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Several Colleges Waive ACT/SAT, Other Admission Requirements, Due to Coronavirus

April 2, 2020

For high school seniors unable to take the ACT and SAT, a number of colleges and universities are waiving testing and other requirements as part of admission for fall 2020 and possibly beyond.

From the March 30, 2020, Inside Higher Ed:

Colleges are dropping the SAT or ACT for admissions, they are waiving fees and they are extending deadlines. These are some of the ways admissions officials are responding to the coronavirus — and they’re just getting started in what is likely to be an unprecedented and potentially difficult spring.

At least 17 colleges have dropped the SAT or ACT in recent weeks for one or two admissions cycles, specifically citing the impact of COVID-19.

Boston University announced that it will go test optional for those applying in the fall of 2021 or the spring of 2022, but only those two semesters. …

Tufts University announced a three-year experiment with going test optional. …

In Oregon, the University of Oregon and Oregon State University announced that they would no longer require the SAT or the ACT, permanently. …

The approach of combining concern over COVID-19 and equity concerns generally is prompting many colleges to act.

Among them is Drury University….

Scripps College announced a similar change and said that the policy “will allow admission officers to identify and advocate for students with a strong academic profile who may have previously been viewed as less competitive, based on their performance on a single exam.”

The University of the Cumberlands said it had been considering the policy for some time but decided to change now because of the COVID-19 situation. …

Newberry College, in South Carolina, is starting a new policy under which students who are unable to take the SAT or ACT can submit a statement instead. …

… Case Western Reserve University….

Other colleges are trying a range of approaches to bolster admissions. Franklin College, in Indiana, is going test optional and also cutting the deposit required to secure an admission spot from $200 to $100. …

Villa Maria College, in Buffalo, N.Y., which was already test optional, announced a series of changes in policy:

  • No deposit will be required from students seeking to enroll.
  • There is no May 1 deadline for responding to admissions applications.
  • All decisions will be based on unofficial transcripts (self-reported by students).

And Virginia Tech, while not struggling for applicants as some colleges are, became the latest college to put its campus visits online.

In addition, the University of California has relaxed its fall 2021 admission requirements, which means that high school students who are juniors and who are unable to take the SAT or ACT and who might not even have a high school GPA for spring 2020 are being offered this temporary leniency. Moreover, California’s other major universty system, California State, might take similar action, as reported in the April 01, 2020, EdSource:

The University of California is drastically relaxing its fall 2021 admissions standards for applicants who are currently high school juniors, including suspending the requirement that they take standardized tests and allowing pass/fail grades for this spring’s classes affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a university announcement Wednesday.

The dramatic action came in response to the cancellation of testing by the SAT and ACT this spring due to the widespread disruption at high schools in California and nationwide during the health crisis. However, UC officials emphasized that the dropping of standardized tests for this upcoming year does not imply a permanent change and said the UC, which has nine undergraduate campuses, will continue to debate that contentious matter in the future. …

Students applying for fall 2021 can still take tests and send scores to UC if they are able. Doing so can support their UC eligibility and help fulfill some university graduation requirements. But campuses must ensure that “no student is harmed in admissions selection should they not submit a test score,” according to the UC statement.

The 23-campus California State University system is reviewing whether to follow UC and drop its own testing requirement for 2021 admissions. “A final decision on how CSU will adapt its admissions process” is expected in the near future, according to a CSU statement Wednesday.

Finally, Inside Higher Ed offers this coronavirus live update link for the latest on “How higher education is reacting to the new coronavirus pandemic.”

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One Comment
  1. Christine Langhoff permalink

    Great thread from Akil Bello of FairTest on the College Board’s other product, AP testing. Seems one of coronavirus’ victims may be the sham of testing.

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