Why are colleges waiving the SAT/ACT?

SAT/ACT requirements were waived for students due to the Coronavirus pandemic starting in 2020. Some colleges continue to waive the SAT/ACT requirements, but is the trend here to stay?

As a result of COVID-19, the academic landscape changed. In the spring semester of 2020, to maintain educational continuity, classes were held online after the initial outbreak of COVID-19. The requirement for SAT/ACT scores was waived in 2020 because testing was unavailable due to the pandemic.

In 2021, test-optional college admission continued partly due to COVID-19 disruptions, but it also seems to be part of an experiment. Although the ACT/SAT was mandatory for years as part of the college application process, test scores have tended to hurt certain groups of students who may not traditionally test well, such as those whose parents did not attend college, immigrants, minorities, and those who cannot afford test prep courses. The suspension of the testing requirement resulted in schools seeing more applicants from people who may have yet to apply previously.

In 2022, many schools will continue with the SAT/ACT being either optional or not reviewed for students applying for admission. Schools are finding that test-optional or test-free admissions are still effective. Not all schools choose to remain test-optional or test-free, however.

The UNC system waived SAT/ACT requirements for incoming freshman classes in 2023 through the fall of 2024. Some other test-optional colleges for the 2023-2024 school year are Columbia University, Duke University, Harvard University, Penn State, and the University of Virginia, to name a few. The list is quite long. 

Other schools reinstated the SAT/ACT testing requirements. These schools feel the tests still help identify talented students. The University of Tennessee system schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Florida, University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech), US Naval Academy, US Military Academy at West Point, and US Air Force Academy are among the schools that once again require SAT/ACT scores for admission. 

We will have to wait and see if this test-optional or test-free trend becomes permanent. In the meantime, if you are planning to go to college and want to avoid taking the SAT/ACT, keep checking on the testing requirements for your dream school.

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