is the sat required

Is the SAT Required Now? A Shifting Landscape in College Admissions

Written by: Kristine Thorndyke

The SAT, once a staple of the college application process, is making a comeback. After a pandemic-induced hiatus, an increasing number of colleges are reinstating the requirement, leaving students and parents scrambling to understand the implications. Are you ready for this shift in the college admissions landscape?

The Rise of Test-Optional Policies

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted a lot of life – including the tradition of taking the SAT as a key component of college admissions. With widespread cancellations of test dates and valid concerns about equity and access, many colleges and universities adopted test-optional policies. This shift allowed students to apply without submitting SAT scores, focusing instead on other aspects of their applications, such as grades, essays, and extracurricular activities.

The initial results of test-optional policies seemed promising. Many institutions reported increased diversity in their applicant pools, suggesting that the removal of the SAT requirement had opened doors for students who might have been disadvantaged by standardized testing.

The Reversal Whiplash: Why Some Colleges Are Requiring the SAT Again

The pendulum is now swinging back. A growing number of colleges, including prestigious institutions like MIT, Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown, are reinstating the SAT requirement for admissions. They argue that the SAT provides a standardized metric to assess academic readiness, particularly in the face of concerns about grade inflation during the pandemic.

Additionally, some believe that the SAT can help identify talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds who might not have had access to the same educational resources.

Impact on Students and What They Should Know

The return of the SAT requirement has sparked debate among educators, students, and parents. Critics argue that standardized tests extend inequities, favoring students with access to expensive test prep courses and tutors.

They also argue that the SAT is not a reliable predictor of college success and that other factors, such as high school grades and extracurricular activities, offer a more holistic view of a student’s potential.

For students stuck navigating this changing landscape, the key is to stay informed. It’s increasingly important to research the specific requirements of each college that they are interested in and plan to prep accordingly.

If a college requires the SAT, students should dedicate time to studying and taking practice tests. However, even for test-optional schools, a strong SAT score can still be a valuable asset in a competitive applicant pool.

How to Prepare for the SAT

For students facing the SAT, preparation is key. Resources abound, from free official practice tests offered by the College Board to various test prep courses and tutoring services. The College Board website also provides a comprehensive guide on how to prepare for the SAT using Khan Academy, including information on test content, format, and scoring.

A successful SAT preparation strategy often involves:

  • Understanding the format: Familiarize yourself with the different sections of the test and the types of questions you will encounter.
  • Taking practice tests: Regularly taking SAT practice tests under timed conditions can help you identify areas where you need to improve and build your stamina for the actual exam.
  • Reviewing content: Brush up on the key concepts and skills tested on the SAT, such as grammar rules, mathematical formulas, and reading comprehension strategies.
  • Seeking help: If you are struggling in certain areas, consider seeking help from a tutor or enrolling in an reputable SAT prep course.

Key Takeaways

  • The SAT requirement is being reinstated by a growing number of colleges.
  • Colleges cite concerns about grade inflation and the desire for a standardized assessment tool.
  • The return of the SAT requirement has sparked debate about equity and access in college admissions.
  • Students should research the specific requirements of each college they are interested in and prepare accordingly.
  • A strong SAT score can still be an asset, even for test-optional schools.
  • Thorough preparation is crucial for success on the SAT.