DEAR HARRIETTE: My son is a junior in high school, thinking about college. He has a lot of grand ideas for his future, and he is very excited. We are told that this year he does not have to take the SAT in order to get into college. Because of COVID-19, this will be the second “test-optional” year for many colleges. But I am worried that if he doesn’t share his SAT scores, he may be overlooked. He didn’t do great on the test, however.
Otherwise, my son is a good student. He is focused and definitely wants to go to college. This year has been rough on him, though, and studying for the SATs was not his priority as it probably should have been. Should we pass on turning in those scores?-- College Bound
DEAR COLLEGE BOUND: Talk to your son’s college adviser at his school to find out the going wisdom about submitting test scores. What I have read is that the schools that opt into the test-optional policy truly are assessing in that way.
For years, there has been controversy over standardized testing -- throughout school, and especially the SAT and ACT. Many educators and community leaders consider the tests to be biased toward people of means. There is a huge industry built up around college prep testing that some consider to be primarily catering to people with disposable income. Bottom line: There are many questions about fairness surrounding these tests.
Since your son does not have to share his test results, you may want to consider all of the other things he needs for his application. Make sure he has stellar essays and excellent recommendations as well as an outstanding transcript. Talk to him about his ideas and help him become adept at talking to adults about his dreams. He should go on virtual and physical college tours, if at all possible. That’s where he needs to talk and present himself. Good luck.