Should Students Still Be Required to Take the ACT?


Karleigh Schwarzl

(file phto)– A student prepares to practice with the 2021-2022 ACT Prep Book.

Mackenzie Farner, Staff Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought several changes to schools all over the country. It’s impacted the way we walk down the hallway and how we interact with classmates, forced us to wear masks during the school day, and now has influenced our future college decisions.

Starting in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic originally began, colleges across the country started making their long standing test score policies optional, which means that colleges across the country are no longer requiring ACT scores to be included in admissions applications. In Tennessee alone, some of schools that have turned test-optional are the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Austin Peay State University, Cleveland State, Rhodes College, Vanderbilt University, and Union University to name a few.

So the question is, should students still be required to take the and ACT to be able to graduate? On one hand, students who have lower test scores would hope to no longer have to include those scores when applying to colleges, but on the other hand, if students don’t take the test they’re also missing out on opportunities for academic scholarships to help them through college.

“I believe that students should still have to take the ACT because it can only help them receive additional funds for college.  I think it was a good idea to make the ACT score test optional for admissions because if a student with a high GPA is just not that great at taking tests, a low ACT could hinder them from being accepted to a college.  Now, they have the same chance as everyone else to shine on the other aspects of their high school careers,” expressed College Access Advisor Stacy Alexander.

On one hand, if students decide to exclude their test scores from college applications, they could potentially loose scholarship money to help put them through college, but on the other hand, if a student has a high GPA but a low ACT score, the option for college admissions to disregard those low test scores could give them a better chance at getting into a college that best suits their desired career path.

I think students should still be required to take the ACT because by taking the ACT and having the option to include or exclude their test scores, students have the ability to decide if adding their ACT scores will help or harm their chances of getting into a college that can benefit them in the future. By still taking the ACT, students don’t limit their opportunity for scholarships or other helpful things that come from ACT scores. Additionally, if students choose to exclude their test scores from applications, colleges look into the more holistic version of the student. Instead of looking at test scores college admissions look into different aspects of the student including: the student’s GPA, courses taken in high school, extracurricular activities, whether they have a job or not, etc. which can be other positive aspects of the student that could reflect them better than their ACT score.

“I believe a personal interview could provide colleges and universities with a true snapshot of students. Students could express reasons their college was chosen, academic course history , GPA and leadership opportunities they have achieved.   Another concept could be a student generated project.  The project would entail community resources, the student’s ability to maneuver through the engineering design process and incorporate public speaking skills while explaining the process which led to conclusions,” commented Gifted Teacher Angie Hentz.