On May 21st, 2020, the University of California Board of Regents (the governing and policy-making body for the UC system) unanimously eliminated the SAT and ACT as a requirement for its undergraduate application till Fall 2024.
But that’s not the whole story. Here is everything you need to know about the University of California (UC) system eliminating the SAT/ACT requirement.
Also Read: SAT COVID-19 Update: Here’s What to Do Next
1. For the Graduating Senior Classes of 2021 and 2022, the UC Application is Test-Optional.
Okay, so what does this mean? This decision affects the application results of high school seniors and juniors of the coming school year (2020-2021). The term ‘test-optional’ refers to a policy that if a student submits an SAT or ACT score favorable to their application, the score will be considered as a part of their admission result. If the student’s score will not be favorable to their application, the UC system will ignore the score when reviewing the application. As a result, for the senior classes of 2021 and 2022, an SAT or ACT score can only help their UC application not cause detriment to it.
For students who are already familiar with the UC application, this is similar to their policy for Advanced Placement exam scores. AP scores are also test-optional which means they also can only add value to your application.
If you are a rising senior or junior, we suggest that you still take the SAT and/or ACT. This is basically extra-credit. Boost your application with a high score!
Also Read: Everything You Need to Know to Ace the SAT (2020 Update)
2. For the Graduating Senior Classes of 2023 and 2024, the UC Application is Test-Blind.
In other words, for the upcoming high school freshman and sophomores, SAT/ACT scores will not matter. Any score submitted by the student will be completely ignored in regard to their application result.
However, we would not suggest that these students do not take the exam. If you are a rising sophomore or freshman, remember that test-blind colleges and universities are very rare! If you plan on applying to any other university outside of the UC system, you will still need an SAT/ACT score.
Also Read: How to Write Your UC Application Essays
3. SAT/ACT scores will still matter outside of admissions results.
- Currently, for the classes in question (2021-2024), students may be asked to submit an SAT or ACT score for scholarship applications.
- SAT and ACT scores are also applicable in the Eligibility in the Statewide Context initiative by the UC system. This initiative qualifies students to apply to the UC system by fulfilling specific minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score requirements.
- If you are a Californian student, the Eligibility in the Statewide Context policy may ensure admission to UCs with available spots. This is only if you occupy the top 9% in either your high school graduating class or the state and if you were not offered admission by any of the UCs.
- Moreover, SAT and ACT scores can also be used to fulfill pesky requirements like the UC Entry Level Writing requirement.
Also Read: 8 Important Things You Need to Know About Scholarships
4. Two Different Policies in Four Years?
You may be wondering why the UC system is implementing a test-optional policy for 2021 and 2022 but a test-blind policy for 2023 and 2024. A more apt word would be experimenting. Through these four years, the UC system will be comparing the results of each policy for future implementation.
5. We May Have a UC Admissions Exam in 2025.
In the same decision, the UC Board of Regents has also planned on taking these next 4 years to develop an admissions exam of its own for the whole UC system. They plan on first implementing this exam in 2025. According to the UC Board of Regents:
UC will undertake a process to identify or create a new test that aligns with the content UC expects students to have mastered to demonstrate college readiness for California freshmen. By 2025, any use of the ACT/SAT would be eliminated for California students and a new UC-endorsed test to measure UC-readiness would be required. However, if by 2025 the new test is either unfeasible or not ready, consideration of the ACT/SAT for freshman admissions would still be eliminated for California students.
6. Holistic Review of Applications Still Applies.
Now that the UC system has eliminated the SAT/ACT requirement, how has the admissions process changed? To be frank, the way the admissions officers will review your application has not changed much. Every other aspect of your application now has more value. This includes your GPA, the rigor of classes taken, your essays, and your extracurriculars.
Also Read: How the Admissions Officer Reviews Your College Application
7. You Will Still Need To Have SAT Subject Test Scores.
Although the UC system will be going test-blind in 2023 and 2024, they have confirmed that they will still be considering SAT Subject Test scores for high-impact majors like engineering. For prospective engineering majors, the UC system requires students to have taken the SAT Math Level 2 subject test and an SAT science subject (Chemistry, Biology E&M, or Physics).
Also Read: How To Study For the SAT Subject Tests
Start thinking about your college applications. If you will be applying this coming school year of the next, we suggest that you continue to study for the SAT/ACT. If you are a rising freshman or sophomore, we would still suggest considering taking either exam. Even if your target school is part of the University of California system, having options will only benefit you.
We hope you stay positive during these trying times. At Talentnook, we are working towards ensuring that the learning does not stop. You can also take a break from this stressful period by learning something new and creative like playing an instrument, painting, creative writing, and more! Check out some free trial lessons with Talentnook.