Coupled with the closure of schools, universities, and nonessential businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the requirement of standardized tests for college admissions. The main reason for the cancellation is that large numbers of students in one area would allow easier transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
Included in this list of colleges with COVID-19-altered admissions requirements for rising seniors is the University of California. The university announced that it would make admission testing requirements optional for the students enrolling in Fall 2021. Other changes made by UC are the elimination of letter grades because many schools in California and across the U.S. have switched to pass/fail to accommodate for the new circumstances. UC has stated they will accept “pass” grades for the 15 required high school courses for admission.
Other colleges that have joined this list are Boston University, which is making their requirement of the SAT optional for the undergraduates applying for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters. According to Kelly Walter, dean of admissions, their rationale is to “reduce the anxiety and stress that goes with this process that is now heightened for these high school juniors.” Case Western University is also canceling its SAT requirements for Fall 2021 admissions and instead encourages interested students to focus on their academic classes.
This shift towards making testing optional predates the COVID-19 crisis, with over 1,000 colleges making testing optional for admission. Colleges that declared testing optional before the COVID-19 outbreak include the University of Chicago, Wake Forest University, and universities focused on art majors. The reason for the change is to allow for more equity within college admissions and to put more weight onto other aspects of college applications, such as essays.