SAT Optional or SAT Mandatory?


Sarah Larrea and Julia Ranaldo

Are you planning on taking the SAT this school year? Not so fast! 2020 ain’t like any other year. (Don’t make fun of me: my teacher made me write a sick hook and I’m embarrassed.)

Students preparing for college now have an option to take the SAT or not. This could greatly impact student applications for college this year. However, SAT test centers are shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Seniors are scrambling to take their SAT exams before their college application deadlines. Interestingly, many are choosing to not take the SAT exam because their desired colleges do not require an SAT score. Many colleges even posted new guidelines and policies claiming that the lack of an SAT score will not put the student at a disadvantage.

So what are our very own Bethpage High School students doing? Angela LaRusso, a senior at Bethpage High School, took the SAT exam on October 3rd, 2020 and plans to take it in November and December. Angela claims it is still stressful for her and she still wants to do the best of her ability. She also states “just because they’re optional doesn’t mean they still wont benefit me.” Good SAT exam scores also allow students to earn merit scholarships for college. This is very beneficial to students who want to save the most money in loans while applying to colleges.

What do teachers think of this? Mr Malosssi, a BHS teacher and ultra-successful private SAT tutor, said, “I think the test optional aspect is going to put a focus on a lot of other elements…their essays and teacher recommendations are going to be way more influential and if students can’t get an SAT test at all it’s going to be a real burden for them.” Most people argue that lack of submitting SAT scores may or may not put the student at a disadvantage when applying to certain colleges due to increased competition.

Currently, the best option for students is to try to find an available SAT center as fast as possible and to focus on their college essays and other application elements as well. That way, in a worst case scenario, students will still be prepared for the admissions process by compensating their lack of an SAT score with well developed college essays and strong components in their application.