SAT Cancellations Add to Senior Stress


Haley Dockendorff, Staff Writer

On Saturday, November 7th, I woke up to my alarm at 5:30 AM, ate breakfast, and got in my car to drive an hour to Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School to take my SATs. Having signed up several weeks earlier, I had been keeping an eye on my email, skimming past any College Board notifications that looked normal or unimportant. I double-checked the Test Center Closings page on the College Board website just to make sure the test I signed up for wasn’t canceled. When I arrived at the building around 7:30 AM,  I checked to see the room number where I would be taking the test.  Low and behold, my name was not on the list. Surely it must be a mistake, I told myself as I looked for someone to help.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a mistake. I was informed that I was not on the list, and I could not be added at the last minute. After spending several minutes digging through the myriad emails College Board sends me every week, I found one informing me my test had been canceled. So, I got back in my car just to drive another hour home.

As a result of this situation, I am only able to send colleges my test scores from the first time I took the SAT–typically not the best score. 

Sadly, this is a common story among high school seniors this year. The year 2020 has been a year of uncertainty for all of us. For high school seniors, it has been a year of cancellations, postponements, and disappointment. One of the biggest concerns for seniors is the gloomy path to college, but this year it is a windy and bumpy one, too. One of the biggest obstacles for seniors is the SATs, and it has become an even bigger problem this year because of the conflicts with COVID-19. In Massachusetts, the March, May, and June SATs were all canceled, and students struggled to get into the August and September testing sessions, as the seats filled up quickly. While many schools went test-optional–especially in the North–there are still a lot of schools requiring SAT scores. 

Out of a survey of 52 Scituate High School seniors, 84.6% of them took the SATs, while 15.4% did not. However, out of those students who did take them, 59.1% only took them once, 34.1% only took them twice, and only 6.8% took them 3 or more times. This is a large difference compared to other years when students were able to take them several times compared to just once. 

The unavoidable impact of the pandemic on the SAT testing schedule drastically changed the college process for seniors–as well as the admissions process for colleges and universities. Will this change only be temporary, or will this be the final push for schools to go test-optional?