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It’s a Brave New “Test-Optional” World...

Some of us, especially the “standardized testing challenged”, remember well that anxiety-inducing rite of passage called the SAT .  If you’re now finding your senior in your shoes, you may both take heart with one silver lining of having an entire calendar year of high school disrupted. A growing number of schools, with the likes of Harvard, Cornell, and all of the UC’s, are waiving standardized testing requirements for 2021 applicants. Use this link to see if your child’s college choices are among the 241 top-ranked test-optional or test-blind schools.

Test-optional colleges will likely become much more common as the coronavirus pandemic (fingers crossed) is now waning. Our higher institutions are recognizing how distance learning (however much our educators have pulled off an amazing feat in front of those screens) has left our college-bound students unprepared to take this test. New admissions policies have been created, and for students with less desirable SAT/ACT scores, this means a sigh of relief.  This certainly still leaves our learners to be held accountable for their academic preparation, of course, as these colleges are looking instead to essays, portfolios, and other demonstrations of academic potential to take the place of standardized test scores.  There may also still be placement exams that an individual institution requires. For example, the University of California system’s 10 schools could still develop its own admissions test. 

There are actually now over a thousand colleges across the US that have changed an approach dependent on standardized test scores. Regardless of a pandemic, test optional policies have already been a growing trend in admissions guidelines. The easing of test requirements comes as education reform groups, such as the nonprofit National Center for Fair and Open Testing, have already been critics of the SAT and ACT even before these newly revised admissions policies. The University of California system vote last May seems to be in line with this thinking, as they also plan to phase out the SAT/ACT admissions requirement over the next four years. 

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