Before I even started high school my parents talked about the importance of getting a high SAT score. And more importantly what score could get me into the best colleges. Now as a rising junior it is very clear how toxic and defeating the college process really is.
I am not a good test taker, yet I have been taking prep classes since the beginning of my freshman year. I perform best during debates, Socratic seminars, and through my writing. My best subjects are history and English and if it were up to me I would’ve stopped taking math and science in 6th grade. To balance out my average test scores, I have to exceed expectations in every other department. I play sports, volunteer, start clubs, work a job, write and edit for several publications. Yet, I truly think when it comes down to applying to colleges it will still not be enough. Even if I am passionate about everything I do outside of school and am doing more than my peers I am still measured by the number I achieve on a test.
Until the disruption of COVID-19, I always believed the system would stay the same. Now more colleges are becoming test-optional and looking at the student as a whole and what difference they can bring to campus. When schools first closed in March it gave students so much more free time and allowed them to be more creative. I’ve seen people start “Instagram shops” and sell clothes, bracelets, masks, and baked goods, with many of them donating proceeds to help the COVID relief. It’s things like this that aren’t encouraged by our society because of how little time we had before the virus. A students’ success shouldn’t be determined by their A-D answer choices but should be determined by their well-roundedness as a person.
I do understand that many students appreciate the chance to take a test because that is where they shine academically. But it shouldn’t be one system over the other. Schools such as the University of Chicago, Smith, and Juilliard are test-optional and have graduated Nobel Prize winners, politicians, and musical genius’.
Creating a test-optional society will encourage more students to be creative and unique in their own ways rather than only being successful on paper.