NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Another university in our area recently joined a growing number of institutions now making standardized testing optional for admission.

Whether they hire tutors or take prep classes, many high school students spend years getting ready for the SAT.

“It’s been drilled in my head since freshman year. I’ve been practicing a lot,” student J.T. Kaminski told CBS2’s Alice Gainer on Tuesday.

“Junior year, most important year. SATs, they’re such a big deal,” Connor Gorman added.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Kaminski and Gorman are juniors at Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey. Both were registered to take the SAT at three different times. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, all three dates, including June’s, were canceled.

“A lot of months kind of went into that, so that’s kind of annoying,” Gorman said.

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And now, many colleges and universities are saying they don’t need ACT or SAT scores. Some dropped the requirement in response to COVID-19, while others are doing it to be more inclusive of those who can’t afford private test prep.

Fordham University said this is something it has been thinking about doing since before the pandemic, making the SAT and ACT optional.

“Anything that creates any kind of different disparities is something that we want to try to lessen in the admission process. Because we do a holistic review there are so many other aspects of the students’ application that we think are important and we value,” said Patricia Peek, the dean of undergraduate admission at Fordham.

In the wake of the college admissions cheating scandal, in which dozens of parents were charged with paying huge sums of money to help their children cheat on the SAT, the College Board made changes. However, many New York and New Jersey schools are now on the growing test-optional list.

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The not-for-profit College Board has said a take-home version of the SAT test is being prepared in case schools remain closed into the fall, but it is hoping to resume in-person testing in August.

Rival ACT will also have an at-home option.

But if you don’t really need it, will students still take it?

“I’m still practicing for when they come around. I’ll be prepared,” Kaminski said.

They said it’s still important to them.

Some universities have already decided to start earlier in August, skip a fall break and end the semester before Thanksgiving. Schools officials say it will cut down on the worry that travel to and from school could further spread the virus, especially if there is a second wave.

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