University of California Suspends SAT and ACT for Admissions


TEST PREP: A student attempts to solve practice problems to prepare for the SAT.

Ashley Lee, A&E Editor

The UC Board of Regents unanimously voted this Thursday to eliminate the SAT and ACT as a requirement for undergraduate admissions. 

Although the SAT and ACT scores were only suspended for the class of 2021 due to the pandemic, UC has now used this suspension as a transition out of these tests. It was stated by UC that the standardized tests will be optional for students applying for the 2021 and 2022 school years, but starting from the 2023 school year, it will be eliminated and no longer used for application processes. 

“I think UC made a good decision, as it gives students more of a fair chance to get accepted and demonstrate what they can really do,” freshman Alex Park said. “I think it’s beneficial that UC is focusing on other requirements to accept students since they are more valuable than the standardized tests.” 

However, unbeknownst to some, UC does not plan to eliminate standardized tests, but instead simply remove the SAT and ACT. A plan by UC President Janet Napolitano was approved this Thursday, explaining how UC will be creating their own test from summer 2020 to January 2021, that students will have to take in order to apply. But not all students were in favor of this new addition to UC admissions.

“If someone worked really hard to prepare for their SAT or ACT for another school, it would be unfair for them to not be able to use these results in the UC system as well,” sophomore Caitlin Pan said. “In addition, eliminating the SAT and ACT would be one less factor for colleges to consider and it could possibly make the admissions process harder because there’s less things for them to consider.”

Although eliminating the SAT and ACT may have been a shocking change for many, there may have been several events that could have possibly led up to this decision. 

On Dec. 10, 2019, advocacy groups and a California school district consisting of a large black and Hispanic population filed a lawsuit against UC to stop using standardized tests for admissions. The plaintiffs argued that both the SAT and ACT gave an advantage to families who could afford test-prep industries. 

“It is illegal wealth and race discrimination that damages the futures of tens of thousands of deserving students each year, who could excel at UC campuses of their choice,” directing attorney Mark Rosenbaum said in an interview with The New York Times. 

In fact, clues that UC would one day abandon these standardized tests date all the way back to 2001, when former UC President Richard Atkinson suggested dropping the SAT as a consideration for admissions.

“[Using SAT scores is] not compatible with the American view on how merit should be defined and [how] opportunities [should be] distributed,” Atkinson said. 

Despite the opposing views of this controversial decision, it can be stated that eliminating the SAT and ACT for UC admissions will impact a large population of students and has the ability to influence the future of college admissions.

“The ship has sailed,” UC Riverside professor and co-chair of the testing task force Eddie Comeaux said. “Now UC needs to figure out how to advance equity without tests.”