Dozens of US colleges waive standardized testing requirements for class of 2021

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) This week, the June SAT was canceled, and it’s uncertain if the June ACT will happen due to COVID-19. These tests are used to help determine college admissions, and the cancellation has prompted many schools to take an unusual step.

Dozens of colleges across the country have announced they are waiving the SAT and ACT requirement for the class of 2021.

“And I suspect, we’re going to see a majority of colleges making a similar announcement in the weeks and months to come,” said Sara Harberson, founder of Application Nation and the former associate dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania. 

She says some schools are announcing a three-year pilot for a test-optional policy, and others have decided to be test-optional from now on.

“So these colleges are stepping up and saying, listen, it’s going to be very difficult for students to take these tests. There are a small percentage of high school juniors who have already taken these tests, but that is going to be a fraction of their applicant pool,” she explained. 

But this doesn’t mean schools will relax their academic standards.

“So the students who don’t submit test scores with their applications, they’re not going to be disadvantaged, but for them to have a good shot at getting into a highly selective college, their high school transcript needs to be extremely strong,” she added. 

The organizations that administer the SAT and ACT will provide digital exams at home if schools don’t reopen in the fall. 

College Board, the organization that runs the SAT, says the at-home exam would include technology to monitor movement, possible cheating, and would prevent access to other internet sites during testing.

If it’s safe from a public health standpoint, the SAT will be conducted monthly starting in August.