Goodbye to the SAT Subject Tests

What do the SAT changes mean for current high school Juniors?


The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way standardized testing has been administered across the United States. The inability to administer and provide these tests like we once were able to have left many students feeling immense uncertainty. The SAT was the test taken by seniors that would later be submitted with their college application. However, this is no longer the case for every college. 

A vast majority of California universities have announced that submitting SAT or ACT scores are now optional. Other private colleges or California State Universities have a varied policy. Nevertheless, the condition of the SAT is constantly changing.

This leaves students, more so the class of 2022, confused and full of doubts. Almost every month, the Collegeboard is releasing new information about the test. The most recent one being the cancellation of the SAT Subject Tests and the essay-writing portion of the exam. 

This has left many students with mixed feelings. Some see it as a big relief and weight being lifted off their shoulders, while other students were relying on these exam scores to build a strong college application.

With so many varied opinions it is hard to determine whether these changes are beneficial or not. Mr. Alcala, an academic advisor for North Hollywood High School’s Upward Bound program, provided some insight into what these changes truly mean for the junior class.

Mr. Alcala explains how certain majors students would like to apply to, require some form of SAT subject tests. For example, an engineering major may require a subject test in math or science. However, now that the subject tests are gone, their requirements will no longer be the same. 

But why is this significant? “This opens the door to so many more students wishing to apply to these majors” Alcala states. At times, under-resourced students don’t apply to these majors because they can’t afford the fee of the subjects test or they don’t have the materials to prepare and study with. 

“Any student is now able to apply with or without the SAT subject tests which creates more opportunities” Alcala adds. Although mentioning all the good things that come out of these test cancellations, there are still some other factors to consider. 

“This could make things more competitive. Colleges no longer focus just on academic work, they also want to see how involved and active you were with the school,” he states. So what does this all mean for current high school juniors?

The class of 2022 now has a wide variety of options and opportunities when it comes to college. However, students should continue to put their best foot forward in all aspects of school, not just academics. 

This also means that colleges are looking for what personal attributes you can bring to their schools. Your personal statements and essays are now just as important as your GPA. Although it is key to have a good academic record, it is also now vital to present yourself as a fitting candidate for these colleges. 

Mr. Alcala offers students to join programs like Educational Talent Search and Upward Bound to receive aid when it comes to these rigorous applications. Both programs offer immense help for students applying to a variety of colleges. 

Finally, Mr. Alcala leaves some pieces of advice, “For juniors, I would recommend they start building that college resume and listing down all the activities they have participated in thus far.” 

Additionally, he states, “for the underclassmen, find ways to get involved with the school. Join clubs, find out how to get volunteer hours, and just put yourself out there and be a part of a community.”