The UC Regents recently voted to remove the SAT and ACT from the admissions process for California residents beginning in 2023. In 2021 and 2022, the UC campuses will remain test-optional for all applicants, meaning that an applicant is not required to submit a test score as part of their application.
The UC Regents stated that they plan to develop their own admissions test to be used for admissions purposes. The decision to drop the SAT/ACT requirement has the potential to upend the admissions practices across the country and this decision will impact current 8-9 grade students much more than 10-11 grade students.
While the headlines may lead us to feel that we do not need to worry about the SAT or ACT any longer, a competitive test score can only help an applicant earn admission and/or merit-based scholarships to the UC schools and other public and private colleges nationwide. Many of the most selective colleges in California and out of state still require test scores and it is important to take into consideration your specific goals before making a decision whether to take the test or not. Each student’s journey to college has different facets. There is no blanket rule for the SAT or ACT and taking these tests depends on each individual student’s unique goals.
As the next school year gets closer, the UC decision to drop the SAT/ACT as a factor for admission reminds us that, going forward, an applicant’s transcript will be the most important part of their application. Without test scores, a student’s grades are the only “numbers” component of their application, the only objective part of a relatively subjective process. This also means the remaining components of each student’s application, especially their essays and activities (community service, extracurricular activities, etc.), have become much more important. Take the time and make the effort to draft the most representative essays possible, let admissions officers know who you are, what you have done, and how you will specifically add value to their college.