The University of California just voted to make major changes to their college admissions process. For the next two incoming classes (2021 and 2022), ACTs and SATs will not be required for admission’s consideration. UC joins a growing number of schools that have announced standardized tests will be optional for at least the next couple of years, primarily due to COVID-19. You can read all the details here.
So does this mean that the ACTs and SATs no longer matter? Not quite. Test-optional means that the colleges will still consider your test score if you submit it, you just aren’t required to submit it anymore. Since standardized tests are one of the only ways for admissions counselors to compare students across states, a good ACT and/or SAT score will always be a way for you to stand out amongst the thousands of other applicants.
However, this shift in focus by UC and other colleges does highlight the importance of having a well-rounded application and not just relying on a test score. You have to make sure you’re staying on top of your grades, challenging yourself with your schedule, and taking advantage of extracurriculars and sports. If you can fill a college application with great grades, hard classes, a busy social calendar, AND a great ACT/SAT score, then colleges are going to be thrilled to get your application and might even throw some scholarship money your way.