Colleges become test-optional in light of the coronavirus pandemic

Maribella Ambrosio

Itzel Luna
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of many SAT/ACT test dates, many colleges are adopting a test-optional policy of the 2021-21 admission cycle.

In response to the  COVID-19 pandemic, Universities of California (UC) and California State Universities (CSU) have temporarily suspended standardized test scores for their fall 2020 college application.

The President of the University of California, Janet Napolitano, announced on March 31 that all 9 UC campuses will not require students to submit their standardized test scores in the upcoming fall applications. They have not yet discussed if this will affect the class of 2022.

“We want to help alleviate the tremendous disruption and anxiety that is already overwhelming prospective students due to COVID-19,” said John A. Pérez, chair of the Board of Regents. “By removing artificial barriers and decreasing stressors – including suspending the use of the SAT – for this unprecedented moment in time, we hope there will be less worry for our future students.”

On April 17, the CSU system also suspended the use of ACT/SAT examinations in this year’s college applications. They clarified that this “temporary change of admission eligibility applies only for fall 2021, winter 2022 and spring 2022 admission cycles.” 

“The California State University has provided access to a high-quality education for millions of Californians from all walks of life and we will continue to fulfill our academic mission even during these most trying of times,” CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White said. “This temporary change will ensure equitable access to the university and should provide some measure of relief to prospective students and their families.”

Students have already taken this change in college applications as an opportunity to focus on other important classwork or studying for upcoming Advanced Placement exams (AP).  

“I am happy that they suspended the ACT and SAT this year because trying to study and cram in these tests while being a senior and doing college apps would be a lot of extra stress,”  junior Amelia Sanchez said. 

UC’s and CSU’s may have temporarily removed standardized test scores as a requirement. However, students are still able to submit their scores to give the college a better view of what type of student they are. There are also many out-of-state colleges that have not decided to change their testing requirement policy yet. 

“Colleges will not use (standardized test scores) for deciding admissions but they can use them for deciding on particular scholarships or for granting college credit in some classes,” Daniel Pearl Magnet High School counselor Martina Torres said. “I would still encourage students to give some time to review their March SAT scores and possibly take the exam again in the fall. If a junior received low scores, there is no need to send their score in unless they plan to work on improving the score and retesting in the fall.”