With the breakout of COVID-19 causing the cancellation of most standardized testing, many seniors sense a feeling of incompleteness for their college application. However, for others, the cancellation of these tests actually has made the college admission process the most fair it has been in our lifetime.
The average price to register for the SAT is about $50 and the SAT with essay, which previously all University of California schools required, is $65. The Princeton Review recommends students take the SAT/ACT at least one to three times, but for many, taking these tests four or even five times is not an implausible scenario, easily spending $250 simply to take a test required by most colleges.
It is no surprise that students who receive extra help preparing for these tests generally perform better. The average price of an SAT tutor is $70 an hour. This is just for one session, but if a student were to be tutored once a week for an hour for three months, this adds up to $840.
This clear tie of economic success to academic success became increasingly evident during the college admissions scandal where actress Felicity Huffman paid $15,000 to inflate her daughter’s test scores.
Despite this history of inequity in standardized tests, the 2021 application process may have changed things for the better. Standardized tests traditionally act as an objective measure to compare students from schools with differing rigor.
However, since the COVID-19 outbreak, finding a location that hosts the SAT or ACT has become increasingly challenging. In response, colleges ranging from Harvard to the University of Miami went test optional to combat the lack of testing sites. This test optional system may lead to creating a more fair admissions process. If the class of 2021 performs equally as well in college as previous classes who did submit scores, it would be a clear indication that scores are not needed to make a qualified class.
While there is no telling what the future holds, the college admission process may be forever changed for the better all because of a pandemic.