Colleges Move to Test-Optional Policy Amid COVID-19

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Julia de Raadt
Julia de Raadt

Julia has dedicated much of her career to education. Since commencing with Empowerly, Julia has looked after the research team which handles student questions on different topics about college admission.

Coronavirus is certainly creating havoc and it seems no sector is immune to its effects, college admissions included. The interruptions it has created for standardized testing resulted in the cancellation of SAT and ACT test dates. Some colleges have decided to make the upcoming admission cycle test-optional, and consider test optional policy for good. 

Colleges have become mindful that students are already under intense pressure. The closure of school is already difficult; standardized testing has created unnecessary anxiety. The move to test-optional will add to the growing number of test-optional colleges already out there. It brings up the ongoing debate on the efficacy of standardized testing in college admissions.

Colleges that have moved to a test-optional admission policy include Boston University, Case Western Reserve and the University of California. In addition, the University of California has also suspended the letter grade requirement; this applies to A-G courses completed in winter, spring or summer of 2020.  This means a pass/fail or credit/no credit will suffice. Tufts and Davidson College have decided to test out this policy for longer, announcing that test-optional admissions will run for a 3-year period. All public universities in Oregon, Scripps, Indiana University and University of Rochester have decided to make this a permanent move and will no longer require standardized testing at all.

So what does this mean for my application to these colleges?

If you have already taken the SAT/ACT and you did well, then you can still submit your scores. You should definitely do so if you plan on applying to merit-based scholarships as many still require these tests to qualify.  If you didn’t do well, then you now have the option to skip submission altogether with peace of mind that it won’t affect your admission chances. If you’ve done well in the classroom and have some great extracurriculars, then this change should really help your application.

What should I do if I still need to take the test?

Many colleges still require standardized tests. If you are planning on applying to a college that requires it and need to take it now, then you can register for the June test dates when both College Board and ACT will offer them. Should the tests be postponed again, then you will be able to reschedule, free of charge. If you need to brush up on your knowledge, then both the College Board and the ACT are offering free resources to help students prepare for the test.

If you would like to speak to an expert to develop your own personal testing and application strategy, contact us today for a complimentary conversation with the team.

Questions? Let us know!