Before the outbreak of the Covid-19, standardized tests (SAT and ACT) were always necessary for applying to universities. Because of Covid-19, many schools introduced test-optional policies.
Although many universities are currently taking holistic overviews of applications, many students are still concerned that SAT and GPA will be necessary. Due to the pandemic, many tests were canceled, and several test centers closed. Those students who didn’t have test scores must prove their ability by having a higher GPA, more extracurricular activities, awards, community service, etc. For international applicants, GPA and SAT are the only advantages they have for college acceptance.
In the 2021 application season, many schools have rejected or postponed decision emails. Reasons include a significant increase in the number of applicants. The number of applicants to the University of Georgia’s Early Action is 25 percent higher than last year, while the number of University of California applications is up 40 percent.
The following is an interview with The Walker School’s college counselor Mrs.Johnson.
Do you think that standardized tests are necessary for college applications?
Mrs.Johsnon: I wouldn’t say it’s necessary, although there is a role for standardized tests to help colleges get to know their students better. But many colleges have done research studies, and they believe that a student’s academic performance in high school, or GPA, will be more important than standardized tests. The GPA is a better indicator of a student’s talent and academic ability than the standardized tests.
Do you think the test-optional policy affects the quality of students accepted by the universities?
Mrs.Johnson: Even before the pandemic, when colleges look at an application, they always do a holistic assessment. So standardized exams, again, were not the most important criteria before the epidemic. Colleges will look at your GPA, activities, paperwork, letters of recommendation, all of which are important factors that will affect admissions. So now, with the introduction of the test-optional policy, if a student chooses not to submit a standardized test, then colleges will look at other materials more heavily. And many colleges would have used holistic review before the epidemic, so test-optional will not affect the quality of their admissions.