What’s the difference between Test-Optional, Test-Blind, and Test-Free College Admissions Policies?

For Fall 2022 admissions, nearly two-thirds of U.S. universities will again use test-optional, test-blind, or test-free admissions policies. Yet, for an entire generation of applicants (and their parents) for whom college admissions is synonymous with “take the SAT or ACT”, differentiating the policies can be helpful to continue strategizing for their individual college educational goals.  Under test-optional policies, students can…

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Possible Test-Optional Admissions Prejudice?

Before COVID, submitting SAT or ACT scores were a must for every college applicant. During COVID though, test-optional policies were widely and quickly implemented to preserve as much access to college admissions as possible since many test centers (which are schools) closed, so SAT’s and ACT’s couldn’t be administered.  While many laud the change in policy, others may now be…

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The UC Extends Test-Free Admissions Through Fall 2025

On May 14, 2021, University of California (UC) officials agreed to extend “test-free” admissions policies through Fall 2025, meaning SAT or ACT scores will not be required nor considered in either admissions or scholarship considerations for the next four application cycles. Current Class of 2022 high school juniors through current eighth graders will be affected by the settlement agreement in…

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College Isn’t a Cure-All

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Becky Frankiewicz writing for the Harvard Business Review (HBR) tackled the topic of higher education and full employment leaving out, for now, the idea of a lasting peace of mind. Of course, although there may be a multi-decade correlation between a college degree and three or less careers in one’s lifetime, equaling financial security, or as we…

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Should I take the SAT or ACT? Part 2

Many high school juniors who will be applying to college for Fall 2022 admissions are desperate to understand whether major universities will require SAT or ACT scores as part of their applications.  I would first caution parents and students to be patient and flexible when defining an SAT or ACT test-taking strategy given admissions policies regarding requiring test scores, in…

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Should I take the SAT or ACT?

As many U.S. universities have not yet announced any extended test-optional or test-blind policies for Fall 2022 admissions, meaning applicants are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores for admissions, many current high school juniors (in the Class of 2022) are in limbo about the necessity of taking the SAT or ACT. Yet, given SAT and ACT registration deadlines…

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Cal State Universities Test Optional for Fall 2022 Admissions

The 23 campus California State Universities (CSU) system is extending the test-optional admissions policy for another year, through Fall 2022 admissions. In other words, current high school juniors in the Class of 2022 will NOT be required to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of their applications to any CSU campus for Fall 2022 admissions. As the University of…

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Put Down Your #2 Pencils: The University of California Will Eliminate SAT/ACT Scores by 2025, Part 13

The University of California (UC) will not require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores for first year admissions through the Fall of 2025, affecting students currently in grades 8-12 for the 2020-21 school year. Subjectivity in the admissions evaluations will likely increase, without the backstop of standardized test scores to compare other, less objective information, like extracurricular activity descriptions. …

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Merit Scholarship Concerns

At some universities, SAT and ACT scores are used to award merit scholarships, in addition to being a metric for admissions. (Merit scholarships are awarded regardless of a student’s family’s financial status and based on an applicant’s qualifications, like GPA and SAT or ACT scores.) Many parents are concerned that their children will miss merit scholarship opportunities, if they do…

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Examining Subjectivity in the Fall 2021 College Admissions Process

The COVID-induced disruption of the educational system, has also upended the Fall 2021 college admissions process. From suspended admissions requirements, like submitting SAT and ACT scores to the implementation of Pass/No Pass style marks for Spring 2020, instead of academic letter grades, effectively reducing students’ cumulative Grade Point Averages (GPA), students and parents are questioning how applicants will be evaluated. …

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Put Down Your #2 Pencils: The University of California Eliminates SAT/ACT Scores, Comprehensive Review, Part 6

While for many years, the University of California has utilized Comprehensive Review, comprised of 14 different criteria guiding admissions officers evaluations of applicants which already creates a degree of subjectivity, since SAT and ACT scores are optional starting in Fall 2021 and beyond, subjectivity in admissions may increase. To help applicants plan or revise their admissions strategy, in the sixth…

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Put Down Your #2 Pencils: The University of California Eliminates SAT/ACT Scores, Comprehensive Review, Part 5

As the UC eliminated the SAT and ACT testing requirement for Fall 2021 and beyond, the subjectivity in the admissions evaluations will likely increase, as admissions officers will interpret applicants’ qualifications for admissions without the more objective test scores as a metric. In this fifth installment in the series about the University of California’s (UC) Comprehensive Review policy, which is…

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Put Down Your #2 Pencils: The University of California Eliminates SAT/ACT Scores…Sorta: Part 4

In a series of posts, I’m analyzing how University of California admissions officers will utilize the 14 Comprehensive Review factors to select incoming first year and transfer classes for Fall 2021, in light of SAT/ACT scores no longer being required for application. In the first post, I discussed GPA and grades, while in the second post, I wrote about how to craft…

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SAT & ACT In Flux

Like Bart Simpson above, college applicants typically are nervous about taking tests, yet with the lingering pandemic, their anxieties may be more complex. Both the ACT and The College Board added testing opportunities, beyond the usual test schedule, to compensate for cancelled Spring 2020 tests. Between July and December 2020, the ACT will be offered nine (9) different dates and…

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