To Require or Not To Require: The ACT


Mauricio Hermann-Richer, Staff Writer

In October seniors at RAHS took the American Collegiate Test, better known as the ACT. The ACT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. It is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test administered by ACT, Inc. That evaluates a student’s knowledge in reading, math, language, scientific reasoning, and writing. 

Before 2020, The ACT was required nationwide for every student that wanted to attend a university. This would still be the case if the pandemic never would’ve happened. Last year’s seniors didn’t have to take the ACT because of COVID-19, sparking a debate on if the universities should continue to require standardized testing. 

Valyncia Martin, a senior at RAHS, took the ACT. She thinks the ACT should not be required to get into a university saying, “Some students aren’t good test-takers and can have an off day and bomb the whole test. A lot of students’ GPAs are very high but their ACT score doesn’t correlate. A low ACT score could be because of many different reasons that do not represent the student’s knowledge.”

Some people think colleges should only consider a student’s GPA over their ACT score for admission and scholarships. Martin thinks colleges should value a GPA more saying, “[The GPA] is representing all of your high school work throughout four years and not just one day.”

Many colleges now have their school as “Test-Optional”. This means students do not have to send in their ACT scores as a part of their applications, it is optional. Harvard, Stanford, New York University, Princeton, and Yale all are making the ACT or SAT optional for the upcoming first-year students. 

The University of Chicago was one of the first colleges to make standardized testing optional. According to the HechingerReport, the University of Chicago reported a record enrollment of first-generation low-income students and rural students and veterans. 

Also, they found that if SAT and ACT scores were the sole basis of admission, 53% of students who were accepted wouldn’t have gotten in. 

Madlen Meyer, another senior at RAHS, experienced stress preparing for the ACT. She said, “There is no good way to prepare for the ACT. Yes, there are a ton of practice tests that you can take but those don’t really help. The time limit on the ACT is ridiculous. Seventy-Five questions in forty-five minutes is absurd. Standardized testing should not be a requirement for college admission, I think it shouldn’t even be an option.”

As more and more universities are starting to make the ACT/SAT optional, the debate on whether a college should value an ACT score or a student’s GPA more or if the ACT should be required at all will grow. We could be seeing an end to the Standardized testing for college admissions in the near future.