Big changes are coming to the SAT
By Paige Vanover
In a recent statement, College Board announced that they will be phasing out of SAT Subject tests and the SAT essay. Students will be able to take them until the June 2021 SAT.
College Board stated they are discontinuing subject tests because “[They]’re reducing demands on students. The expanded reach of AP and its widespread availability means the Subject Tests are no longer necessary for students to show what they know.”
College Board is discontinuing essays using the reasoning, “We’re adapting to respond to the changing needs of students and colleges. This change simply streamlines the process for students who have other, more relevant opportunities to show they can write an essay as part of the work they’re already doing on their path to college.”
The removal of these tests raises questions as to how colleges will continue without the tests. Collegeboard.org says, “We’ve reached out to our member colleges and they will decide whether and how to consider students’ Subject Test scores. Students should check colleges’ websites for the most up-to-date information on their application policies.”
According to blog.prepscholar.com, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Lehigh University, Rice University, UC Berkeley, and Yale University have recommended taking SAT Subject tests in the past but have suspended that recommendation for the 2020-2021 admission cycle. Georgetown University specifically states on their admissions requirements that students should submit AP scores as a supplement for the SAT subject tests.
In an article regarding the removal of the SAT Subject tests and SAT essay on thecrimson.com, the executive director of the Princeton Review Foundation, Jay R. Rosner described the use of these tests as “steadily diminishing.” He is not surprised College Board is removing them because it makes AP tests more profitable. NPR.org states, “AP exams have become far more important in demonstrating mastery of subjects and, in some cases, providing college credit.”
The removal of the SAT Subject Test and the SAT essay could potentially harm students who had high scores on these tests because many colleges are not looking at SAT scores this admission cycle. It could also negatively affect students who do not have access to AP classes because those will start playing a bigger role in replacing subject tests. Students will need to find new ways to stand out during the college admissions process.