While the Palo Alto Unified School District plans to offer SATs for seniors in October, we urge the district to host more SAT testing dates on a regular basis by registering Palo Alto High School as a regular testing center every month the test is available — seven times a year.

This would allow students in the area from all high schools to take the SAT at a nearby location and help increase equity and convenience. 

College applications faced a series of changes when the pandemic hit, one of the most impactful being the shift away from standardized test requirements for many schools’ college applications. 

However, still, 20% of institutions will be requiring these tests for 2022 fall admissions, with major institutions such as MIT reinstating a standardized test requirement.


“The exact minute that testing centers open, they go [fill up] in five minutes, so it’s super hard to find times.”

— Lauren Sung, senior


Because students need to take standardized tests if they wish to apply to those 20% of institutions or if they choose to submit a standardized test score when applying to test-optional institutions, there will be a high demand for testing centers.

Testing locations in the Bay Area often fill up months in advance, forcing some students to take their tests in faraway locations.

“The exact minute that testing centers open, they go [fill up] in five minutes, so it’s super hard to find times,” Palo Alto High School senior Lauren Sung said. “For the November test, I signed up six months before the test, and I barely got a spot; there were three spots left.”

Sung also traveled to Texas, Virginia and Nevada to take the SAT and emphasized the inconvenience of these trips.

“The cost of the SAT is already high, plus having to stay in a hotel and flying to the destination — it is a lot of money and it is really inconvenient,” Sung said. “If it really was up to me, I would have taken it here [in Palo Alto].”

While Sung was able to leave the state to take the test, many others do not have this opportunity due to scheduling and cost. 


“It would be really helpful if Paly just hosted the SAT so at a minimum, transportation time was eliminated.”

— Isaac Kirby, junior


To help mitigate the inequities that stem from high demand for testing centers, PAUSD should host the SAT all seven times of the year the College Board offers it, to give students in the area equal access — thus increasing the opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge to colleges.

In addition to helping improve equity, hosting standardized tests at Paly would just make the college process much more convenient for all students, including those that are able to get in-state testing dates, like junior Isaac Kirby, who took the SAT in Davis, Calif.

“A lot of people like myself have to go really far to Sacramento or Davis to take it [the SAT],” Kirby said. “But it would be really helpful if Paly just hosted the SAT so at a minimum, transportation time was eliminated.”