Typically, junior year consists of studying and taking either the SAT or ACT in order to prepare for applying to colleges. However, there has been a recent shift among colleges and universities to make the test scores optional.

Although Bowdoin College was the first in 1969 to eliminate test scores as an admissions requirement, there was now over 800 colleges and universities across the nation that have followed in these footsteps.

There are various reasons for it: Some colleges say that high school grades are a more accurate reflection of how the student will perform. Others say it creates a more equal applicant pool that will bring in more underrepresented student populations. Others still will use it but only for certain groups such as certain majors, Division I athletics or students outside the US.

Regardless, the shift has also been noted in the difference between ACT and SAT. Previously, the SAT was the known test that many students preferred. However, over the years, the ACT has gained popularity. In 2012, it officially overtook the SAT as the most popular choice.

There are several local colleges that have followed this trend of test optional requirements:

  • Walla Walla University
  • Whiworth University
  • Eastern Washington University

As more colleges are getting on board with this option, we will continue to see this trend rise. This will ultimately result in a different type of junior year for many upcoming high school students in the near future.