Colleges extending test-optional practices
For upperclassmen, the prospect of graduation is never far from the mind. Graduation marks the culmination of years of hard work and dedication in the classroom. Graduating involves various steps, and testing is part of that equation, particularly for people who are planning on attending colleges, universities or going on to pursue advanced degrees. Standardized test requirements are slowly disappearing from schools’ criteria for admissions. The COVID-19 pandemic may have helped accelerate that disappearing act. According to Edmit, an educational financial planning resource, says the concept of a test-optional school is not new. Since the mid-2000s, various universities have included test-optional clauses in their admissions policies. This means that students’ standardized test scores are not reviewed as part of the college application process. The standardized tests that are normally part of admissions reviews include the SAT , which debuted in 1926, and the ACT, which has been around since 1959. In lieu of COVID-related postponements or cancellations of standardized tests, a greater number of schools have announced they won’t require future applicants to submit test scores with their applications. While some are saying this is a temporary revision to the process, other schools are calling it a pilot program for the next few years. Seventy-two percent of colleges and universities adopted test-optional policies for the 2021-22 school year, and some schools are now extending that policy for the next one to two years, indicates IvyWise, an educational consulting company. Some of the schools that have suspended the SAT and ACT requirements, at least for the time being, include Cornell University, Penn State, Williams College, Amherst College, Boston College, and Columbia University. Many students have been hit hard by the pandemic and removing testing requirements means they do not have to face another challenge, especially in light of reduced testing capacities and a scarcity of test availability. The education and school resource Grown and Flown says a surprising side effect of test-optional amendments at selective universities is that applications have increased. Harvard announced it received more than 57,000 applications for the college class of 2025, which marks a 42 percent increase from the previous year. Schools have modified admissions requirements in recent months, including removing standardized test scores from the equation. It is always wise to consult with the admissions department of schools to learn if their admissions requirements have been updated.