“A pretty big domino to fall”: UC schools to eliminate SAT and ACT testing consideration by 2025


Anna Vazhaeparambil

In a landmark decision, University of California announced on Thursday their plans to completely eliminate the influence of the SAT and ACT on their admissions process by 2025.

by Lucy Ge, Winged Post Asst. News Editor

The University of California (UC) Board of Regents unanimously decided on Thursday to take measures to eliminate consideration of SAT and ACT test scores by 2025 to reduce inequity in college admissions, according to a UC press statement.

Like over a thousand other schools, the UC system had already made the admissions process for the class of 2021 test-optional in response to the coronavirus pandemic hindering testing efforts. 

This decision adds the following changes: the SAT Essay and ACT writing test will hold no weight in the admissions process effective fall of 2021, admissions will also be test-optional for the class of 2022 and UC schools will be test-blind for the classes of 2023 and 2024. For the test-blind process, scores will not influence admissions decisions but can still be used for purposes like scholarships and post-enrollment course placement. 

The UC system also plans to identify or create a new UC-approved standardized test to measure college readiness and use that test in the admissions process for the class of 2025. If such a test is not ready by 2025, consideration of the SAT and ACT scores will be completely eliminated starting fall of that year. 

Upper school college counselor Kevin Lum Lung called UC’s decision “a pretty big domino to fall.” He is hopeful that this decision can enable more students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to gain admission to colleges, as many of those students often have less access to test preparation resources.

Half of the UC colleges made the 2019 US News and World Report rankings for the top dozen US public universities. Because of the authority of the UC system, this momentous change to eliminate the influence of the SAT and ACT on admissions may likely encourage other colleges to take similar courses of action.

“People often wondered if there ever would be a day that there might not be a reliance on the SAT or the ACT,” Lum Lung said. “Yesterday’s news gave the first glimmer that that day might come.”

Upper school students have mixed opinions about this change. 

Junior Emma Andrews originally planned to take the SAT for the second time in March, but her test was cancelled due to the pandemic. She is still planning on taking the SAT again, even though she believes that the UC’s decision is “a step in the right direction.”

“I am very uneasy with how the College Board runs [the SAT],” Emma said. “The structure of the test, it being multiple choice and then you write an essay within a certain time constraint, I feel like it’s very limiting to students and doesn’t give them enough time or different ways to show how much they know.”

While freshman Tiffany Chang (9) supports the UC in their initiative to reduce inequities commonly found in standardized testing, she is concerned that other colleges will follow suit and create their own standardized tests for future college applicants. 

“I feel like it’s going to make college admissions significantly harder,” Tiffany said. “Because let’s say that UCs introduce these new tests specifically for UC admissions and then other colleges do the same, then you’d have to prepare for a lot of tests. It’s not going to be as easy as it used to be to apply to a lot of colleges [if colleges create their own tests].”