The SAT has in fact been cancelled through June, and depending on how things continue with the current coronavirus pandemic, the earliest date may be some time in August.  The College Board, the company behind the SAT, is even thinking about administering the SAT online as another option.

In reaction to this, colleges and universities across the country are announcing that they are either dropping the SAT/ACT requirement for the upcoming year or that they are adopting a “test-optional” policy moving forward.

What is “Test-Optional”?

Great question!  It seems to be confusing a lot of people.  The way in which colleges and universities define their “test-optional” policies differ from school to school.  Literally.  The term “test-optional” means something different for nearly every school that has adopted it as part of the admissions process.  There is one thing, however, that is consistent among all of them – they are still looking at test scores.  If a score is attached to an application, they’re looking at it!

Here’s an example of what happened at a highly regarded and well known school – the University of Chicago –  after they went “test-optional”.

  • The college garnered a lot of press for the decision.
  • A lot more students applied, so the college raked in a lot more application fee revenue.
  • Due to the increase in applications, their acceptance rate went down, which meant that their US News and World Report ranking went up.
  • Their average SAT score went UP nearly 15 pts.

Also, it’s important to remember that most merit-based scholarships still use SAT scores as a determinant, so take the test!

What is the College Board?

The College Board is a privately held company.  Yes, you heard that right.  A privately held company that earns nearly $1 BILLION in revenue per year.  It is not a board or group of colleges that get together to create the test.

They’re also not very big on change.  The first and really only time that The College Board made any significant change to the SAT is when they began losing market share to the ACT several years ago.  And they brought in none other than the person responsible for the Common Core (I’m sure you’re all more than likely familiar with this cringe-worthy curriculum) to lead the transition as their CEO – David Coleman.

Will The College Board really offer the SAT digitally?

It’s not too far outside of the realm of possibility.  They can’t continue to cancel tests, so they’ll have to do something to combat the loss in revenue this pandemic has caused.  Don’t worry too much about it, though.  Admissions related tests, the GRE and MCAT for example, have been offered digitally for years.  Digital test taking is commonplace now, so the idea of The College Board moving in this direction does make sense.

The Takeaway?

Take the test and aim to do as well as you possibly can on it.  Remember that “test-optional” schools are still looking at test scores, and until schools start saying that they will absolutely not look at or consider test scores in the admissions process, take them.