Seniors Travel Out of State for Standardized Tests

As+seniors+scramble+to+make+finishing+touches+on+their+profiles+and+submit+college+applications%2C+this+year%E2%80%99s+seniors+have+been+burdened+with+another+difficulty%3A+the+cancellation+of+SAT+and+ACT+tests.+

Krisha Konchadi

As seniors scramble to make finishing touches on their profiles and submit college applications, this year’s seniors have been burdened with another difficulty: the cancellation of SAT and ACT tests.

In California, approximately 224 out of the 316 testing sites were closed for the October SAT due to the COVID-19 pandemic according to Collegeboard, causing students to travel out of state for open testing locations. Most students were notified of this cancellation approximately two weeks before their exam, but others found out only a few days before. 

Although senior Stella Park had already taken an exam earlier in September, she said that the cancellation of her October test was highly disappointing because of her plans to submit a better score for early action results. 

“By not taking the October [test], I might be safe, but we’re in a situation where everything’s unpredictable and so different and new from any other year, so it really wasn’t good news for me,” Park said. 

While some students like Park signed up for a future test date, others chose to travel out of state to cities where testing centers remained open. Senior Sonia Goyal was among this group, given that this would be one of her last opportunities to take these standardized tests before early decision college applications. 

There were just so many negatives, and they didn’t outweigh the positives at all.”

— Sonia Goyal

Goyal had prepared more extensively for the SAT since August, but the consecutive cancellations of her tests led her to sign-up for the ACT, which she eventually took in early October in Las Vegas. Ultimately, Goyal said that she did not think taking the ACT out of state was worth it for her.

“It was a very long drive there and back, my entire test mentality was thrown off because of the way everything was, I didn’t know anyone, and knowing someone usually helps you calm down at the test center,” Goyal said. “There were just so many negatives, and they didn’t outweigh the positives at all.”

I think that safety comes first, especially at this time, and it’s not worth your risk and your family’s risk to travel out of state to take the exams, especially when they are not counting.”

— Melissa Gibson

Because most colleges have adapted new guidelines for this year’s admissions, counselors are now recommending that students check with each specific college before going to the extent of taking a test out of state. They also suggest using this time as an opportunity to add onto community service, volunteer work, internships or other extracurricular activities.

“I think that safety comes first, especially at this time, and it’s not worth your risk and your family’s risk to travel out of state to take the exams, especially when they are not counting,” counselor Melissa Gibson said.