As the first public school in Indiana to go test-optional, Ball State’s decision affects college admissions for seniors

Lillian He

Over the summer, Ball State University announced it would make submitting SAT and ACT scores optional for students applying for the Class of ’23. Ball State’s decision is a part of a wider movement across the country that aims to decrease the importance of standardized test scores in the college admissions process.
“There are over a thousand schools already that do it,” Ann Boldt, CHS college and career counselor, said. “They are test-optional or test-flexible.”

Aditi Kumar

According to Boldt, the decrease in importance of test scores can make it easier for students who traditionally do not do as well on standardized tests to have a fair shot at getting into college.
“Studies have shown that standardized tests are very skewed towards those that can afford the test prep,” Boldt said. “That’s why a lot of people believe that tests are not necessarily fair for the minority or underrepresented or lower socioeconomic students.”
Standardized tests also tend to favor students who excel in math and sciences over those with artistic talents. Izzy Shelton, Ball State applicant and senior, said she chose to go to Ball State because she’s not really into math and science and other “core” classes.
“I’m really involved with the arts,” she said“Ball State was a good fit for me.”
She said she really appreciated that she did not have to send in her test scores because she was not the best test-taker, and she doesn’t necessarily plan to go into any of the subjects tested on the SAT in the future.
Hayden Eckart, another Ball State applicant and senior, said, “Some people have more artistic minds and some people are more math-based. For example, I’m applying to architecture so I’m not sure they need to know how well I can read a scientific graph.”
Standardized test scores can also cause stress in students, and making them optional may alleviate some of that stress.
Shelton said, “Taking the SAT is stressful enough, and if you get a bad score you have to keep on studying and do it all over again. Taking it out could be positive or negative. It could be negative because some students might stop trying in school because they think they’ll just get in anyway but it could be positive because some people do really well in their classes (and) they just don’t do great on tests.”