Is it Still Worth Taking the SAT?


Josh DeMontigny, Staff Writer

The SAT has long been a vital component of the college application process. However, in the past decade, more and more schools have eliminated the requirement to submit SAT (as well as ACT) scores in their applications. Circa 2021, the number of test-optional US colleges is as high as 75%. SHS guidance counselor Zoe Ryan explains this shift is related to the fact “that after the pandemic, it was harder for kids to take tests, and even before that, colleges kind of pushed to not look at test scores as much.” Further, universities are now acknowledging “that there are other things more indicative of a student’s ability than sitting for one test on one day.” In fact, Harvard University recently announced it would not consider SAT scores during the next several years of the college admissions cycle. This shift begs the question: Is it still worth taking the SAT?

For SHS alumnus (Class of 2021) and UMass Lowell freshman Jamari Wilkerson, this question didn’t bear much importance. “My school didn’t require them,” Wilkerson said about his SAT scores; moreover, he states submitting his scores would provide him with “no advantages.” 

This question remains prevalent for SHS junior Julia Zegunia, who has yet to take the SAT, but is “planning on taking the SAT at least twice.” For Zegunia, the test assumes great importance in her application, as “a lot of the colleges [she] plan[s] to apply to require applicants to submit SAT scores.” Regardless of the application, Zegunia wishes to take the test just to gauge her academic proficiency. “I generally just want to see where I’m at academically. I want to see if I’m getting better academically over time and I want to see where I’m at in comparison to other students,” Zegunia commented. 

According to Ryan, who graduated from SHS in 2013, “the majority of schools students applied to when I was applying did have to take the SAT.” Ryan commented on the notable shift that has occurred over the past few years, but also recognizes that the SAT isn’t completely obsolete in the current day. “There are students who excel in taking standardized tests. It can be a really great asset to their application,” Ryan added.

So the question remains: Is it still worth taking the SAT? It may seem like a cop-out, but the fairest answer seems to be that, well, it depends. Wilkerson advises incoming college applicants that “if the school you want to requires them, then yes, but if not, I don’t see any point in doing them,” feeling as though “a test isn’t an accurate representation of a person’s intelligence.” Despite the importance of the test to her, Zegunia acknowledges the SAT is “getting less important for a lot of students to take it. Like, why bother if it’s optional?”

Ryan remains neutral to the question, concluding that she “would recommend still taking it if you’re unsure where you’re gonna apply, as there are still some schools that will require SAT/ACT scores.” She feels as though taking the test “gives you the option to send your scores or not,” depending on the results.