Future of the ACT and SAT for Juniors and Sophomores


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By Emily Chin, Staff Writer

What does the future hold for juniors and sophomores when it comes to ACT and SAT testing? For some colleges, the answer to that is unknown. The ACT and SAT tests are both important factors when it comes to college applications.

Some schools have already declared that they will be taking the test-optional approach, and others are still waiting to declare that they will be going test-optional. Some universities like Northwestern and the University of Chicago have already declared that they are extending their test-optional approach to the 2023 graduates.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which started to take a toll around January of 2020, the whole world was seemingly put into lockdown and limited high school students from being able to take the SAT and ACT. For a while, testing locations were closed down due to the peak in COVID case numbers, but now students are able to safely take the test. In order to test, it is required to wear a mask at all times, and all test takers are required to be at least 6 feet apart.

On Saturday, Nov.7, according to the Chicago Tribune, “Illinois announced 12,438 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 on Saturday for a total of 477,978.” The positivity rate has increased since Nov. 7 and has been a source of worry for some high school students at Niles West.

According to junior Josip Basan, “I feel that Niles West has been exceptional in their precautions for Covid-19, but I still would not feel comfortable publicly congregating for a test that isn’t as important as the health of myself and those around me.”

Some students are planning to only submit an essay, but for others, testing has been their number one priority. This may be due to the fact that the SAT is required in order to graduate from Niles West.

Junior Murphy Maeve Holleran already took her SAT and was very satisfied with the testing protocol. “I felt very safe, all the desks were six feet apart. There were less than 10 of us in the room, they had masks and hand sanitizer available. Overall, I felt very very safe while taking it,” said Holleran.

For sophomores, even though they have some time before they need to take the ACT and SAT, there is still some worry on how much longer Covid-19 protocols will be prolonged, and whether or not it’ll affect the future of college admissions.

Sophomore Mila Albazi said, “I’m more worried about the ACT. I would still take the ACT/SAT if colleges went test-optional for the class of 2023 to get a better chance of getting in or even a possible scholarship for it. Covid-19 hasn’t really bothered me with taking the test because I feel pretty comfortable taking it.”

So far, it seems that most people are trying to take at least one of the tests regardless of whether or not the college they are applying to is test-optional.

To take the ACT, you would have to register through ACT.org. To take the SAT, however, you would need to register through College Board or wait to sign up through Niles West. All juniors are scheduled to take the SAT on April 13, 2021, but plans may change in the future. If you have more questions, don’t be afraid to email your counselors or the College and Career Counselor, Daniel Gin.