UC slams the door on standardized admissions tests, nixing any SAT alternative

Teresa Watanabe:

Without testing requirements, Drake added, UC attracted a record-breaking number of freshman applications for fall 2021 — more than 200,000 — and admitted the most diverse class ever. UC admissions officers have said they were able to thoroughly evaluate the flood of applications without test scores, using 13 other factors in the system’s review process, such as a student’s high school grade-point average, the rigor of courses taken, special talents, essays and extracurricular activities.

The faculty committee said UC should step up other ways to advance equity in admissions. Recommendations included a closer partnership between UC and the K-12 system with greater access to college-preparatory courses required for admission; more state funding for academic preparation programs, and enhanced monitoring to make sure UC is reaching underserved high schools.

The report also called for more funding to help UC thoroughly assess applications, provide anti-bias training for application readers and strengthen supports to help students complete their degrees.

Regents hailed the decision. Regent Eloy Ortiz Oakley, one of the earliest and most outspoken opponents of standardized testing for admissions, urged UC to continue to lead the way in promoting test-free admissions, particularly since they seem to increase the diversity of applicants. 

Board Chair Cecilia Estolano called her vote to eliminate SAT and ACT testing requirements one of her proudest moments as a regent. She said the next pressing task is to double down on ways to prepare more students for UC admission and support them once enrolled.