Are Standardized Tests Still Important?

By Alex Vann

Test-Optional Admissions Are Here to Stay

Back in March of 2020, everyone had hopes that this whole COVID-19 thing would just blow over. “Don’t worry, we’ll be back to normal after a couple of weeks…” Today, a couple of weeks is looking more like a couple of years.   

Sure, many aspects of daily life will one day return to how they were before. But some changes are here to stay, for good. And one of those changes is test-optional college admission.      

Even ACT’s CEO, Janet Godwin, admitted to readers in a recent blog post that test-optional admission policies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.    

With the majority of four-year institutions having now announced that ACT/SAT-optional admissions will continue at least through fall 2022, students are wondering, “Should I still take the ACT or SAT?”   

The answer: Yes.    

Why Still Take Standardized Tests?

While many colleges have gone test-optional, less have gone test-blind. That means that although your college may not require test scores, they will still be considered if submitted. And a high score on the ACT or SAT can set you apart from other applicants and increase your admission likelihood.   

So, why not just take it and see how you do? You aren’t required to show any colleges your scores. And if you do well, you can send it to schools that are optional or required. It just might help make up for a lower GPA.       

Scholarships: Many colleges, even some of those which are test-optional, still use ACT/SAT scores to award merit scholarships. And the majority of private scholarships still require ACT/SAT scores as part of the application process. It’s no secret that college is insanely expensive. And despite, in many cases, offering a somewhat diminished college experience due to COVID-19 restrictions, very few schools have offered a discount on tuition. Why miss an opportunity to make college more affordable?   

Also, in some instances, ACT/SAT scores can be used to replace class deficiencies on transcripts or even used instead of placement tests for community colleges. For example, if you don’t pass the community college math placement test, you’ll be forced to take a prerequisite course. In that case, taking the ACT or SAT just may save you an entire semester of unnecessary work.    

Lastly, not all colleges have waived the standardized testing requirement. Students should work closely with their counselor to double-check the policies of each school on their college list.   

The bottom line: When you decide to skip the ACT/SAT, you are likely limiting your options.      

Getting Ready for the Test

Studies have shown that students who work with a test prep program vastly outperform those who don’t. And the best time to prepare for the ACT or SAT is over the summer when students aren’t distracted with school activities or bogged down with a full course schedule.     

This summer, Fusion is offering seven unique College Admissions Camps, including Test Prep 101, where students will work to understand the ACT and SAT exams, customize their preparation strategy, and maximize their scores. To learn more, click here.   


About the Author

Post-Secondary Counselor

Fusion Academy

Alex Vann is a Teacher/Mentor and Post-Secondary Counselor at Fusion Academy Solana Beach.

Alex Vann began teaching in 2010 after earning his Bachelor’s Degree in History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Before coming to Fusion he taught English and Special Education at San Pasqual High School as a long-term substitute. He’s been a valued Fusion teacher since 2014. As Post-Secondary Counselor, Alex helps guide students and families through the college selection and application process. He has a passion for old-school hip-hop, and enjoys playing pick-up basketball, and hanging with friends and family