By Sophia Pilot
January 22, 2021
COVID-19 has altered many high school traditions, one being juniors taking the Scholastic Admission Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT) in their spring semester. With college on the horizon, many juniors are frustrated with the uncertainty of whether or not standardized tests will be administered because of the precautionary measures the pandemic requires.
By now, juniors are familiar with the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) that is administered in October of every year, to help students prepare for the SAT. Additionally, If your score lands you in the 99th percentile among juniors taking the PSAT, you are eligible to earn scholarship money and national recognition. If the PSAT is canceled as a result of changes to county health protocols, there is still a chance for juniors to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship. Malibu High School’s College Counselor Mrs. Snyder assured students that by taking the SAT in June or August and completing an entry form online will allow students to be eligible.
A survey was conducted on Malibu High School’s junior Google Classroom page in order to gauge interest in taking the PSAT on January 26 at MHS. According to the 116 juniors who completed the survey, only 32 expressed interest in taking the test. Malibu High’s College Coordinator, Ms. Samsel will contact parents of the 32 students with test day specifics. Masks will be required and there will be around 10 students in each room to follow social distancing protocols.
Some students are questioning whether the SAT is necessary given that many colleges are now test-optional or test-blind, meaning that the SAT scores are not mandatory. Colleges consider other factors to differentiate students such as personal statements, AP scores, and interviews. Some schools have not yet released their admissions requirements so it is important to consider taking the test.
For the past several years Malibu High School administered the SAT to juniors in April, this year, however, MHS has not yet released any information regarding their plan. Mrs. Snyder explains the status of the test at MHS, “As of right now, we still plan on offering the SAT to juniors if they would like to take the SAT, given health and safety regulations from the school, district, and county offices. More information will be given to students and parents soon.” Malibu High School’s SAT is not listed on the College Board website, but there are other locations in LA and Ventura counties where the test is being administered. This is all subject to change with the unpredictability of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The College Board announced that the optional essay will be discontinued for SAT exams administered starting in June 2021. Additionally, SAT Subject Tests will be canceled in order to reduce the demands on students. The College Board is attempting to offer the SAT online, similar to the AP test, assuming technical difficulties are resolved.
Another High School tradition for many students is the Advanced Placement (AP) exams. These exams are scheduled to be administered in their entirety, versus last year when they were given online in a condensed format. It will look different than last year’s shortened test, but students will still have the option to take the test online. More information will be released soon on the College Board’s AP Central website and announced to AP teachers, coordinators, and administrators.
The school district has been doing its best to keep these tests routine, but this may be another tradition that falls to the challenges of COVID-19.