Universities should be test optional, here’s why

Becca Rosado, Social Media Editor

All universities should be test optional when looking at applications. Most universities in America today are not test optional; meaning that these universities require applicants to submit SAT and ACT scores. The results of theses score help determine if a student is ready and could handle college level work. But quite frankly, I disagree with standardized tests as a whole.

Students, like myself, have test anxiety. While taking tests I tend to freeze up or second guess my answers so much that my test scores are significantly lower than all my other work in the class. The same goes for standardized tests such as ACT, ISTEP, PSAT and the list goes on. This is the reality for around 16-20% of students (Test Anxiety). While this number may seem small, it is actually quite large.

Around 70% of high school graduates attend a college or university. Now 20% of those students, theoretically, have test anxiety. I believe it is not fair to that 20% to base a large chunk of their application off of standardized test scores alone. If a student meets all of the same exact requirements as those of another student but their test scores are lower; the student with the highest score gets in. This benefits the students that are naturally good test takers but doesn’t help those who are not.  

Many universities have taken steps towards being test optional. Meaning that students can submit their test scores for scholarship purposes but if students think that their test scores do not reflect them as a student then it is not required. In Indiana there are many test optional schools such as Ball State University, Manchester University, and  University of Evansville.

These schools however are smaller schools that mostly house in-state students rather than a large out of state population. Universities such as Indiana University Bloomington and Purdue West Lafayette are very large schools that house students from all over the country as well as a lot of international students. However, Bloomington and Purdue is not a test optional school.

Instead of basing a portion of applications off of standardized tests, colleges and universities should be looking more into what a student did in high school and how hard they tried and worked. This could be with requiring essays with applications and more teacher recommendations. This way the universities and colleges can see what a student is like rather than what a test score tells them.

Test optional can help many students, like myself, and should be considered by all universities and colleges in American and even around the world.