Amid COVID-19, students’ opportunities to engage in standardized testing, participate in extracurriculars and communicate with teachers and counselors have been jeopardized. In response to these prevalent struggles, colleges have adopted new systematic changes, with the University of California institutions’ test-optional policies as the lead.
Following the UCs, prestigious universities like Cornell and Dartmouth alongside others also established that the current class of 2021 will not be required to submit SATs or ACTs as well as SAT subject tests, according to The Dartmouth and The Cornell Daily Sun.
On May 21, the UC Board of Regents unanimously passed a new change to the standardized testing requirement, according to the UC News.
“We are removing the ACT/SAT requirement for California students and developing a new test that more closely aligns with what we expect incoming students to know to demonstrate their preparedness for UC,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in the recent UC News.
In essence, the UCs will keep its test-optional policies for the class of 2021 and the class of 2022. However, for the class of 2023 and the class of 2024, UCs will go test-blind, meaning SATs and ACTs would not be considered at all during the admissions process, according to the UC News.
And lastly, for the class of 2025 and beyond, UCs will create new standardized testing geared towards what the UC institutions expect of applicants. On top of that, the writing requirement –– SAT essay and ACT writing — has been suspended for applicants going forward, according to the UC News.
This news has shocked current and future applicants.
“As a junior, I believe that the test-optional system is a good decision,” Gina Lee, a current senior, said. “Although I will continue to study for the SAT, for those who don’t have the time and money to take these pricey exams, it will benefit them tremendously. However, I know a few soon-to-be sophomores who have been prepping for the SAT and ACTs, and the test-blind policy will somewhat waste their efforts.”
Unlike Gina, the incoming freshmen had a different view of this change.
“I’m glad I’m able to be the last class to be in the test-blind admissions process,” Eunice Kang, an incoming freshman, said. “I personally believe that if the new UC testing is implemented, it’ll be an additional burden on the students’ back as other private universities will continue to keep its SAT and ACT policies; students will have to prep and study for both exams, which definitely is a lot.”
Just like these two incoming and current high schoolers’ opinions, there are both positives and negatives to these changes. Because UC mentioned the possibility of the UC standardized tests not being ready by the class of 2025, according to the UC News, these changes may be even more delayed.