Why most universities are waiving off SAT requirements?

After high school, choosing a course for an undergraduate program is very simple but the real struggle starts when you have to prepare for it and the first step towards this is a standardized test. On the basis of these examinations, suitable candidates are selected by the score obtained by them. Standardized tests are one of the most crucial aspects that decide the future of any candidate whether he/she is well suited to get into his/her dream course from their dream university. 

In recent years, these standardized tests have become increasingly significant in determining one’s scholastic career, evaluating their skills and intelligence. As they are considered so important and crucial that most students are terrified of them. Besides the advantages of standardized tests, there are several disadvantages associated with them. 

Some of them are as follows:

  1. Standardized tests are the biggest source of stress and pressure among students hampering their performance. 
  2. The success of students shouldn’t be measured by the a few hours of exams 
  3. A low score can lead to a  loss of confidence for many
  4. Students are unable to comprehend the true objective of standardized tests. 

Major universities across the globe are running and handling their admission process through standardized entrance examinations like SAT and ACT for students. But the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world drastically and created limited access to admission testing worldwide. Now, universities are reinventing, resetting, readopting ways to adapt to this new normal and position themselves stronger for the future. 

Waiving the SAT score for admissions in Fall 2021 was one of the major modifications made by various universities due to COVID. As in-person testing became unsafe and unworkable, universities discussed the possibility of administering an online take-at-home SAT test. However, due to the sheer size and complexity of such a test, it was not possible. They recognised the plight of students who may be compelled to take a gap year as a result of the canceled SAT examinations owing to the pandemic. 

Keeping this in mind, most significantly, the universities falling under the University of California system (UCs) have waived off its mandatory SAT requirement for admissions among all the colleges that fall under its ambit. Furthermore, in contrast to standardized tests, the concept which is gaining popularity among the top-notch universities across the globe is the ‘Holistic assessment’ of students to get admission in their university/college. 

Standardized tests like the SAT were already under the scanner with many US universities’ view that test scores were not pivotal predictors of a student’s success. And, in the present time, top universities in the US are also waiving off the SAT requirement, not just because of the COVID pandemic (this was waived off because people could not take physical tests) but permanently, in their undergraduate assessment system.

It is a big move that signifies a trending shift towards a more holistic assessment, instead of filtering out candidates on a test (SAT) score. Through the holistic review, universities look at academic performance paired with extracurricular activities, interests and hobbies, community work, cognitive traits, personal experiences, and much more, to decide whether the candidate is a good fit for the course or not. This allows for well-rounded candidates to have a shot even with lesser scores. The motive behind this holistic assessment approach is to get a better view of the applicant as a whole for their undergraduate degree.

Carnegie Mellon University,  Texas A&M University, UCs, Cornell University, Harvard College, Boston University, University of Chicago are some of the world-renowned universities that are providing SAT waivers right now and focusing on holistic assessment to evaluate students for undergraduate admission.

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