Whitman offers free SAT testing, provides opportunity to qualify for National Merit


Jocelyn Mintz

On April 13, students will be able to take the SAT at Whitman for the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic.

By Zoe Cantor

Whitman will offer free SAT testing — without the essay section — to juniors on April 13, an asynchronous learning day. The make-up day for the SAT will be on April 27. 

This SAT marks the first time the standardized test is available in the Whitman building since the start of the pandemic, and will provide a convenient exam location to local students.

“[The testing] supports efforts to remove barriers associated with college entrance examinations and ensures equitable access to these important steps to college and career readiness,” Assistant Principal Gregory Miller wrote in an email to students and parents. 

Whitman cancelled its March 20 PSAT for sophomores because of capacity limitations and CDC guidelines for the reopening of schools.

Current sophomores will still have the opportunity to take the exam in October 2021 to qualify for the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program. 

The College Board is also dedicating the April 13 SAT test as an alternate entry opportunity for students to qualify for the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. In past years, this opportunity was offered exclusively through the PSAT. The application for alternate entry of the 2022 program closes on April 1, and the last SAT date to qualify is on June 5, 2021. “For a while I was confused about National Merit and how we could qualify,” junior Rachel Chen said. “It’s great to get transparency from the College Board and Whitman.”

Some students have opted out of SAT and ACT testing entirely, after colleges across the country converted to announced test-optional admissions policies. Those who take the tests can still submit their score to test-optional colleges, but it is not required. 

“While the goals for these assessments are for maximum student participation, as a result of the pandemic, these are considered optional assessments,” Miller added in his email. 

For many students, this SAT presents their first opportunity to take the test due to closed testing sites across the DMV region, junior Katheryne Dwyer is finally able to attend SAT testing in-person after being vaccinated.

“After a year of worrying, I’m happy I can be safe in a testing environment,” Dwyer said. “Even a bit of normalcy is something to look forward to.”