believe the class of 2021 should be excluded from the tests as they are at a disadvantage. The students feel they would not be properly prepared as it is harder to grasp material through online learning. Followed by this, some fear they may fail due to forgetting material from the start of the school year.

On the other hand, some of the students do not feel the class should be excused from the exam. Some students have already taken the test, and they feel this would be unfair to those who have already worked hard. These students believe that the expectations for the SAT scores should be lowered and other grades and requirements should be of higher significance. 

The coronavirus may have posed many concerns for the class of 2021, but everything is being taken one step at a time. For the junior class, these are unprecedented days, but with high hopes and expectations, we can wish for all the best for the class of 2021.