The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

Should universities stay test-optional?

Before the pandemic, test scores were a staple of the college application process. No matter a person’s score, it would be submitted to every school they applied to. However, the pandemic led to many schools suspending testing requirements and adopting test-optional statuses, meaning students could submit scores as part of their application, but they were not required. With the pandemic in the rear-view mirror, some schools, like Yale University, are bringing back standardized test scores as an application requirement. With various schools adopting different stances, universities have taken a critical look at the value of test scores, the potential privilege embodied by them and whether or not they should hold significance in admissions decisions. In this Hi’s Eye edition, we will take a look at both sides of the argument surrounding required test scores. Be sure to vote on which side you agree with at the end of the article.

Remain test-optional

By Cate Weinstein

I’m sure I’m not the first person to be told by a teacher that I am “more than just a test.” Many of my teachers constantly reiterate the idea that while tests assess our knowledge on certain subjects, they don’t take into account who we are as people. The test is not a direct representation of our kindness, generosity or drive.

Yet, many upperclassmen take a standardized test that is intended to define their futures. Supposedly imposed to determine college readiness, these standardized tests are not a direct measure of intelligence, aptitude or determination. Instead, they remain a measure of expensive tutors, income and test-taking skills. Colleges bringing back test requirements hurts the students and keeps them from reaching their highest potential.

Before a college admissions officer even reads someone’s file, the person is defined by a score, and sometimes the file is never even read if the score is too low, possibly keeping fitting candidates from being considered. Before they can read about the volunteer work the applicant did or about how a teenager took care of a sick parent, these numbers limit potential and keep applicants from being considered from top universities.

When schools are looking for qualified candidates, test scores should not be able to make or break the applicant. There is more that should be included in the picture than just test scores. Some people are intelligent but lack test-taking skills, a inessential quality for the real world. In everyday life, how often is one asked to sit in a room and take a three-hour test? However, students are penalized for not having this unnecessary skill and are therefore unable to get accepted to many prestigious schools.

Additionally, these tests help highlight the accomplishments of the rich while isolating the poor. Many students from high-income areas get tutors, resulting in higher scores and thus more acceptances to competitive schools. This puts those in marginalized communities at a complete disadvantage. Those who have to take care of their siblings or work a job to make ends meet often miss out because they do not have time to study for the test. On average, one-on-one tutoring prep can cost anywhere from $40-$200 a session, according to This is a price that many teenagers in America cannot afford. Without these meaningful sessions with trained tutors who have short-cuts and tricks, less fortunate teenagers are at a large disadvantage.

Reinstating test requirements in the admissions process makes it  difficult for lower-income students to make it to top educational institutions because regardless of their intelligence, the students from wealthier families will continue succeeding with the help of tutors. The rich students will only get richer, going to “elite colleges” with elite test scores. Enforcing a test-required policy only cements the generational disadvantage lower income students face.

It is almost impossible to measure potential based on the SAT or ACT. These tests fail to measure determination, something that is useful in the real world. At the end of the day, aren’t the kids working two jobs, watching siblings or starting a business the most qualified and ready for life after high school regardless of test scores? The College Board and many competitive institutions clearly feel otherwise.

Require test scores 

By Elizabeth Faragi

Recently, many schools have decided to once again require standardized test scores for students planning to enroll in the fall of 2025. While some students are upset with this decision, requiring standardized test scores is a great way to weed out under-qualified applicants and gain more information on applications.

Due to the previous test-optional policies, many applicants chose not to  submit their scores to high-level universities. According to an analysis done by, many low-income students who earned scores within the 1400s range chose to not submit because they fell below the 1550 that Dartmouth sets as a precedent.

The situation is as follows: Low-income students who can score in the 1400s are much more impressive than higher income students who score in the 1500s. By implementing a test-optional policy, many students are withholding good scores that could make them even more valuable to colleges.

A group of college admission tutors and guidance counselors on discusses this, stating, “Standardized testing offers a relatively equitable way to evaluate applicants, especially when considering socioeconomic status. A student from a low-income background scoring well on these tests demonstrates remarkable achievement, considering the disparities in educational resources.”

In addition, other aspects of applications are way too subjective. Essays could be plagiarized, written by AI, or showcase socio-economic advantages by having counselors help write them. In comparison, SAT and ACT scores are more objective measures of intelligence. While many higher-income students can pay for tutors and additional resources, a study done by the College Board using over two million SAT test takers showed that students who engaged in test preparation activities, such as tutoring or online courses, scored an average of 33 points higher on the test than students who did not. This means that, while tutoring can help scores, they don’t change scores all that much.

These standardized test scores are valuable to applications. Aside from highlighting socio-economic differences, the scores are standard for everyone. GPA scales differ from school to school; even in our area, neighboring schools have completely different scales. These test scores help provide admission officers with a standardized score that everyone understands, making the admissions process easier.

Furthermore, standardized tests are an  indicator of college success. When Yale decided to change their test policy, they concluded that many test-optional people do worse in their university courses. While high school GPAs are important, SAT scores increase the prediction of college success. A study done by the College Board in 2019 found that, when coupled with a high GPA, the SAT adds 15 percent more predictive power for how an applicant will perform in college, according to In many cases, the SAT itself was found to be the most powerful predictor.

The SAT and the ACT are valuable resources that can be added to an application to make the student an even better candidate for a school. While I know that taking these tests may be stressful, it is important to consider taking  and submitting them no matter the score. It’s another part of the application that can help admissions choose the best candidates for their school.

Should colleges require test scores or remain test-optional?


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