SAT and LSAT classes

Test Preparation, College Consulting,
and Private Tutoring

Test Preparation, College Consulting, and Private Tutoring


(833) 726-7316


(833) 726-7316

COVID blurs the path to college: Why the SAT matters more than ever

Getting into college has gotten hairier during CoVID. For high school e-learners, catching a unicorn may prove easier than developing relationships with teachers. The lack of connections means the absence of informal, enlightening talks about college and the impassioned recommendations that only an adult who knows a student well can give. And in schools where guidance counselors do more than talk college, helping kids pass and deal with stress this year have radically turned the focus away from helping the “smart” ones plan for the Ivies.

Families feel lost. With a greater abundance of resources than ever but fewer people picking up the phone, parents find themselves more overwhelmed than enlightened.

Need more confusion? Admissions criteria seem to be changing weekly. In the wake of lawsuits over racial bias and the nearly two million students who experienced SAT cancellations early on, many colleges, including the University of California (UC)’s nine campuses, announced that standardize test scores, like the SAT, would be optional or not considered at all. That’s great, isn’t it?

Maybe not. Colleges shunning tests claim to use a holistic approach to screening applicants. But the multitudes of colleges who cannot afford to embrace this approach have been floundering to decide who gets in, especially if application numbers have risen for them. What safer approach when trying to compare course loads from different high school than to favor those from prestigious institutions whose former seniors have proven themselves strong college freshmen?

Conversely, an admissions office might take the opposite approach — using seemingly arbitrary criteria to fill freshmen spots, penalizing the high achievers from the better schools. Truth be told, the more mysterious and abstract the criteria right now, the less liability a college might face over unfair admissions practices.

Furthermore, those celebrating UC’s new, mandated policy may forget that not everyone welcomed it. For now, the admissions officers who fought to preserve the SAT scores as a criterion will help choose the 2021-2022 freshman class. So? So, applicants presenting scores will have those scores considered. And of the 1700 colleges who made scores optional this year, the number who will continue to do so next year remains uncertain.

What is certain is that what an admissions office claims as its policy does not always dictate its behavior. Universities boasting need-blind selection practices often reject needy applicants after reaching a quota. Likewise, a college positioning itself as “SAT optional” may nevertheless give special consideration to high SAT scores. In fact, when choosing among otherwise identical applicants, how could an admissions office not favor an outstanding SAT score? Even at UC, will the admissions office at Berkeley or UCLA seriously ignore a student who mentions her 1520 SAT in an interview?

Good news! Now may be the best time to take a test preparation course to raise your SAT score. With perhaps millions of students opting out, a high SAT score would more likely stand out to a college. If the 2020-21 pattern repeats, an impressive score could tip the scales even more if you apply to a college whose application totals dropped because of diverted interest to more selective, test-optional schools.

Fewer test takers also mean a better chance at certain scholarships. Even universities who will not require test scores for admission may use SAT scores for determining scholarships or grants. A number of both non-institutional and school-based scholarships require minimum SAT scores for consideration. Why not give yourself the edge while your competition sleeps?

Yes, getting into college is hairier than it has been. But with the right test prep, it doesn’t have to be harder.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We'll Help You Get There!

Find out More!

I am a (choose one)
I am interested in

17525 Wilde Ave #302 Parker, CO 80134 | Tel: 833-SCORE16