UCs Dropping ACT/SAT Requirement (and what you should do)

Update (April 22, 2021): All UCs have committed to be test-free for Fall 2022 (and some beyond that, to Fall 2024), either with an explicit statement regarding Fall 2022 and/or Fall 2024, or with changed wording on the freshman admission website to indicate that, generally, ACT/SAT will not be considered. For an explanation and links to written proof from each UC campus, purchase an updated back issue of my February 2021 Freshman Newsletter ($25; also includes a year-by-year middle school & high school UC admission preparation guide); on the PayPal payment confirmation page, scroll down and click “Return to Merchant” button to access the download!

Update (October 29, 2020): UCs are TEST-BLIND for Fall 2021 admission (November 2020 application deadline), find more information here.

How UCs plan to phase out ACT/SAT
What you should do in response

How UCs plan to phase out ACT/SAT

According to this UCOP Press Release, UC Regents voted on May 21, 2020 to adopt Napolitano’s proposal to suspend the ACT/SAT requirement between Fall 2021 and Fall 2024, while identifying or creating a new test; if no new test can be made available by Fall 2025, the testing requirement will be eliminated for California students.

What you need to know (order of the bullet points was rearranged for clarity):

  • Elimination of writing test: The University will eliminate altogether the SAT Essay/ACT Writing Test as a requirement for UC undergraduate admissions, and these scores will not be used at all effective for fall 2021 admissions.
  • Test-optional for fall 2021 and fall 2022: Campuses will have the option to use ACT/SAT test scores in selection consideration if applicants choose to submit them, and will develop appropriate policies and procedures to implement the Board’s decision.
  • Test-blind for fall 2023 and fall 2024: Campuses will not consider test scores for California public and independent high school applicants in admissions selection, a practice known as “test-blind” admissions. Test scores could still be considered for other purposes such as course placement, certain scholarships and eligibility for the statewide admissions guarantee.
  • New standardized test: Starting in summer 2020 and ending by January 2021, UC will undertake a process to identify or create a new test that aligns with the content UC expects students to have mastered to demonstrate college readiness for California freshmen.
  • Elimination of the ACT/SAT test requirement: By 2025, any use of the ACT/SAT would be eliminated for California students and a new UC-endorsed test to measure UC-readiness would be required. However, if by 2025 the new test is either unfeasible or not ready, consideration of the ACT/SAT for freshman admissions would still be eliminated for California students.

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What you should do in response

Hear an explanation from Lisa Prsekop, the director of admissions at UCSB, for what going test-optional means for the students and the admissions staff here (applicable to all UCs).

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Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

May 24, 2020 at 11:30 am

Will PSAT still work the same way as before? Will that affect scholarship to UC schools or other schools that on longer consider SAT scores?

Ms. Sunreply
May 24, 2020 at 11:44 am
– In reply to: Kevin

As far as I understand it, PSAT is used by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (which is a nonprofit organization) to grant scholarships to students (so it has nothing to do with admissions). For the UCs, any enrolled students with outside scholarships (including National Merit Scholarships) would generally make arrangements with the financial aid office to process the scholarships (again, nothing to do with admissions).

May 24, 2020 at 12:05 pm
– In reply to: Ms. Sun

Thank you, Ms. Sun, for your quick reply. I guess most of the awards do not come from colleges.

Ms. Sunreply
May 24, 2020 at 12:29 pm
– In reply to: Kevin

UCs do offer lots of scholarships (the UC Application is used to apply for scholarships as well and there is a “scholarship” section students should fill out on the application), but the evaluation criteria and process are typically not made public. I don’t know how much these scholarships rely on ACT/SAT scores, which may be why there is a two-year test-optional period to give the scholarships that do rely on ACT/SAT scores to transition to different evaluation criteria.

March 7, 2021 at 9:12 pm

How is the University of California establishing Statewide guarantee when applicants have no SAT scores? In the past they used a formula with both UC GPA and SAT scores. Do we know what they did with class of 21? Will it be the same for class of 22? Thank you.

Ms. Sunreply
March 10, 2021 at 12:03 pm
– In reply to: Maria

I emailed one of the plaintiff’s lawyers working on the UC case asking about the statewide guarantee and was told that the UCs said they are NOT using test scores for that (there was no clarification as to exactly how it is being determined, best guess is GPA).

Questions or Comments?