The Largest Public College System Will No Longer Accept SAT, ACT Scores. What does it mean for you?

Updated: May 27, 2020

The University of California system will phase out the use of SAT and ACT standardized test scores for admissions by 2024. For current sophomores and juniors (class of ‘22 and ‘21), UCs will be Test-Optional. This means that submitting ACT/SAT scores are optional, and the SAT Essay/ACT Writing version tests are no longer required.

While students won’t be penalized for not submitting scores, we recommend that applicants still do. Here’s why:

- Scores can still be used in admissions decisions.

- They’ll be used in scholarship decisions. The Regents and Chancellor’s scholarship, given to the top 1-2% of applicants with just 13% of recipients being out-of-state, provides unique academic opportunities, priority enrollment, and hefty financial aid! With such few slots, good scores can be what pushes an applicant over the edge. Check out our upcoming blog post from Ashley Fan, one of our tutors, for insider Regents details and tips!

- These scores can be used as placement scores.

For younger students (class of ’23 and ’24) UCs will be test blind. Campuses will not consider scores in the admissions process. For California residents, these scores can count for scholarship and placement. For out-of-state applicants, the UC’s governing body hasn’t decided on an appropriate standardized test substitute.

In 2025 and beyond, UCs will eliminate SAT/ACT requirements all together. They are working on creating a new standardized test which will be available to both in state and out of state applicants. If this test is not ready by 2025, standardized testing requirements are eliminated for California applicants, with out-of-state requirements to be determined.

University of Chicago and NYU are already test optional (prior to COVID-19), but the University of California’s moves are unprecedented. This shift is in part due to COVID-19 and concerns over just how reflective standardized tests are of a student’s potential.

“We are…developing a new test that more closely aligns with what we expect incoming students to know to demonstrate their preparedness for UC,” stated the UC Office of the President on May 21st, 2020. This comes in the wake of a December 2019 lawsuit, claiming that both the SAT and ACT were biased against poor and mainly black and Hispanic students.

With Harvard and Cornell waiving SAT/ACT requirements for the upcoming year due to COVID-19, last year’s college admissions scandal involving fabricated scores, concerns over fairness, and increasing resentment towards the College Board’s monopoly on education, we predict other schools may follow in the UCs footsteps and go test optional or blind...But in the meantime, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to requirements in competitive admissions.

If feasible for your family, we recommend that you keep studying for those standardized tests. We’ll keep you updated on any changes.

Read the University of California’s press release here:

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