UC Schools No Longer Require SAT and ACT Scores



Gia Shin, Staff Writer

If you are aiming for a University of California (UC) school, it’s crucial to know that the admissions game has completely changed.

The SAT and ACT tests, once an attempt to increase the diversity in Ivy Leagues, are now merely seen as a measure of opportunity. For current juniors and sophomores, submitting your SAT/ACT scores is optional. Those who don’t submit scores will not be penalized during the admissions process. For current freshmen and 8th graders, the admissions office will not look at the scores at all. California public schools are an exception, though, and the option to submit the SAT/ACT scores will remain.

The University of California Press Room also discussed the idea of possibly introducing its own test by fall of 2025. Unlike the national tests, the one created by the UCs would be a better assessor of what students learned in high school. If no test is created, they will completely drop the testing requirement for the schools. However, there is still debate on whether the new test will truly solve the problem at hand. “What the SAT and ACT owners could not do in 100 years, the UC system will do in just under four, with limited time for historical data-gathering, and while balancing a budget crisis and a pandemic,” writes the Los Angeles Times. People believe that it is not feasible in such a short span of time, and creating a new test of admissions will only defeat the whole purpose of closing the gap between social classes

Standardized tests such as the SAT/ACT serve as a measuring stick to compare students across the country. The testing companies believe that high school grades alone aren’t enough to use as a point of comparison. According to The New York Times, “some studies have shown that SAT and ACT scores, combined with a student’s grade point average and other factors, can help predict a student’s success in college.” If standardized tests reveal so many important characteristics about a student and their potential in their future, why should we get rid of them?

Many believe that the SAT and ACT perpetuates racial disparities. Governor Gavin Newsom, a member of the University of California Board of Regents, said that national tests “[exacerbate] the inequities for underrepresented students, given that performance on these tests is highly correlated with race and parental income, and is not the best predictor for college success.” The major barrier that stands in the way of many low-income families isn’t the test itself, but rather the unequal access to education and resources.

So what does this mean for future UC applicants? If the colleges go through applications test-blind, they will discover more highly qualified students and admissions may become more selective. For the class of ’23, 24, and possibly beyond, a student’s GPA is now the only quantitative factor that is shared with the UC schools. Colleges usually look at two categories of an application: the qualitative and quantitative factors. When the SAT and ACT are no longer part of the quantitative category, their focus will shift to all the non-academic factors. The admissions officers will have to make a decision based on qualitative factors rather than quantitative factors, leading admissions to be more subjective.

The system that the California universities are implementing isn’t completely new. A growing list of schools, including the highly selective University of Chicago, has started to make submitting tests optional. If the UC schools can do without the standardized tests, other universities may join the initiative to remove them from the application as well.