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University of California will end SAT and ACT requirement in admission…

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20-05-28 11:43

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The University of California Board of Directors announced May 21, a few days ago, that it will suspend the requirement for students to take the SAT I and ACT tests for this year and next year admissions, and for 2022 and 2023, it will not accept SAT I or ACT scores at all. It also announced that it will develop its own testing system by 2024 admissions year, and if it finds that its own test is insufficient to satisfy its internal requirements for testing, that it will cancel use of any standardized testing in its admissions. As the University of California school system is the single largest consumer of College Board tests, this is quite a shock to the struggling College Board non-profit company, the maker of SAT I, SAT II, AP, TOEFL and many other standardized tests. Many other colleges, in wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, have made similar cancellations of their use of SAT I and ACT scores in its admissions, but mostly for this year alone, so for current 11th graders applying to universities at the end of 2020 and into the beginning of 2021. The list of such other universities, which have so far cancelled their SAT I and ACT requirements given at end of this article, include Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, U Penn, Williams, Amherst, Tufts, Northeastern, and Boston University.

The problem with this policy is that such a change in testing requirements is not across the board, with some universities and colleges taking a wait-and-see approach, and with the University of California system of schools apparently having a different agenda making the testing requirement not applicable for the next four years. Some of the issues the UC system of schools are struggling with are a weak link between SAT I or ACT student performance with their academic performance once in college, the disparity of wealthy household students scoring better on average than students coming from financially poorer households, such a disparity along racial and ethnic lines too, the testing scandals and cheating on such standardized tests. Other universities have similar opinions the UC schools, but the announcement on May 21st by the UC Board of Directors is a crushing blow to College Board struggling with financial difficulties of having to cancel the recent May and June SAT tests. Of course, ACT Inc is in the same dire straits too.

Some of this reaction may merely be a negotiating tactic by the UC Board to force College Board to change its testing format to one the UC schools favor, something in the way that the Coalition Application, adopted by many all public universities and a few private universities, was formed to contest the dominance of the Common Application used by many top 50 universities. The Common Application had resisted the individual university requests to add and subtract this or that question in the application and had been charging quite a lot of service fees for the colleges to adopt its use. The success of such an attack on the Common Application Inc may be the thinking behind the attack on the College Board and ACT. The Covid-19 situation may just be the timing that gets change done.

For students, however, admissions testing is still a clear and present issue with no clear way to avoid the challenge. The lack of a universal policy among all or most all universities to suspend SAT I and ACT testing for this year and beyond means that students will be forced to take the tests anyway, in order to apply to a band of universities possible in their admissions profile. One strategy may be to apply to University of California schools without sending SAT I or ACT scores, and then to apply to other universities with such scores sent and shown in the applications. For students who test badly in standardized tests but have comparatively good grades and GPA, this strategy may yield admissions to universities they didn't anticipate or would otherwise be accepted to in the usual circumstances.

Note: Sending ACT, SAT I, SAT II, AP scores to one University of California campus will avail those scores to ALL the UC campuses, so sending scores to only one UC campus is enough and will be shared by all other UC campuses.

Note 2: Read the last article here about how to use Score Choice, Score Withholding, and sending scores for ACT and TOEFL (if needed) about how best to send test scores.

Note 3: University of California CA (next 4 years, 2 years optional, 2 years after that none used, fifth year: own test or none), Harvard College MA (no SAT II, APs), Cornell University NY (No SAT or ACT starting Aug 2021), Princeton University NJ (SAT II not required), University of Pennsylvania PA (SAT II not required), Williams College MA (no SAT ACT 2021 enroll), Amherst College MA (no SAT ACT 2021 enroll), Tufts University MA (SAT ACT optional), Northeastern University MA (SAT ACT optional), Boston University MA (SAT ACT optional), Vassar College NY (SAT ACT optional), Pomona College CA (SAT ACT optional), Haverford College PA (SAT ACT optional for 3 years), Davidson College NC (SAT ACT optional for 3 years), Rhodes College TN (SAT ACT optional), University of Washington WA (SAT ACT optional), University of Oregon OR (SAT ACT optional), Oregon State University OR (SAT ACT optional), Scripps College CA (SAT ACT optional), Texas Christian University TX (SAT ACT optional), Trinity University TX (SAT ACT optional for 3 years), Tulane University LA (SAT ACT optional), Case Western Reserve OH (SAT ACT optional). Source for list above https://www.nytimes.com/article/sat-act-test-optional-colleges-coronavirus.html