All UCs are Test-Free Through Fall 2024

UPDATE (6/15/2021) – UCs have officially announced the removal of ACT/SAT from the admission decision and scholarship processes between Fall 2022 and Fall 2024 in the June 2021 UC Counselors and Advisers Bulletin, the announcement also includes information/explanation for 1) a plan to evaluate a replacement assessment (Smarter Balanced Assessment); 2) how the Statewide Index (for guaranteed admission) will be calculated going forward; and 3) suspension of Admission by Exam.

The UCs reached a settlement today (5/14/2021) with the plaintiffs in the lawsuit over the UCs’ use of ACT and SAT test scores for admission evaluation, which alleged the use of test scores discriminated against certain students. The settlement effectively extends the UCs’ test-free policy from now until the Fall 2024 application cycle (November 2023 application deadline). The UCs had already planned to stop using ACT and SAT test scores for admission evaluation with the Fall 2025 application cycle (with provisions to allow a new assessment to be implemented). As of right now, the UCs have not made any definitive statements about a replacement assessment (recommendations released thus far seem to indicate the UCs may remain test-free for Fall 2025 and thereafter).

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Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

May 22, 2021 at 12:18 pm

My child is currently a 10th grader.
With UCs turning test blind, what are the crIteria for UC admission process…GPA / Extracurriculars / Essay? What do you think is their respective weightage in the admissions process?

Ms. Sunreply
May 23, 2021 at 10:43 am
– In reply to: Shruti

Majority of the UCs use holistic review, where students are evaluated in context of the opportunities available to them. The process heavily relies on the students’ ability to offer narratives of their achievements because the quantitative factors alone generally aren’t enough to distinguish themselves from other highly qualified applicants. Given this process (which as been in place for more than a decade for most UCs), the removal of the test scores don’t necessarily impact the process in a really significant way (in the past, students with poor scores may offer explanations for their performance).

One thing I think everyone misunderstands is that UC admissions was never just about competing on quantitative factors. EVERYONE has exceptional academic achievements (I have personally worked with students with 4.7 GPA). Students who are high achievers must distinguish themselves among other high achievers (by describing how they have developed/gained skills/experiences that will support their academic success in college in the UC Application). Students who may not have the best academic records must explain in their UC Application how they expect to succeed academically in college despite contrary quantitative factors (I have personally worked with students with 3.9-4.2 fully weighted GPA who were admitted to Berkeley). It was always about the students’ ability to argue their case for college success.

Questions or Comments?