Recently, the College Board announced that they will not be administering at home SAT exams for the 2020-2021 school year. In addition, due to COVID-19 the capacity for in person examinations has been extremely limited. These factors will prevent thousands of students from taking the SAT exam. Furthermore, the at home ACT testing option will not be available until late fall or early winter.
In light of this, FairTest.org is reporting that nearly half of all four year universities in the US, including the top 20, have gone test optional for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. Of these top 20 universities, some have stated that they will be test optional for only the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, while others, such as California Institute of Technology, have stated that they will be test optional for a two year period. Although students are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores, many schools, including Columbia University, strongly suggest submitting them as it can be a valuable addition to a student’s application.
Test Optional vs. Test Flexible vs. Test Blind:
Even with universities going test optional, there are still three categories in which a school can fall under. The first is a test optional college, where students decide on whether or not they want to submit test scores with their application. The majority of test optional colleges will consider SAT or ACT scores, but will focus on a student’s essays, GPA, and recommendations. The second type is a test flexible college, which allows students to submit other standardized tests in place of the SAT or ACT. For example, Advanced Placement tests and SAT Subject Tests. Lastly, the third category is a test blind college. These colleges will not consider test scores, even if students submit them.
– Brown University
– Columbia University
– Cornell University
– Dartmouth University
– Duke University
– Harvard University
– John Hopkins University
– Massachusetts Institute of Technology
– Northwestern University
– Princeton University
– Rice University
– Stanford University
– University of California Los Angeles
– University of Chicago
– University of Notre Dame
– University of Pennsylvania
– Vanderbilt University
– Washington University in St. Louis
– Yale University
– California Institute of Technology
In place of the SAT or ACT, college admissions will be based on:
– Ability to handle challenging courses throughout high school;
– Commitment and effort in pursuing other challenging learning experiences;
– Community involvement;
– Extracurriculars (clubs, sports, activities outside of school);
– Letter of Recommendation from a teacher in a specific field (for example, a math teacher for students interested in STEM);
– Other standardized tests (AP, SAT Subject, state exams)
In conclusion, many universities have acknowledged that students who find themselves limited in the activities they can pursue due to COVID-19 will not be disadvantaged in the application process.