by Sreya Putrevu, staff writer
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College Board ceased most SAT testing for the 2020 year, prompting various colleges to modify their original testing policies. The above action also helped the UCs to begin building their own testing system.
According to Maria Carrillo High School’s College and Career Counselor Ashlee Proud-Moreno, before the decision to cancel SAT testing was disclosed, many juniors and seniors experienced uncertainty with regards to testing, and those who normally would have taken SAT prep courses were unsure of what to do to prepare for their standardized tests.
When the news was finally released that the SAT was going to become optional, this gave many students a sense of relief, said Moreno. However this relief was mainly extended to people who had not taken the SAT or extensively prepared for them.
Senior Logan Field said that this decision actually created a sense of disappointment for the students who went through extensive preparation for the test. Field said he “did a large amount of prep work from the SAT. Throughout the summer [he] was taking one full test a week and reviewing the types of questions [he] missed on Khan Academy. [He] was taking SATs from previous years that [he] found online.” He also said that due to the nature of the SAT, the skills that he spent time perfecting could not be applied on normal school assignments.
This decision also caused the SAT to lose the impact that it had on college applications stated Moreno. As the College Board has reported, the number of students taking the SAT has significantly declined.
In addition, the decision to cancel the SAT prompted concerns over whether the lack of testing would negatively impact a person’s application.
“Make the most out of this time, and don’t take it for granted; don’t stress out about things that are out of your control,” said Moreno, when asked to give advice to the student body.
The UC colleges have incorporated a section into their personal insight questions where the applicants can choose to write about how the pandemic has impacted their lives. This helps relieve some of the pressure of having to take the SAT. The action listed above can be viewed as proof of the college board’s open-mindedness.
Moreno also said that colleges are being flexible in terms of the applications. They understand that these are very uncertain times and that during this situation, there are restrictions in terms of things that students can do to make their applications stand out.
When the UC colleges announced that they would be making the SAT optional for their applicants, they also simultaneously announced that they are going to be implementing a new test for applicants. The new test is expected to be put in place by 2025, and it will only be used by the UCs.
There are still some students who are going to different counties to take the SAT. However, according to EDsource, no students are taking the SAT/ACT in over 14 percent of high schools in California.
When asked about the above system, admissions counselor at UC Davis Jacquelyn Ross, said, “this is still in early development and [she has] no information to share.” The UCs’ decision to branch away from the SAT could also prompt other colleges to consider creating their own testing system, which is adaptive to the expectations of the college and its beliefs.
According to UC Board of Regents Chair Regent John A.Pérez, the new testing system is said to be more closely aligned with the diverse and expansive values of the university.