• Jamie Wallace

Newsflash: UC drops SAT/ACT:CSU keep temporary ban

The University of California ("UC") will no longer look at SAT and ACT scores for admissions or scholarships in any of its ten schools. Yes, this includes Berkeley, UCLA, and San Diego. The UC is officially Test Blind.

In 2020 the UC decided to do a 5-year phase-out of standardized testing ("ACT/SAT") as a requirement for admission for in-state applicants. Some of the campuses went Test Blind others went Test Optional. Test Blind means the scores are not included in any admissions decision. Test-Optional means that if scores are submitted, they will be reviewed. In neither case were prospective freshmen obligated to take the standardized tests. In some cases, individual schools used test scores to help determine some scholarships and course placement.

In May 2021, the UC system settled a lawsuit about test accessibility declaring that no University of California campus "will consider SAT or ACT scores in determining whether to offer admission. SAT and ACT scores, if submitted by students, will not be provided to admissions readers." Settlement

If students take the SAT or ACT, the scores may only be used to fulfill the "B" English requirement in the a-g, course placement, non-UC funded or administered scholarships. or course advising.

Part of the UC reason was that there are demonstrated inequities among students who take the SAT and ACT Generally, students who can afford to take the test more than once and to enlist test preparation tutors tended to score higher. In addition, the overwhelming impact of the Covid 19 pandemic caused test cancellations across the country. In response, 1,240 colleges went Test Optional. This included name-brand universities like Brown, Caltech, Carnegie Mello, Columbia, Harvard, and Yale. The majority of schools which are not highly selective also went Test-Optional and some Test Blind. Over 1,000 schools prior to the pandemic had already adopted Test-Optional/Test Blind policies like Bates, Bowdoin, Colorado College, Lewis & Clark, Middlebury, Pitzer, Smith, and Whitman.

In the 2020 application season for Fall 2021, perhaps due to schools going test-optional, all of the well-known schools saw a tremendous increase in the number of applications. UCLA became the most applied to college in the United States. UCLA received 135,004 applications for the freshmen class of 8,300 students. The vast majority of US colleges and universities will continue to be test-optional for seniors applying in fall 2021 for winter 2022

The California State University system ("CSU") has not been as decisive. The CSU suspended the use of the SAT/ACT for students attending in fall 2021 and fall 2022. This means that students applying in 2021 will not be required to submit test scores for admissions purposes. If they are submitted, they will be used for course placement in math and English. The majority of counselors hope that the CSU will follow the UC and go Test Blind for the future as well.

Should you still try to take the tests? If you are only applying to California public universities, you can skip the test. If you are applying to other non-California public or private colleges AND you can safely take the test consider it. See a more detailed comment.

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